Names to Remember

By pbadmin

Mike Pandolfo

C, 6-3, 235, 18 years old, Burlington, MA

St. Sebastian’s(USHS) n/a

Following in older brother Jay’s footsteps, a standout at Boston
University and now playing for the Devils, Mike Pandolfo has signed a
letter intent with BU after a stellar season in Massachusetts’ top
high school league, the ISL. Because of his growing reputation as one
of the top young power forwards in the country, he’s been heralded as
the next Keith Tkachuk. But there are other reasons for that
comparison; both were considered poor skaters in high school, lacking
the quickness, mobility and speed that it would take to find success
at the next level. But Pandolfo is so skilled in other areas, such as
having terrifically hard wrist and slap shots, nice soft hands and the
ability to be an immovable crease monkey, that make the risk well
worth it. What scouts also love about Pandolfo is that he uses that
big frame to his advantage, making opponents part of the boards or
just a spot in the ice with his booming checks. Pandolfo was the 4th
rated skater on the USHockey Report’s New England-New York area
skaters ranked for NCAA Division 1 potential.

Brooks Orpik

D, 6-3, 190, 18 years old, Amherst, NY

Thayer Academy(USHS) 20-4-1-5

Orpik, one of the top young American defensemen, was trying to decide
where to play this past season, as well as this fall. He attended a
London Knights(OHL) minicamp last year but opted to return for his
senior year at Thayer. The USHockey Report’s number one ranked skater,
Orpik has signed a letter intent to play for the Boston College
Eagles. A smooth skating defender with blossoming offensive skills and
commitment to his own end, he has good size but will need to add a lot
of weight and muscle in order to compete at the next level. Look for
him to be a part of the US National Program and to have a good rookie
season with BC before he’s drafted next year.

Mike Comrie, C, 5-10, 170, 17, Edmonton, Alta.

‘97/98 St. Albert(AJHL) 83-89-104-193-211

After leading the AJHL and CJAHL in scoring this year, and setting playoff
scoring records. Mike Comrie was named the Canadian Junior A Hockey League
Player of the Year. Comrie is a small and speedy
forward with a knack for putting the puck in the net. He has signed
a letter of intent to play for the reigning NCAA champion University of
Michigan this fall instead of playing in the WHL.

Wade Skolney

D, 6-0, 175, 6/24/81, Wynard, Sask.

–eligible for 1999 NHL Entry Draft

‘96/97 Naicam Bantam 54-33-70-103-193

‘97/98 Brandon(WHL) 43-1-10-11-43, +11

After a stellar season of bantam hockey, Skolney was the first pick of
the Brandon Wheat Kings at last year’s WHL draft. He had a solid rookie
year with the Wheaties and is now with them as they pursue the Memorial
Cup. Skolney was the dominant blueliner and key member of Team
Saskatchewan that won the gold at the recent World Under-17 Championship
in Swift Current. A talented defenseman at both ends of the ice, Skolney
is a very good skater, mobile and quick, though a bit awkward as he
continues to grow. He sees the ice well, is a good playmaker and has a
strong work ethic. Mature and composed for a 16-year-old, Skolney’s game
is strong, confident and talented with some offensive prowess thrown
into the mix. As he continues to fill out and adjust to the WHL, Skolney
should be a first round pick next year.

Matt Doman

17 years old Sartell, Minn.

6-0, 213, Forward

’94/95 Team Illinois: 64 pts

-’95 Midget Showcase Player of the Game in Toronto, Ont.

’95/96 Team Illinois: 72 pts

1996 US National Select Team

-leading scorer

USA Hockey Select 15 Camp

-All Tournament Team

’96/97 Dubuque Fighting Saints(USHL) 9 g, 18 pts

1998 National Under-18 Team

’97/98 Thunder Bay(USHL) 26 gms 10-10-20

-signed letter of intent to play for U of Wisconsin this fall

It’s a wonder we haven’t heard more about this kid because he’s got what
it takes to be a dominant NHL power forward one day. Doman not only has
the size but the skills and physical presence to go along with it. His
scoring abilities are outstanding because of excellent hands,
anticipation and hand-eye cooridination. He’s consistent and his hockey
sense and on-ice character are very good. But “Domes” is also a
punishing hitter, gritty and tenacious with and without the puck. He is
always among the top penalty leaders on his team while taking nothing
away from his scoring prowess.

David Hoogsteen

junior, University of North Dakota (WCHA)

F, 5-7, 140 lbs, undrafted

–1997 WCHA’s First All-Star Team

–1997 NCAA’s All-Tournament Team, Second All-American Team West

’96/97 UND 43-27-27-54-16 (1st team, 2nd WCHA)

’97/98 UND 12-6-7-13-6

Possibly the second coming of Theo Fleury, Hoogsteen is incredibly small
but incredibly skilled. An integral part of the UND team, he scored the
tying goal in the final game that sparked the Fighting Sioux to beat out
powerhouse Boston University for the 1997 NCAA Championship. There’s no
doubting that David has a nose for the net, a deadly wrist shot and
wonderfully soft hands but the question is can he take those skills to
the next level? His size hasn’t been a hindrance in his performance at
the college level, where the open ice allows him to use his speed and
shiftiness to outmaneuver opponents, but he would be a mouse among men
in the AHL or NHL. Still, Hoogsteen’s skills could get him there. He has
excellent hockey sense and playmaking vision and his anticipation is
unrivaled. He’s strong on his skates and feisty, jumping right back up
after getting knocked down and he is not afraid to play in high-traffic
areas. David Hoogsteen has even more reason to make some noise after
being looked over at the past drafts. Keep an eye out for this mighty
mite.

Strengths: finesse skills…skating…mental game

Weaknesses: size…size…SIZE

Colin Cloutier

C, 6-4, 228, 1/27/76

–drafted 34th overall in 1994 by the Tampa Bay Lightning

’96/97 Brandon (WHL) n/a

Adirondack (AHL) 52-5-15-20-127

’97/98 Chesapeake (ECHL) 13-4-4-8-61

Tampa’s GM Phil Esposito saw himself in the young Western League
prospect when he drafted Cloutier in 1994. While he’s taken a few years
to develop into the crease-crashing, power forward that Espo was, mostly
due to a plague of injuries and bad luck, Cloutier is well on his way to
terrorizing the NHL. A tenaciously hard worker and hitter, Cloutier’s
game is loud, big and mean. He is impossible to move once he sets up in
the crease, where he gets most of his goals via redirections. Colin also
has the ability to be a good all-around player–he is very strong in his
own end, along the boards and in the corners. He moves and controls the
puck well, has decent hockey sense and a booming shot but his skating is
below average. Cloutier is improving in that area, which will help the
rest of his game. Colin Cloutier will not go out without a fight and he
does have what it takes to be a prototype NHL power center that the
Lightning so desperately need.
Strengths: size…strength…defensive game…hard, accurate shot

Weaknesses: skating…injury-prone

Scott Gomez

C, 5-10, 185 lbs, 12/23/79 Anchorage, AK

–eligible for 1998 NHL Entry Draft

–played for United States World Junior Team; 1997 BCJHL Rookie of the
Year, 1st Team All Star

‘96/97 South Surrey Jr.A (BCJHL) 79-48-76-124-94

‘97/98 Tri-City (WHL) 16-7-12-19-26

Gomez originally signed a verbal agreement to play for Colorado College
but opted to play for the Americans of the WHL in hopes of attracting
more attention. A dazzling playmaker and exceptionally fast and smooth
skater, Gomez provides the offensive spark any team needs. He can carry
the puck end to end but has only average finishing skills. While he is
small, Gomez has added a physical edge to his finesse game and will get
the job done. He’s shown a fierce temper but he has a long fuse.

Steve McCarthy

D, 6-0, 185 lbs, 2-3-81 Trail, BC

–eligible for 1999 Entry Draft

–drafted 1st overall by Ice at WHL’s 1997 bantam draft

‘96/97 Trail Jr.A (BCJHL) 57-25-52-77

‘97/98 Edmonton (WHL) 29-5-13-18-46

Already touted as a top five pick at the ‘99 Draft and possibly a
franchise player, McCarthy is developing into a big, strong offensive
defenseman. He hit the scene last year as a rookie in the BCJHL, and
with his quick skating and nose for the net, attracting the attention
and admiration of scouts everywhere. His Jr.A team, the Trail Smoke
Eaters, named him Team MVP, Top Defenseman and Rookie of the Year.
McCarthy is only 16, though, and has had some trouble playing for the
last place expansion Ice. He’s currently 9th among WHL rookie scorers
but his strong character and desire to play should help him find his
niche as he continues to develop his game. His offensive skills are
tremendous and his point totals should rise as the season continues.

Petri Varis (Chicago Blackhawks)

LW, 187 cm, 91 kg, 28 yrs old

–San Jose’s 7th pick, 132nd overall at 1993 NHL Entry Draft; rights
traded to Chicago July 25, 1997 for F Murray Craven

‘96/97 Jokerit (SM-Liiga, Finnish Elite League) 50 gms, 36 g, 59 pts
playoffs: 9 gms, 7 g

1997 Team Finland (World Championships): 8 gms, 2 g, 5 pts

A late bloomer, Varis has torn up the Finnish League as one of the top
scorers for the past three years, totaling an impressive 41 goals and
114 points in 113 games. Last year, he led powerhouse Jokerit to the
SM-Liiga championship but played poorly at the WC, causing the Sharks to
loose faith in him. However, Varis attracted the attention of the
Chicago Blackhawks, who are in desperate need of a scorer, with his
natural nose for the net, incredibly deadly wrist shot and a finesse
game with an element of physical toughness. The Hawks are in the process
of trying to get Varis to come to North America, as he would excel
playing alongside Alex Zhamnov, converting on Zhamnov’s superior passes.

Bryan Allen, D, 6-3, 195, 16 yrs, available for 1998 Entry Draft

‘96/97 Oshawa Generals(OHL), rookie

reg. season:

playoffs:

—Possibly the best prospect at the recent Memorial Cup, Bryan Allen
quickly stepped into the limelight and into the eyes of NHL scouts. Big,
strong and tough, Allen took a regular shift with the Generals, his
dominant play uncharacteristic of a rookie. He’s mature and confident
and plays a complete game without any glaring weaknesses; his passing
needs some development which will come with a few more seasons of
junior. Some scouts see Allen being in the top 5 drafted in ‘98 which
he is definately on track for.

David Legwand

6-2, 175 lbs, 16 yrs old

Plymouth Whalers(OHL)

-drafted 9th overall at 1997 OHL draft
‘96/97 Compuware Ambassadors(NAHL)

21-41-62

1997 NAHL All-Star Game

1-2-3

–NAHL ‘97 Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Star, All-League Team,
youngest member of ‘98 US National Junior Team

Strengths: excellent passer which stems from intelligence and terrific
hockey sense..stellar skater with quickness and mobility…mature and
poised

Peter Schaefer LW, 5-11, 190

-drafted 66th overall at the 1995 Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks

–significant member of Canada’s WJC gold medal winning team; WHL
All-Star

’96/97 Brandon(WHL) 61-49-74-123-85

’97/98 Syracuse(AHL) 15-6-8-14-2(currently leading the team)

Schaefer is a terrifically talented finesse player. He’s intelligence
and hockey sense is first rate, as are his offensive skills–soft hands,
good hand-eye coordination, the ability to find small openings, perfect
passes and stellar puckhandling. Schaefer has a nose for the net and the
touch to find it but he needs to work on defensive game. While his size
is below the NHL average, that should not be a problem because not only
is Peter a shifty skater, he’s strong on his feet and can hold his own.
With the current turmoils in Vancouver, Schaefer could very well be with
the big club this season.

Strengths: offensive wizard…creative and
mature…intelligent…terrific hockey sense

Weaknesses: lack of dominant size…needs to work on defensive game

Jake McCracken

goalie, 16 yrs old

SSM Greyhounds, OHL

13-3-5 3.35 GAA

—rookie who was the highest rated goalie in recent OHL draft; backed
team Ontario to gold medal at World Under-17 Challenge in Red Deer with
tournament leading 3.40 GAA and 86.2 SA%; excellent skill and maturity

Manny Malhotra

C, 6-2, 205, 5/18/80, available for 1998 Entry Draft

‘96/97 Guelph Storm(OHL), rookie

reg. season: 61-16-28-44-26, +12 (7th team scoring)

playoffs: 18-7-7-14-11, +5 (6th team scoring, 1st rookie scoring)

—Despite his age, Manny Malhotra has developed, and will continue to,
into a complete package of a power center– skills, strength, dominant
size. He’s a good skater with excellent vision of the ice. Of course
there are things he’ll need to work on like consistency and work ethic
but that’s what junior is for. He also seems to have a knack for goal
scoring, which only adds to his tremendous upside. Malhotra’s NHL
potential is much too good to let him slip out of the top 10 at the
1998 Entry Draft.

Related Articles