What's Up with Kobasew?

Junior Aged College Player Has Team and Agent Scrambling

D'Arcy McGrath

October 2nd, 2001

 How hard can this be? Just sign on the dotted line Chuck.

Think again.

A betting man would have figuered Chuck Kobasew to already be in Kelowna. Many a pundit had suggested his fate was sealed heading into the final weekend of the exhibition schedule with two games against the Edmonton Oilers.

Kobasew had other ideas.

With a goal in each of the two games, Kobasew stretched his goal scoring record in the preseason to five goals in six games. Many a player has been down this silly season success path before, only to fall flat on their faces when the real season started. The Flames, in need for goals this season have indeed changed their minds and have every intention of giving this improbable experiment more lab time.

"He's here for a reason", QR77's Mark Stephens told Calgarypuck.com.

"I talked to Craig (general manager, Craig Button) today, he's here to play, he practiced on one of the two top lines yesterday".

Chuck wants to stay, the Flames want him to stay. So what's the hold up?

Turns out, Mr. Kobasew falls into a brand new definition, one that has had the Flames, Kobasew's agent, and the NHLPA scrambling to get a ruling on how the Kobasew case should play out.

"He's a college player like Comrie and Van Ryn", stated Stephens, "but he's not an over aged junior player at 20 years old, so he's a completely different case".

What we do know ...

As he's never played a minute of junior hockey, Chuck Kobasew is not bound by the same rules that most junior players need to adhere to. For example there isn't a deadline for when the player needs to be signed. As players like Jason Spezza in Ottawa face a deadline of midnight tonight, neither Button nor Kobasew face any such deadline.

However, without a deal he can't play.

So you can be sure that both sides are doing their best to get a deal in place. You don't practice all week with a 19-year-old on the right side of your second scoring unit, only to have him sit and eat popcorn in the season opener. Both sides lose in that regard.

If Kobasew is sent back to Kelowna without a contract he becomes a junior player, and falls into the CHL-NHL rules which would prohibit him from returning beyond a five game injury recall stint.

This won't happen.

If however the Flames do get his name on the dotted line, but then do wish to send him to Kelowna the rules change again.

In this scenario, given the fact that player was drafted from the NCAA and has an NHL contract before ever joining a WHL franchise he can move freely between Kelowna and Calgary all season.

In fact you can toss Saint John of the American Hockey League in to the mix as well.

The only question that remains is whether or not the Flames can get the player signed.

Both sides have a fairly decent bargaining stance.

Kobasew has a red hot preseason with a club that needs offence, a preseason where he out-dueled the second overall pick Jason Spezza.

Button has a entry draft history to fall back on, a history that shows a marked fall in compensation for players that were taken outside the draft's top ten.

Both sides have the motivation needed to get the kid into the lineup on Wednesday night.

Just sign on the dotted line Chuck!