On June the 25th, the Atlanta Thrashers will load their team with one player of each NHL’s team except for Nashville Predators.
The rules of the expansion draft are simple: Atlanta must draft 3 goalies, 8 defensemen and 13 forwards. They cannot draft more than 6 free agents.
According to the rules the NHL’s teams a) cannot lose a goalie if Nashville drafted one last year, b) can protect one goalie five defensemen and nine fowards exposing one exeperienced d-man and two experienced forwards (under contract for 99-00 with 40 game experience in 98-99 or 70 game experience in the last two years), or c) can protect two goalies, three defensemen and seven fowards .
The best strategy for the Thrashers is:
1. pick the best player available from each team
2. pile up the maximum goalies (5).
3. take players in their prime (25-29 year old)
4. use their 3rd, 4th, and 5th pick in the entry draft to select older European players
5. sign one or two free-agent
6. sign minor league free agent or players with independant teams.
Here is some of the players that will be made available by the NHL’s teams and my pick for each team.
Anaheim ( Anaheim cannot lose a goalie because of Shtalenkov).
Players likely available: Dan Trebil d, Pascal Trépanier d, Pavel Tmka d, Frank Banham f, Stuart Grimson f, Peter Lebouthillier f, Mike Leclerc f, Tomas Sandstrom f,
My pick: Frank Banham f (rw). Banham was injury-proned but when healthy, he’s a power forward who know where the net is. During his stint with the Ducks, he made good impression.
Players likely available: Rob Tallas g, Dave Ellett d, Grant Ledyard d, Ken Baumgartner f, Chris Taylor f, Tim Taylor f, Landon Wilson f, Peter Ferraro f,
My pick: Rob Tallas g. Tallas could be a suitable back-up and as Atlanta can pick 5 goalies, he can become trade material.
Players likely available: Dwayne Roloson g, James Patrick d, Paul Kruse f, Geoff Sanderson f, Dominic Pittis f,
My pick: Geoff Sanderson f (lw). Sanderson has been a pure goal scorer a few year ago. He was traded a lot in the last few years. He must rebound. A lot of ice time for him in Atlanta. So…
Players likely available: Ken Wreggett, Tommy Albelin d, Eric Charron d, Steve Smith d, Bob Bassen f, Tom Chorske f, Hnat Domenichelli f,
My pick: Hnat Domenichelli f (c ). In his junior days, Domenichelli was a good scorer. In the minors, he scored also a lot. In his rare stints with the Flames. He scored a few. Defensive hockey remains a problem for him.
Players likely available: Trevor Kidd g, Sean Hill d, David Karpa d, Kevin Dineen f, Kent Manderville f,
My pick: David Karpa d. Karpa was a bust after the trade bringing him in Greensboro. He was a lot on the injury list. Nevertheless, he’s a rugged defenseman who can hit and retaliate.
Players likely available: Mark Fitzpatrick g, Jamie Allison d, Bryan Muir d, Rob Probert f, Ed Olczyk f, Reid Simpson f,
My pick: Bryan Muir d. A stay-at-home defenseman who can do the job. A good 6th defenseman.
Players likely available: Craig Billington g, Alexei Gusarov d, Cam Russell d, Jeff Odgers f, Christian Matte f,
My pick: Christian Matte f (rw). Matte has been stucked in Hershey in the las t 3 years. He can score. A good player in the minors but he seems missing the notch to be in the NHL. A long-shot.
Players likely available: Roman Turek g, Craig Ludwig d, Doug Lidster d, Benoit Hogue f, Tony Hrkac f, Derek Plante f,
My pick: Roman Turek g. Turek is the best goalie available in the draft. If the Thrashers could draft Damian Rhodes from Ottawa. Maybe the Thrashers could return Turek to Dallas for a Jamie Langenbrunner if they want him back..
Players likely available: Norm Maracle g, Todd Gill d, Wendell Clark f, Brent Gilchrist f, Joey Kocur f,
My pick: Wendell Clark f (lw). He helped the Wings in the last stretch. Has a decent year in Tampa. Injury-proned, old but a born-leader.
Players likely available: Bob Essensa g, Marty Mc Sorley d, George Laraque f, Alexander Selivanov, Chris Ferraro f, Joe Hulbig f, Vladimir Vorobiev f,
My pick: Alexander Selivanov f (rw). Selivanov was traded this year. He’s not a star but a decent 3rd line player.
Players likely available: Kirk Mc Clean g, Terry Carkner d, Alex Hicks f, Kirk Muller f , Chris Well,
My pick: Kirk Muller f (lw). Captain Kirk has slowed down but he remains a good defensive player who know the game. Its influence will be a plus in the Thrashers locker room.
Los Angeles (The Kings cannot lose a goalie. Chabot was picked by Predators last year)
Players likely available: Doug Bodger d, Phillipe Boucher d, Nathan Lafayette f, Sandy Moger f, Jason Podollan f,
My pick: Phillipe Boucher d. Boucher was an offensive defenseman in Laval jr. He was the kingpin of their power play. He played behind the Blake, Galley and Co.. Give him a chance.
Montreal (Vokoun was drafted by Nashville, so no goalie in this expansion draft)
Players likely available: Brett Clark d, Craig Rivet d, Jason Dawe f, Jonas Hoglund f, Sergei Zholtok f,
My pick: Craig Rivet d. Rivet is a defenseman who can fight, who can do a decent job defensively. Not flashy. Still young.
is exempted from this expansion draft.
New Jersey Devils (No goalie this year because of Mike Dunham)
Players likely available: Kevin Dean d, Dave Andreychuk f, Sergei Brylin f, Sasha Lakovic f, Steve Brulé f,
My pick: Sergei Brylin f (c ) Brylin can produce. He was injured and never get it back but he’s still young and can produce again.
New York Islanders
Players likely available: Wade Flaherty g, Eric Cairns d, Barry Richter d, Joe Sacco f, Vladimir Orzagh f, Dimitri Nabokov f,
My pick: Wade Flaherty g. Another decent back-up. Did a good job with a bad team when Potvin was injured..
New York Rangers (The Rangers cannot lose a goalie. Richter was drafted by Predators last year.)
Players likely available: Jason Doig d, Christian Dubé f, Scott Fraser f, Eric Lacroix f, Mike Maneluk f,
My pick: Christian Dubé f (c ). Dubé was a phenomenon in the junior rank. He learned the job in the minor. He is ready. A diamond in the rough.
Players likely available: Damian Rhodes g, Janne Laukkanen d, Andreas Johansson f, Vaclav Prospal f,
My pick: Damian Rhodes g. Rhodes is the second best goalie available in this draft. The Thrashers cannot ignore him.
Players likely available: Ron Hextall g, Adam Burt d, Mikael Bo Andersson f, Jody Hull f, Sandy Mc Carthy f,
My pick: Sandy Mc Carthy f (rw). Mc Carthy can be used as an enforcer but he has decent skills as a hockey player.
Players likely available: Mikhail Shtalenkov g, Jimmy Waite g, Jean-Jacques Daigneault d, Stanislav Neckar d, Jim Cummins f, Stephen Leach f, Tavis Hansen f,
My pick: Jimmy Waite g. Waite was demoted to the minors when the Coyotes got Shtalenkov. He can be a reliable back-up or an insurance policy in the minors.
Players likely available: Petr Skudra g, Sven Butenschon d, Bobby Dollas d, Rob Brown f, Dan Kesa f, Tyler Wright f,
My pick: Sven Butenschon d. He’s young (22). Was impressive in the minors. Decent in the pros. Why not ?
Players likely available: Mike Vernon g, Bob Rouse d, Murray Craven f, Tony Granato f, Steve Guolla f, Shawn Burr f,
My pick: Bob Rouse d. An experienced d-man who can clear the net.
Players likely available: Jamie Mc Lennan g, Marc Bergevin d, Jeff Finley d, Jim Campbell f, Michel Picard f, Bryan Helmer d,
My pick: Jim Campbell f (rw). Has a sub-par year this year but make its presence felt in the past. Can score with a good center.
Players likely available: Corey Schwab g, Drew Bannister d, David Wilkie d, Mikael Nylander f, Paul Ysebaert f
My pick: David Wilkie. The Thrashers needs a second quarterback at the defense. If Boucher fails, they needs another solution. So Wilkie fills the bill.
Players likely available: Glen Healy g, Yanick Tremblay d, Chris Mc Allister d, Kris King f, Todd Warriner f,
My pick: Todd Warriner f (c ) A first-round pick who never blossomed. Still young. Need ice time.
Players likely available: Corey Hirsch g, Jason Strudwick d, Dave Gagner f, Harry York f, Larry Courville f, Steve Washburn f,
My pick: Jason Strudwick d. Strudwick is a young defenseman. Could be a decent 5th defenseman.
Players likely available: Rick Tabaracci g, Enrico Ciccone d, Mark Tinordi d, Mike Eagles f, Kelly Miller f, Mikhail Pivonka f,
My pick: Mark Tinordi d. He is an unrestricted free agent. He worths the risk. He could anchor the Thrashers defense if the money is right.
The Thrashers had the second overall pick in the entry draft. They must pick someone ready to step in. Tampa Bay seems looking for Pavel Brendl or Daniel Sedin. Among the players ready to graduate, only one can make an impact: PATRIK STEFAN F (C ) Long Beach IHL
With their second pick (29 th overall), Atlanta must select a player only one year away from the NHL. My pick: Michael Zigomanis (c ) Kingston OHL
LW C RW
SANDERSON DOMINECHELLI BANHAM
CLARK BRYLIN MATTE
MULLER DUBÉ SELIVANOV
STEFAN MC CARTHY
As I said before, the Thrashers should sign one or two free-agents and a few minor league free-agents or players with independant teams:
Here is some suggestions: NHL free-agents:
Andrew Cassells c (Calgary) or Dave Andreychuk c (New Jersey)
Minor league free agents or players from independant teams:
Some possibilities: Denis Hamel rw (Rochester), David Roberts lw (Michigan) , Brendon Convery c (Springfield), Manny Legace g (Long Beach), Martin Gendron rw (Fredericton), Alexander Semak c (Albany), Chris O’Sullivan d (Hartford), Kevin Brown rw (Hartford), Rory Fitzpatrick d (Worcester), Steve Larouche c (Chicago IHL), Gilbert Dionne rw (Cincinnati IHL), Jim Paek d (Houston), Eric Perrin rw (Kansas City) or Pierre Sévigny lw (Orlando),
Finally, during the Entry Draft, the Thrashers should select some older Europeans with their late picks: Some possibilities:
Stefan Hellkvist a 29 year old rw from Leksand, Sweden
Jari Kauppila a 25 year old rw from Jokerit, Finland
Pasi Saarela a 26 year old rw from Jokerit, Finland
Juha Ikonen a 29 year old rw from Kiekko-Espoo, Finland
Lasse Pirjeta a 25 year old lw from Tappara, Finland
Jiri Zelenka a 27 year old rw from Sparta Praha, Czech Republic