By Scott Powers – The Athletic
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If a college free agent has any traits that could potentially make him an NHL player, general managers normally swarm in his direction.
Finding NHL talent outside the draft is like finding money on the street. There's also little risk in the case of college free agents. Teams have to put resources into scouting and then recruiting them, but not much is lost if they don't work out. They can be evaluated in a shorter window because they're older and can be quickly judged on whether they're worth keeping. If they do happen to succeed and become NHL players, their benefit-to-cost ratio is quite favorable for teams.
And because there are so few players who slip through the cracks, NHL teams often fall over each other trying to sign them. It's common for 20-plus teams to be after a college free agent even as front offices understand it's unlikely those players even ever appear in an NHL game.
Knowing all that, the fact Tanner Kero will again be on the ice for the Blackhawks in a Stanley Cup playoff game Thursday is a true story of someone defying the odds.