Avalanche 2004 draft review

By Jeff Dahlia






coloradodraftreview


The Colorado Avalanche has the reputation for working harder and more effectively deeper in the draft than any other team in the NHL. If it is any reflection of how well the scouting staff works throughout the year, then they have showed us that in today’s age that statistics, numbers and rankings
bear no meaning.

Led by Chief Scout Jim Hammett, the Avalanche headed into this year’s draft with
business as usual, but it was the first time in several years that the club had the opportunity to have three selections fairly early in the draft.
They amassed an impressive set of prospects going with five forwards, three defensemen and
one goaltender.

Wojtek Wolski, LW – 1st pick, 21st overall (Brampton – OHL)
Shoots: Left
6’3” – 200 lbs.
Born: 1986/02/24 – Zabrize, Poland

For Wojtek Wolski, it seemed that the days leading up to the draft were more gut wrenching then having the honor of being the Avalanche’s first pick in the 2004 Entry Draft. He was supposed to go earlier in the first round, though many teams shied away when they learned that Toronto Police filed assault charges against the prized winger stemming from a incident at a party he attended. Colorado stepped up and grabbed the young man that they feel is the right player.

When asked on draft day if he thought the off ice incident had anything to do with how things played out,
Wolski replied. “It might have. I’m not really sure….you never know what’s in their minds. I did nothing wrong and I think Colorado understands that, that everything’s going to be all right.”

The charges were more of a distraction than anything else. Colorado did a good job of interviewing Wolski before and after the scuffle and felt that what was being portrayed is not the guy they feel can rise to the occasion and wear the Avalanche jersey with pride and dignity.

If anything has been constant in this prospect’s life, then it is change and opportunity. Residing in Toronto since migrating from Poland by way of Germany, Wolski has found great success in his new home. Over the last two years, he has played his major junior career with the Brampton Battalion of the OHL. During the 2003-04 season, he led an underdog team into the second rounds of the playoffs before the club lost its steam.

Characterized as a big finesse player who will develop an edge over time, Wolski has all the tools to make an NHL dream a reality in the near future. He is a great skater with good balance and solid technique. He has average speed. His initial acceleration is very good. and he displays quick movement from time to time. He has very good hands and sees the ice well. He shows a tremendous offensive upside. He can hit the hole hard, finish hard while displaying great stick work in traffic. He can also step back, remain patient and make smart plays with good passing skill. He will use the body if it is warranted but he likes to work his way around defenders rather than through him. Wolski has a hard accurate shot with nice, quick release. He is a solid two-way player that understands his defensive responsibilities and doesn’t hesitate to get back and help out in his own zone.

Wolski would love to make the Avalanche right out of the gate and he has the character and determination to do so. When asked about his chances for next season he stated, “I’m not sure, I don’t really know what they have planned for me at the moment. Whatever they’re thinking, I’ll go along with.”

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Brampton

OHL

66

29

41

70

30

2003-04

Brampton (Playoffs)

OHL

12

5

3

8

8



Victor Oreskovich, RW – 2nd pick, 55th overall (Green Bay – USHL)
Shoots: Right
6’2” – 216 lbs.
Born: 1986/08/15 – Whitby, Ontario

Victor Oreskovich played for Milton of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League for the 2002-03 season and was named the Top Prospect by the Ontario Hockey Association. He combines great size, strong skating and soft hands. He played his 2003-04 season with the Green Bay Gamblers with the USHL. Many felt he didn’t produce as much as
originally thought, coming with such high regard from the OPJHL. Oreskovich still managed to lead all rookies in scoring for the 2003-04 season and was selected to the 2004 USHL All-Star team.

Oreskovich is a big broad winger that combines great size with strong skating ability and soft hands. He blends a quick stride with power and moves effortlessly throughout the ice. Being of such large stature, he likes to play a physical game. He goes after the puck and works very hard in traffic. His wrist shot is the highlight of his shooting package. He is unselfish, a great passer and makes good plays moving the puck up ice. He is a leader and his teammates look up to him.

He has committed to play for the University of Notre Dame for the 2004-05 season.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Green Bay

USHL

58

11

26

37

33



Denis Parshin, LW – 3rd Pick, 72nd overall (CSKA Moscow – RSL)
Shoots: Left
5’10” – 165 lbs.
Born: 1986/02/01 – Rybinsk, Russia

Colorado went with a wild card for their third pick, selecting Denis Parshin. He currently plays with CSKA Moscow and has seen his stock rise due to his speed and skill. His 2003-04 stats are not reflective of his true potential. He has been staking in the Super League and has had to earn his playing time
as a young player, which is a task in itself.

Parshin was the purest stickhandler that the draft had to offer. The only downside
is his size. He has a problem using his body effectively and gets pushed around quite often. He is a fast, skilled winger that has skated with some of Russia’s best talent in the Super League as well as in international competition. He has great moves and can dodge contact. Other players have a hard keeping up with him when he hits his full stride. He can score and distribute the puck evenly. He has an excellent wrist shot and can be a consistent point producer. He has great knowledge of the game and very good instincts.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

CSKA Moscow

RSL

27

2

4

6

4


Richard Demen-Willaume, D
– 4th pick, 154th overall (Frolunda – SJL)
Shoots: Left
6’3” – 195 lbs.
Born: 1986/01/28 – Olmevalla, Sweden

At the start of the season Demen-Willaume was considered one of the best defensive Swedish prospects. He also started out great in the junior league with Frolunda but as the season progressed he became more defensive and did not show as much offensive flair as earlier.
He represented team Sweden in the U18 WJC scoring a goal and an assist.

Demén-Willaume uses his great size and is a very steady two-way defenseman. He is mobile, a good stickhandler and has an accurate slap shot. This season he became more and more defensive the longer the season went, but is still gifted offensively. He combines a strong passing-game with good positioning on the ice.

Demén-Willaume will most likely spend next season mainly in the juniors. Frolunda has a deep team and while he is likely to get some call-ups it would be surprising if he gets significant
ice time in the SEL.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Frolunda – U18

SJL

9

1

2

3

4

2003-04

Frolunda – U20

SJL

5

0

1

1

6

2003-04

Frolunda – U20

SJL

35

6

7

13

22



Derek Peltier, D – 5th pick, 184 overall (Cedar Rapids – USHL)
Shoots: Left
5’11” – 188 lbs.
Born: 1985/03/14 – Plymouth, Minnesota

Derek Peltier was a member the bronze medal winning team at the 2002 US Under-18 Select Tournament. During the 2003-04 season, he was the third leading defenseman in points for the USHL. He was named to the
All-USHL First team and set a new Cedar Rapids club record for most assists and points by a defensemen. He received LPH/USHL honors for Defensive Player of Week and was selected to the 2004 USHL All-Star World team. He was again named to the Under-18 Select Team for 2004.

Peltier is a defenseman that has the ability to jump in on the rush and contribute points. He is a very confident positional player who skates very well. He has a strong shot from the point. He is a very smart patient player that understands his roles on both ends of the ice. He works well with the puck and does a good job of moving it up ice.

Peltier has committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall 2004.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Cedar Rapids

USHL

55

7

26

33

34

2003-04

Cedar Rapids (Playoffs)

USHL

4

0

0

0

4



Ian Keserich, G
– 6th pick, 215 overall (Cleveland – NAHL)
Catches: Left
6’3” – 180 lbs.
Born: 1986/01/06 – Cleveland, Ohio

Ian Keserich started his young hockey career with Cleveland Barons of the NAHL. In 1998, he won the PeeWee National Championship for the Barons. In 2003, he was a member of the U.S. gold medal winning Under-18 World Championship Team that competed in the Czech Republic. Keserich was also named the Most Valuable Goaltender of the tournament.
He started on a positive note for the 2003-04 season before his season was cut short due to a concussion.

Keserich is a successful butterfly goalie that is able to stay focused. His footwork is exceptional, and he can cover ground effectively. He is a good skater that likes to step up rather than lie back. He is decent at working with the puck.

Keserich has committed to Ohio State for the fall of 2004. He will spend his time focusing on earning the starting job between the pipes.

Season

Team

League

GP

W

L

T

GA

SO

AVG

2003-04

Cleveland

NAHL

34

18

13

3

101

0

3.22



Brandon Yip, RW – 7th pick, 239th overall (Coquitlam – BCHL)
Shoots: Right
6’1” – 171 lbs.
Born: 1985/04/25 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Brandon Yip plays on the Coquitlam Express top line with fellow Colorado Avalanche prospect David Jones. In the Junior ‘B’ Pacific International Junior Hockey League (PIJHL), Yip asserted himself as a top notch scorer for his team, the Ridge Meadow Flames. The Express quickly promoted him to the big club and
he was an instant hit. He earned several honors including being named the Coquitlam Express’ Top Rookie, being selected to play on the BCHL All-Star team in January of 2004, receiving and being named to the BCHL first All-Star team for the Coastal Conference at the end of the season.

Yip is a savvy offensive player that shows his intelligence in the offensive zone. He shows a great deal of prowess in scoring goals. A thinking-man’s offensive player, he reads plays with exceptional ease. He is often seen intercepting passes or causing turnovers in the offensive zone. A good skater, he has no problems at getting speed and maintaining it, though he could improve on his overall mobility as tends to be a bit too much of a north-south type of player. Above-average vision and shooting skills, in particular a highly accurate shot, keeps goaltenders guessing. While he certainly prefers to shoot, Yip does not hesitate to make the pass if it’s the better play. While not short, Yip is very slight, and he lacks a great deal in body strength. He does, however, seem to win a good deal of battles in the corners and along the walls, but he doesn’t use his body to do so, rather using his stick smartly to pick out pucks or tie up sticks.

Yip has accepted a scholarship to Boston University and will play out his college hockey for the Terriers starting fall of 2005.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Coquitlam

BCHL

56

31

38

69

87

2003-04

Coquitlam (Playoffs)

BCHL

4

1

2

3

4

J.D. Corbin, LW – 8th Pick, 249th overall (U of Denver – NCAA)
Shoots: Left
5’10” – 185 lbs.
Born: 1985/03/23 – Littleton, Colorado

J.D. Corbin completed his rookie season at the University of Denver in 2003-04. He was member of the Denver Pioneers 2004 National Championship team. Prior to coming to the University of Denver, Corbin played for the U. S. National Team Development Program during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. During the 2002-03 season. Corbin was a member of the gold medal winning USA squad at the World U-17 Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2002. He was a member of Team USA’s fourth place team at the IIHF U-18 World Junior Tournament in Russia in 2003.

Corbin is a tenacious, hard working forward who possesses excellent speed and acceleration. His speed, along with his superb ability to move through traffic makes him an exciting player to watch. The biggest knock on Corbin is his small stature. Despite his lack of size, he’s a tough player to play against and contain. He will drive to the net and can create havoc around it. He plays very well along the boards and in the corners. He possesses very good passing skills along with a quick shot release. Corbin is also a defensively responsible player who possesses good vision and transitions quite well. He is aggressive in one-on-one situations. He doesn’t shy away from the physical aspects of the game and can take and deliver solid checks. He has also shown a willingness to block shots when necessary as well.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

U Of Denver

NCAA

39

3

6

9

18

Stephen McClellan, D – 9th pick, 281st overall (Catholic Memorial – USHS)
Shoots: Left
6’1” – 165 lbs.
Born: 1985/04/22 – Boston, Massachusetts

At the conclusion of the 2003-04 season, Stephen McClellan along with the Knights strong defense, captured Catholic Memorial its 11th Super 8 title. This was
McClellan’s third title in four years while playing for the Knights. He was named to the Boston Globe’s All-Scholastic Super team.

McClellan is an uncharacteristically high energy defenseman that skates hard and never gives up. He has great skating technique. He can move the puck effectively up and out of the zone. He is also very good defending with his stick and stopping opposing forwards in their tracks. He has decent offensive capabilities.

McClellan has one more year at Catholic Memorial before he heads off to Northeastern University for the fall of 2005.

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

2003-04

Catholic Memorial

USHSE

25

8

18

26

14



Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without written permission
of the editorial staff. Holly Gunning, Jay Thompson, DJ Powers, Jason Shaner and Johan Nilsson contributed to this article.