Young Snipers

By Drew Bennett
When most people think of the Islanders 1999 Entry Draft, they think of
Tim Connolly, Taylor Pyatt, Brandislav Mezi, and Kristian Kudroc. The three
players that most people forget about are Justin Mapletoft, Mattias
Weinhandl, and Juraj Kolnik.

After having four picks in the first round, the Islanders next pick was
in the 3rd round. With that pick, 78th overall, they chose Mattias
Weinhandl. In 2000, he was high-sticked in the left eye by Michal Travnicek,
and had minimal vision. After a recovering enough to return to the line up
for MoDo, his team in the Swedish Elite League, he finished the season strong
while playing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. This season, while playing for a
rebuilding MoDo team, Weinhandl has 14 goals, 30 points, and 10 penalty
minutes in 44 games.

In the next round, with the 101st overall selection, the Islanders were
thrilled to have to chance to draft Juraj Kolnik. Although he doesn’t have a
great skating stride and he isn’t the most physical player, his scoring
ability and potential was well worth the draft choice. In 2000 Kolnik had a
break through season, where he registered 53 goals and 53 assists in 47
games, for a total of 106 points. After struggling in the beginning of the
year playing for the Lowell Lock Monsters, General Manager Mike Milbury moved
Kolnik to the Springfield Falcons where he regained his form of 2000, and
registered 14 goals and 16 assists for a total of 30 points in 26 games. Due
to the Islanders lack of scoring and amount of injuries, Kolnik was able to
play in 31 NHL games this year in which he tallied 4 goals and 2 assists for
a total of 6 points.

In the 5th round, with the 130th pick, the Islanders took Justin
Mapletoft of Red Deer in the WHL. Ever since he was drafted, Mapletoft has
become a complete player. His defense has been solid, he has been very
consistent, his scoring has elevated to a higher level, and has been a
leader. This season Mapletoft lead the WHL in scoring where he tallied 43
goals, 77 assists and 120 points in the regular season. He also had an
impressive +45 rating along with 15 power play goals, 11 game-winners and 111
penalty minutes.

With there 3 future players in the Islanders System, the thought that the
Islanders will be the team with the fewest goals scored, is far-fetched. The
Sporting News ranked the Islanders prospect list as the 4th best in the NHL.
It’s players like these, who helped them get that ranking.

Ice Chips: Dave Scatchard was named both the Islander of the Year and
the Winner of the Bob Nystrom Award. Scatchard, who was acquired from
Vancouver a few years back, has had a break out year and is a fan favorite.
Scatchard is the very active in the Long Island Community and has done a ton
of charity work….. If you have not checked out the Islanders official site
please do. It is one of the best team sites of any sports team and has
in-depth and weekly updated info on prospects, as well as an interactive
e-mail section with the Islanders’ own Chris Botta.