More than likely you've already heard the story about Alexei Cherepanov, the 19-year-old New York Rangers prospect who died on October 13th after collapsing during a game. Well, there is a new wrinkle to this saga that even I find offensive, and that's saying something.
You see, Cherepanov was the 1st round pick of the Rangers in 2007. However, since one of their draft picks has passed away, they are looking for a compensatory selection in the 2009 draft, citing "with all due respect to Alexei's family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year."
Technically eligible? I think that is just cold. Here is the reasoning behind that statement, courtesy of ESPN.com:
"The question is with the one parenthetical phrase in Article 8.3 (b) that refers compensation for an unsigned first-round draft pick who is '… again eligible for the Entry Draft or becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent,'" Rangers assistant general manager Cam Hope told the newspaper. "That language was inserted to clarify that a team would be owed a compensatory pick even if they were to re-draft that player or sign him as a free agent.
"It seems now as if that phrase is unintentionally precluding the deceased from being included as eligible for compensation. We understand that this is a sensitive issue, but with all due respect to Alexei's family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year."
I suppose on some level they do have a point. If Cherepanov were injured to the point where he couldn't play again, or was on life support, the Rangers would be allowed that pick. Yet, it's a tough subject to bring up just shortly after the Cherepanov lost their son. I'm not sure how to react to this news if I'm part of his family.
It seems to me as if this is something the NHL should have addressed behind the scenes shortly after his death, to put the Rangers at ease about their loss of a prospect. It should also have not been announced until shortly before the draft, after more time has passed. But the NHL didn't act, and now the Rangers look pretty insensitive as they ask for compensation.