Following is an early-season look at the Top 50 players available for the
1998 NHL Draft. The draft is scheduled for Saturday, June 27, 1998 at
Buffalo’s Marine Midland Arena.
1. Vincent Lecavalier-C-Rimouski-6-3/177–With a blend of speed, quickness,
great puck skills and excellent on-ice vision, Lecavalier is a dynamic
offensive force. While earlier comparisons to Mario Lemieux may be
unwarranted, Lecavalier could be a superstar. He needs to get stronger,
improve his playa way from the puck and raise his intensity level.
2. Manny Malhotra-C-Guelph-6-2/205–A strong two-way pivot who knows how to
create offense. Malhotra is strong on his skates and a fine playmaker who is
willing to battle along the boards. He is also a team leader who thrives
3. Brad Stuart-D-Regina-6-1/200–A solid, steady blueliner, Stuart is a
prototypical defenseman. He has good size and strength, moves the puck out
of danger effectively, and is a smart one-on-one defender. He also has an
excellent shot and recovery speed.
4. Rico Fata-C-London-5-11/200–One of the most talented players in the
draft, Fata remains a bit of a mystery. With all his talent, why hasn’t he
put it all together yet? The physical tools are there, but it’s the
intangibles that has teams concerned. His status as a high-end pick could be
5. Bryan Allen-D-Oshawa-6-3/200–Composure, confidence and hockey smarts have
helped Allen emerge as a can’t-miss prospect. Allen’s future lies ahead as a
stay-at-home defenseman, but he can still help out on offense. He still
tends to get caught out of position at times.
6. David Legwand-C-Plymouth-6-2/175–A pure finesse forward with blazing
speed, Legwand has game-breaking talent. He’s made a smooth adjustment to
the OHL, utilizing his skating ability, great passing touch and accurate
shot. He’s trying to toughen up and make a commitment to the defensive game.
7. Patrick Desrochers-G-Sarnia-6-3/200–A big, stand-up goalie who likes to
challenge shooters and play the angles. He is fundamentally sound, quick on
his feet and he can handle the puck behind the net. However he gets caught
overanticipating and leaning the wrong way.
8. Scott Gomez-C-Tri-City-5-11/175–Opting to go the major junior route
instead of the collegiate ranks, Gomez is a shifty center with terrific
acceleration and a fine passing touch. He is a bit undersized, but he rarely
takes a big hit. He is especially dangerous when given time to set up in the
9. Mikko Jokela-D-Finland-6-1-207–The top rated European on most teams
scouting lists, Jokela is an all-around defenseman with fine puck skills and
a knowledge of how to play defense. He’s a smart player who doesn’t panic,
and he has a great shot from the point, while playing on Europe’s large ice
surfaces has helped him become a fine skater.
10.Robyn Regehr-D-Kamloops-6-3/215–Regehr possesses impressive size and
strength and decent puck skills. He is a solid defender and a good team
player, who only needs more experience and maturity.
11.Stephen Peat-D-Red Deer-6-3/195
12.Mike Van Ryn-D-U. of Michigan-6-2/185
23.Jake McCracken-G-S.S. Marie-5-11-160
32.Geoff Koch-LW-U. of Michigan-6-1/180
34.Bobby Allen-D-Boston College-6-1/200
35.Ryan Van Buskirk-D-Sarnia-6-1/185
39.Nick Robinson-D-S.S. Marie-6-2/180
40.Shawn Horcoff-C-Michigan State-6-0/185
Additional prospects worth noting:
Brett Allan-Swift Curent
Blair Betts-Prince George
David Cameron-Prince Albert
Johnathan Gagnon-Val d’or
Curtis Valentine-Bowling Green
Joe Dipenta-Boston U.