Coyotes 2000 draft evaluation

By Ryan Garner

Of the eight players drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2000 Entry Draft, only two have seen NHL action, playing in a combined 149 games. Krys Kolanos and Ramzi Abid, selected in the first and third rounds respectively, have developed into NHL regulars. Unfortunately both have fallen victim to serious injury in recent years, causing them to miss significant amounts of playing time and casting doubt over the future of their playing careers. Overall the draft class has averaged 19 NHL games per pick.

Krys Kolanos, C (1st round, 19th overall, Boston College, NCAA)
Status: NHL player
NHL games: 100

Krys Kolanos was drafted by the Coyotes with the 19th overall pick following an impressive rookie campaign with Boston College, where he had 32 points in 42 games and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team. The following season, Kolanos improved on his numbers, posting 50 points in 41 games, and led the Eagles to an NCAA national championship.

In 2001 Kolanos attended his first NHL training camp and earned a roster spot with Phoenix. His excellent hands and vision enabled him to produce regularly as a rookie, scoring 22 points in 57 games for the Coyotes. Things unraveled quickly for Kolanos during the 2002-03 season, however. The big center who wears #36 found himself 86’ed for the majority of the season after suffering a concussion in the Coyotes second preseason game. Kolanos managed to return for the final two games of the regular season after suffering severe post-concussion syndrome throughout the year.

Kolanos attempted to make a complete return to the Coyotes lineup during the 2003-04 season but found himself splitting time between the NHL squad and AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons. Looking hesitant at times and still recovering from post-concussion symptoms, he posted 10 points appearing in 41 games for Phoenix. The Coyotes are hopeful that Kolanos can make a complete recovery and come back strong when NHL play resumes. He put up impressive numbers in a short stint playing in Europe this past season, but questions concerning his health will continue to plague the talented center for years to come.

Alexander Tatarinov, LW (2nd round, 53rd overall, Yaroslavl, Russia)
Status: NHL prospect
NHL games: 0

Alexander Tatarinov was drafted 53rd overall by the Coyotes after putting up solid numbers representing Russia in several international tournaments during the 1999-00 season. The undersized winger impressed scouts with his speed and excellent stickhandling, drawing comparisons to Sergei Fedorov prior to the draft.

Tatarinov has bounced all over Russia, playing for several Super League squads over the past five seasons. Unfortunately his numbers have been well below those of a serious NHL prospect and his playing time has suffered because of his inability to stick with one team. Tatarinov, 23, remains an NHL prospect but must gain experience playing in North America if he ever hopes to make an NHL roster.

Ramzi Abid, LW (3rd round, 85th overall, Halifax, QMJHL)
Status: NHL player
NHL games: 49

Ramzi Abid re-entered the NHL draft in 2000 after being selected 28th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 1998. Abid posted great numbers playing for Halifax of the QMJHL during the 1999-00 season and the Coyotes liked him enough to pick him up in the third round, 85th overall.

Abid made his professional debut in 2000-01 playing for the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. Injuries limited the big winger to 17 games with the Falcons, but he did manage to score 10 points. The following season Abid took advantage of an increased role with Springfield, posting 43 points in 66 games. The speedy winger made the most of an NHL call-up during the 2002-03 season. Abid appeared in 30 games for the Coyotes, scoring 18 points and solidifying himself as an NHL-caliber winger. In March of 2003 Abid was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with Dan Focht and Guillaume Lefebvre in exchange for Jan Hrdina and Francois Leroux.

Abid entered the 2003-04 campaign looking to become an offensive leader on the weak Penguins squad. Unfortunately he suffered a torn ACL 16 games into the season and missed the remainder of the year. A speedy and energetic forward with a nose for the net and good hands in close, Abid was a key contributor for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL this past season and seems to have fully recovered from a potentially career-ending injury.

Nate Kiser, D (5th round, 160th overall, Plymouth, OHL)
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Nate Kiser was selected by the Coyotes in the fifth round, 160th overall in 2000 as part of the deal that brought Sean Burke to Phoenix. A physical, hard-working defenseman, Kiser spent four seasons patrolling the blueline for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

Unable to secure a permanent roster spot with an AHL club, he’s plied his trade for the Dayton Bombers and South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL the past two seasons. Kiser, 23, is a defensive defenseman who sees occasional time on the power play but his days as a prospect are behind him.

Brent Gauvreau, RW (6th round, 186th overall, Oshawa, OHL)
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Brent Gauvreau was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fifth round, 120th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He re-entered the draft in 2000 after an impressive season with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League and the Coyotes selected him in the sixth round, 186th overall.

At 6’3, the Coyotes were expecting Gauvreau to develop into a productive power forward. Unfortunately he could never produce at the AHL level and was quickly relegated to the ECHL following his successful junior career. Gauvreau has bounced around quite a bit over the past five seasons, suiting up for nine different professional clubs over that time. He has put up solid numbers at the ECHL level and played well in Europe this past season but isn’t a legitimate NHL prospect.

Igor Samoilov, D (7th round, 217th overall, Yaroslavl, Russia)
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Igor Samoilov was picked by the Coyotes 217th overall in 2000. The undersized defenseman has spent the past five seasons playing in Russia and seems to lack the desire to make it to the NHL level.

Samoilov played for the Russian Red Army squad in 2000 and made a trip over to the United States to play a series of games against NCAA clubs. At this point it seems that’s the closest he’ll ever be to North American hockey.

Sami Venalainen, RW (8th round, 249th overall, Tappara Tampere, Finland)
Status: NHL prospect
NHL Games: 0

Sami Venalainen was drafted by the Coyotes 249th overall in 2001. At 5’11, 180, the undersized Finn impressed scouts with his excellent speed and stickhandling in open ice.

Venalainen has proven to be very durable despite his slight stature, appearing in over 50 games for Tappara Tampere each of the last four seasons. The talented winger led the club in scoring during the 2003-04 season with 33 points in 56 games, but saw his production drop this season playing against stiffer competition because of the NHL lockout. Venalainen seems content to play out his career in Europe and hasn’t made any mention of crossing the pond anytime soon. He’s still considered a prospect because of his offensive skills but the chances are extremely slim that he’ll ever bring them to the NHL stage.

Peter Fabus, C (9th round, 281st overall, Dukla Trencin, Slovakia)
Status: NHL bust
NHL Games: 0

Peter Fabus was selected in the ninth round, 281st overall, by the Coyotes in 2000. The following season he finished sixth in Slovakian league scoring, posting 53 points in 52 games.

Fabus made his North American debut at the end of the 2001-02 season, appearing in six games for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. He began 2002-03 with the Falcons and managed to put up decent numbers, 12 points in 33 games, before packing up and heading back to Slovakia. A talented center with good offensive instincts, it does not appear that Fabus will ever be returning to North American hockey.

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