Seven in time
First of all, i would like to welcome the fans of the San Jose Sharks, the Ottawa Senators, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals who read an article from germany for the first time. These team all drafted players from germany, the number goes high to SEVEN. A new record for germany and we also beat slovakia and the suiss with this high number of draftees.
Germany saw three years without a draftpick. We hadn’t very good talents in this years and the best prospects got no chance to play in their team, to many foreigners own a spot. The last pick from a german team was forward Andrej Nedorost in last years draft as he were picked in the last round by the Columbus Blue jackets. Nedorost spent the two season before his draft in Essen, Germany. And the last german-born player who was drafted is Sascha Goc, the fifth pick from the New Jersey Devils, #159 overall in 1997.
First round with second Goc
The NHL Entry Draft 2001 starts without big surprises. Several trades happened, for example: the disputed russian center Alesei Yashin was traded to the New York Islanders. The Atlanta Trashers pick up russian teenage sensation, center Ilya Kovalchuk, the best canadian, Jason Spezza was selected by the Ottawa Senators. The first round keep on going…
And the time from Marcel Goc is far away – based on his own comment. “Only that i will be drafted is important.” His personal promising was a pick in the late second round. But the NHL-teams maked plans in the last days before the draft who they’ll pick up. More and more scouts watched him in his last games, especially at the world championship. The late first round might be a very good place to taking Goc, if he will be picked after the first round he must be named as a big steal. Picking up from which team? The New Jersey Devils become the big favourite in the race for drafting Goc – they owned the 24th and the 28th pick in the first round. Sascha Goc, Marcel’s brother is already under contract in the Devils organization and Marcel want to play together with his two brothers Sascha and Nicolai (called ‘Nicky’) in the NHL in some years. Also, Sascha told the Devils’ scouts some good things about his four years younger brother.
It’s seems to be sure: 17 year old Marcel Goc from Calw, Germany will pull over the New Jersey Devils-jersey. So far, so good – back in the first round, the Sharks from San Jose, california will draft at position twenty next. Five minutes to name their new player. Time is ticking away. Will it be czech center Jiri Novotny? Or also czech: defender Lukas Krajicek? Or Gleason? Perezhogin? And the announcing comes closer…”The San Jose Sharks select – from Schwenningen, DEL – Marcel Goc.” What does Goc think as the announcing happen? He thinked the Sharks take a player from Shawinigan of the QMJHL, the pronouncing from Schwenningen and Shawinigan is nearly. His agent told him “Hey, that’s you!” and Goc realized it as he heard the league, the DEL. He was very happy and surprised that the Sharks picked him earlier than he thinks.
The center became the highest drafted german born player ever, Olaf Kölzig, Washington’s pick #19 in the NHL Entry Draft 1989 was born in South Africa. The former recordman was Marco Sturm, San Jose’s second choice in the first round of 1996 as number #21. And it’s also Sturm who can be Goc’ new teammate in the next years. The next years, the next question: How long will it take till Goc can make the NHL? As i’ved promissed all situations and possibilities in his Profile, he will stay for at least one year in Schwenningen. He’s just 17 years old and was one of the youngest players in this years Draft and you can comment the options for the upcoming season: NHL: No, to early. Farmteam: No, to young. North American Junior A league: No, that will be a step back. (Goc wasn’t drafted at the CHL Import Draft, too) Staying in Germany: Yes, for sure. He will play in the top line of DEL-team Schwenningen in all important situations, thats the undisputed best choice for his developing.
The selecting from the Sharks does not only surprised Marcel Goc, that surprised the New Jersey Devils, too. Goc isn’t on the market as they are next with pick #24. They had plans to make him their first selection in the Draft. And now? After some minutes, they traded their pick away and the Panthers from Florida selected Lukas Krajicek.
The San Jose German Sharks
The germans waiting and hoping that one more will be drafted. But day one closed with only one german selection. So, the next day can bring more germans in the draft as the last six rounds take place. The day starts with the fourth round and the selection of Jordin Tootoo (to Nashville). We go over to pick 106, owned by the Chicago Blackhawks. But the pick was traded to the San Jose Sharks for picks 119, 186 and 216. Three for one, what’s going on? We will see it very soon. The Sharks own already the next pick, #107. So, they has now the opportunity to pick two players after their first pick Goc because they didn’t had a pick in the second and third round on day one.
#106 is … defender Christian Ehrhoff, another german prospect. He played for Krefeld in the DEL and scored 14 points in the last season, while he also appeared in the play-off’s of the german third league for Duisburg and score three points in six games. He was prognosed to be picked in the sixth round, but the earlier selection maked him really happy. Ehrhoff is an offensive defenseman with good skates and will join the Sharks farmteam in two years if he won’t impress the officials in the fowolling evaluation camps.
#107 is … goalie Dimitri Pätzold, a german, too. The third pick by San Jose is the third german, what happened there? Pätzold (pronouncing: Pet-sold) played for the farmteam of the Cologne Sharks and for the TSV Erding Jets (also called the ‘German Team’) who promote young german prospects. European goalies Medvedev (CSB-rank European Goalies: 1) and Nissinen (5) were selected at day one, Pätzold goes at position three by the CSB and was selected at the third european goalie, too. The 18 year old U18 and U20 national netminder was a very good pick, he’s very fast, has good reflexces (longterm-comparing to Felix Potvin’s reflexces) and no big weaknesses. So, what about his future? The Sharks already has a good depth at this position and there’s no place for him currently.
But he will be play for the Sharks in the next season! But only of the Sharks from Cologne, Gemany, who are known here as the Kölner Haie (=sharks). They plan with him as their back up goalie for former IHL-goalie Chris Rogles. But the Sharks officials must make a new decision about his future. Only 10 or 20 games in the next season can’t help his game much, so it’s not impossible that they step in and sent him to an other team. But San Jose will hopefully see a longterm future with Evgeny Nabokov as the starting goalie and Dimitri Pätzold as his back up, both netminders are born in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazahkstan and can speak russian.
Ottawa, home of german defensemen
As time goes by – only 19 picks later, the Ottawa Senators select the most physical prospect from germany, defender Christoph Schubert. “It was wanton! I’m very happy that it happens so early!” Must of the scouts and viewers said that Schubert (pronouncing: Shoe-bart) had a draft chance in the eigth or ninth round. So, Schubert heard this very good news as he stay at home and celebrated his drafting after this. Following a look at the internetsite from the Senators and one day later a small talk with the first german draftee from the Senators, Erich Goldmann (#212 in 1996).
Potential? Last seasons DEL Rookie of the Year from the DEL-champion of 2000, the Munich Barons, can be the next Darius Kasparaitis. But, that’s a high level comparing and Schubert can only reach this level with hard work. He showed some very good checks in the past and his offensive potential is a little bit better than Kasparaitis’, he need only a good developing.
So, Schubert become the fourth german draft pick and the fifth isn’t far away. Ottawa has another pick in the fifth round and select defender Stefan Schauer at position 162. A big surprise for him and some fans from the Senators who don’t know many things about him, the most known nothing about a guy named Schauer (pronouncing: Shower). Stefan Schauer, 18 years old, played at this years U18 world junior championship a good role at germany’s blue line. This fact helped him to be drafted from the Sens. Because they also drafted Erich Goldmann after a good junior championship. Schauer’s last years team was the SC Riessersee, a second league team with many talents. One of them is Martin Hinterstocker, ranked on position 100 by the CSB and not drafted this year.
Both had a very good size and a good physical game, like Goldmann. Both players will stay in germany in the next season, like Goldmann. But both could better develop as Goldmann in their teams. Schauer will earn more ice time in the second league and can make the jump into the DEL one year later. The movement to north america will be in three years. Christoph Schubert will stay one more year in Munich, Germany and if the Sens want him he will go into their farmteam to fight for a spot in the NHL. Note: You can find more about Schubert on his Profile.
How to become a Flyer
Who’s next? Five germans had been taken, some interesting players still hope to hear their name, like wing Thomas Greilinger or defender Dennis Seidenberg. Both played at the world championship in Germany this year and the european scout of the Philadelphia Flyers stayed there to watch the games and scout some overage players for the Flyers, possibly from the czech republic. Goalie Roman Cechmanek was a good choice in the past and they hoped to see another interesting man.
But this man is only 19 years old and come from the DEL-champion Adler (=Hawks) Mannheim. His name is Dennis Seidenberg, who surprised the international viewers at the world championship with his coolness, routine and his very good long passing skills. Sometimes you think you watch a veteran player, but Seidenberg must pay tribute to the bad situation in the last years in germany – the scouts overview him for month and hasn’t many informations about him. But the Flyers selected him with their pick #172. You see, the answer of the trivia “How to become a Flyer?” is: Play a good part at the world championship! Seidenberg will probably stay for a minimum of one year in Mannheim. He signed a new two year contract some weeks ago and will only join the Flyers earlier if he make their team in the camps.
Late is better than never
The Washington Capitals drafted the third german goaltender in their history, Robert Müller was selected at position 275. He’s the third german goalie there after Olaf Kölzig and Marc Seliger (1993, #251). Seliger joined the Capitals organization in summer of 1996 after a injury break. He only played a few of games in the AHL’s squad of Portland before sending down to the ECHL. The Caps also send him back to germany after one season, Seliger didn’t play as good as they want. Some years later, Marc Seliger is a sure member of the geman national team and he would be the number one in this years world championship, but a injury stopped this dream.
Now, back to this years draftee from the Capitals. Robert Müller is an overage goalie who celebrated his 21st birthday some days ago. He also played streethockey in the german nationalteam – as a forward! Because of his age he wasn’t ranked by the CSB this year. But years ago his rankings in the CSB European Goalie Rankings were: 1998 End-Season #5, 1999 Mid-Season #5, 1999 End-Season #6. He wasn’t drafted at this time, so why now? It seems to be one reason is the same as Dennis Seidenberg, he had some strong performances at the world championship. The second reason is that the Capitals need one more goalie at their depth chart. Curtis Cruickshank or Sebastian Charpentier seem to be not good enough to garner the back up spot in the NHL-team sometimes. So, they coaches will try Müller in their farmteams and maybe he can earn a shot to be the second german goalie in the Caps NHL-team. But, what happen to Müller in the next season? He’s still under contract with champion Mannheim and they want him as the back up for another goalie with a Capitals history, Mike Rosati. The next weeks will bring a decision and we will see: Will Müller join the farmteam this year or next year?
Note: Robert Müller has a own website since the start of this year, where you can see the Caps-draftpick, if you don’t know him now. For example, the interesting fact that his favourite goalie is Grant Fuhr. The Link: www.mueller-robert.com
Teammates and former ‘Germans’…
Also, not only ‘real’ german were drafted, some teammates from german players and players who played in germany in the past.
Teammates: Defender Kenny Smith (#84, 3rd round, Edmonton Oilers) and left wing Dennis Packard (#219, 7th round, Tampa Bay Lightning) played both together with german netminder Oliver Jonas for the Harvard University in the american college league ECAC. Note: Edmonton picked center Jake Brenk on position 154 in the fifth round, a player from the Breck High School and their hockey team, the Mustangs, where Jonas played in the 1996-97 season.
Right wing Owen Fussey was drafted from the Washington Capitals in the third round on position 90 and played for the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) last season, the same team german defender Anton Bader played for. Kevin Bieksa, defender from the Bowling Green State University (CCHA) was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks on position 151 in the fifith round – Bieksa was a teammate from german defender Paul Weismann at the Bowling Green Uni.
Most of the fans don’t know the name Brandon Crawford-West before the Draft in Fort Lauderdale. The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted him in the eight’ round at position 250. Crawford-West played for the Texas Tornados in the second american junior a league after the USHL, the NAHL. His teammate was for two weeks german defender Hardy Gensel who also played four games for the Memphis RiverKings of the Central Hockey League in this season.
The Tampa Bay Lightnign drafted a player from the Valley Junior Warriors from the EJHL. Paul Lynch, a defender recorded seven points there. Also a german defender recorded 24 points there and was their best blueliner. His name is Georg Rainer Köttsdorfer, born 1981.
Former Caps’ forward Jan Benda appeared in the jersey from finnish team Jokerit Helsinki in the last season and his teammates forward Tomi Mäki (#108, 4th round, Calgary Flames) and high-rated overage goalie Pasi Nurminen (#189, 6th round, Atlanta Trashers) were picked (Haakana is in the next category).
Swiss defender and Phoenix’ draftee (#273, 9th round) Severin Blindenbacher was and is the linemate from german draft eligible player Robin Breitbach. Both come from the well junior system of the swiss hockey club EHC Kloten.
Former German league players: An overage draftee from last years expansion team Minnesota Wild is center Tony Virta (TPS Turku/Finland). He played in the 96-97 season for the Frankfurt Lions in the DEL. Virta finished fourth in their scoring table behind Sills and former NHL-players Järvi and Archibald with 26 points (48 GP) in the regualar season and 3 points (8 GP) in the play-off’s.
Swedish forward Andreas Salomonsson (Djurgardens IF/Sweden) played for the EC Ratingen Lions in the same season. He recorded five goals and one assist for six points in 21 games. Only his 49 penalty minutes were a high number. The two-way-forward wasn’t as good as the officials from Ratingen hoped and Salomonsson goes back to sweden after four months.
The surprising pick from the Edmonton Oilers on position 248 in the eight’ round, defender Kari Haakana, did also appear in a german team. Haakana played for the Star Bulls Rosenheim from 1997 till 1999. He scored 23 points in 112 games and played a solid stay-at-home defenseman Note: Washington Capitals draftpick Robert Müller was the goalie in both seasons.
Wing Thomas Greilinger (born 1981) wasn’t drafted, he scored 22 points in 54 games for Schwenningen in the DEL last year. He also scored over 50 goals in the third league and was germany’s top scorer at the B-pool world championships on year before. But this world championships dropped him out of the race. I’ved heard from a scout that his team ranked him in their draft choices as their fitfh pick at the half of the season, but after the world championship he falls down to position ten, not high enough for a draft. Martin Hinterstocker, the number 100 from the CSB european skaters is talented, but young and in the second league. The scouts want to see more from him and his developing and we will see if he will be drafted at next years Draft.
Adrian Grygiel, a potential sniper, was out of the race by only one reason. As his birthdate is in september 1983 he was eligible for this years draft, but the most scouts said he is to young for an european draft pick in the late rounds. That means also that he has good chances in next years draft. The other possibilities from germany would be very surprising picks and they wasn’t picked up. But we will see what will happen in the future. Overage players are all-time interesting. You see it on Daniel Kreutzer for example. The scouts were impressed after a good world championship by him, but he they realize that he is to small to make the NHL now, possibly some years later.
Finally, what can happen at best with the drafted german players if they reach the NHL-level someday: Marcel Goc will score 30-60 points, as he’s a good goalscoring playmaker if he record 50 points he will score 20 goals and 30 assist. Ehrhoff can be the fourth or fifth defender in a team and will score 20 points. Pätzold can be the back up, Schubert can earn ~15 points and 100 penalty minutes and Schauer can score <10 points as defender number six. Seidenberg can saw some special time team as defender number five and will than score ~20 points, Robert Müller can make the back up job. Don't forget, that is best what can happen, but we can’t say, we only can see what happen.
Hope you will visit the german HF Country Site more than in the past as you see that we have some very good talents. Especially the fans from the teams who drafted german players in this years draft can get more infos about them here. I will also cover them in the next season and would tell you anything what happen to them in germany!
A little look in the past and future will tell us that the german hockey will pay more attention. The U18 played very good, the national team played a sensational tournament, seven players were drafted – we have to much foreigners in our league, but the future shines. The U20 will play in next years B-pool championships and will be the bext team there for sure. And german talents can develop in the DEL good, they learn from the many foreigners, most of them are former NHL-players. Also, the NHL-team officials can let their draftees grew up in germany – the league is because of the playing style closer to the NHL than many other european leagues.
The next talents are also not far away, like defender Alexander Sulzer, our top prospect for 2002 or goalie Patrick Koslow, our top prospect for 2003. Some fun: As many peoples are surprised about this many selections from german players in this years draft i hope the important scouts take also a look at my coverage, so greetings to them and hoping for eight players in the next draft!
© Oliver Janz