All an undrafted player wants is another chance.
Another chance to prove they can belong.
Another chance to showcase their skill and ability.
There’s a number of reasons why players don’t get selected, just like there’s a number of reasons why organizations reach out to undrafted players mere minutes after the conclusion of the draft.
Why not just draft them?
I guess that’s where things get complicated.
At one point late Saturday afternoon I heard of one undrafted player having four offers.
From devastation to another chance, one can only imagine the gamut of emotions these young players and their families experienced during the draft.
As teams start to formally announce their free agent invites, fans and and those on the outside looking focus on numbers and stats.
There’s a perceived reason why these young players were passed over, just like there’s a major reason why these organizations believe in giving them another shot at their dream.
We can throw around all the appropriate lexicon like “late bloomer”, “small, but very skilled,” “great potential”, “gritty and difficult to play against” all day long, but when it comes right down to it, free agent invites have been granted a second lease on life within the game, which is the only thing they ever wanted.
Once they arrive at training camp it all becomes a level playing field.
It might be a long shot, but it’s a chance and that’s what matters most.
Let’s not look at free agent invites stats, let’s choose to look beyond all the numbers.
Let’s choose to look at all the intangibles they bring to the game, their character, but most importantly let’s celebrate their resiliency.
Free agent invites usually go above and beyond and always leave a lasting impression on whatever organization they tryout for, with many getting signed to the teams protected list or even cracking the roster.
In many cases it’s not the end of the road, it’s a new beginning.
You see most undrafted free agent invites have been confronted by adversity throughout their entire career and still manage and strive playing the game at the highest level possible.
Passed over, overlooked, undervalued and undersized.
You can call it whatever you like, free agent invites are driven to prove everyone wrong, that’s what truly makes all the attention around these announcements so intriguing, not their point totals, their stories of perseverance and persistence.
We can wish these players all the luck in the world, talk about their skills and point totals, but quite frankly they’ve heard all the bull shit, analysis and hockey talk before.
Ultimately all they want is another chance.
Another shot at their dream.
The motivational stories of players that have been passed over and end up having monumental success within the game fuel their fire.
Every single one of those stories are in the back of their minds, they call upon them when needed.
One more rep, one last shot, one more Km on the bike or on the run, those unique stories of past free agents provide reassurance and self belief.
At the end of the day it’s all about the opportunity, it’s all about another chance.