Hawks need the draft and their picks to yield players

By Bill Placzek

With SIX picks in the first 4 rounds there is ample opportunity to fortify
the team at all positions.
Unfortunately, the draftable players no longer are hidden by an Iron Curtain
or left unscouted, so the gems the Wings unearthed in the days where Euros
and Russians were an afterthought are past.

This draft may have a large second tier of talent, picks #5-12. The Hawks
will possibly be picking twice there. The ample number of six picks in four
rounds will allow them to get several chances at rebuilding.
Unfortunately Dale Tallon ( the guy who sold Bob Murray on Michal Sykora as
the main piece of the Ed Belfour trade) is the guy they sent to Europe.
You trust his judgement? I don’t.
So GM Smith is working on whatever he has put together in a short time, with
friendly assessments from non-Hawk staff, and the “expert” opinions of the
“organEYEzation.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to trade picks # 10 & 11 to an
expansion team for the chance to pick goalie DiPietro. Expansion teams want
quantity, and still would get quality with this draft’s even playing field.
That is of course if DiPietro lasts until pick #3.

Martin Samuelsson is getting an unwarranted rap from The Hockey News draft
issue and other places. He is very quick and crafty for a big man and fills
a need with the Hawks initially as a third line player who has major upside
as a power player. I don’t care what The Hockey News draft issue says; he is
a guy who projects as a possible scoring wing.

The Hawks must be praying for a defensemen like the Duck’s Visnhnevski
to fall there way: a guy who will play soon, skates with anyone in the bigs,
sticks his nose in on every play, stays in on every play, and makes
the big up ice pass. I would be very happy with a passing-rusher on the blue
line like Lars Jonsson or a tough banger like Orpik…or BOTH!
Or are the Jason York for a #1 pick rumors true?

Anyone think an expansion team might draft Valeri Kamensky, Sergei
Nemchinov, Jason Wooley, Lyle Odelin, or Dallas Drake and then try and get a
#1 in the draft for them from a needy team like the Blackhawks?
It is a little tough with the unrestricted guys, because as of July 1st, they
can go anywhere and the team trading a #1 is left with a compensatory #2 next
year. The actual expansion draft is before the amateur draft so any such
deal would probably require the pick to be traded for a player to be turned
over a day after they are selected, or no prospect transfer until the new
team actually acquires the established player in question. Looks like many
teams have forged pre draft deals that encourage Minny and Columbus to take
players already agreed upon.
I know I am stirring the draft and expansion pot so the soup is spilling
over, but isn’t that what all hometown fans do? As Princess Leia said,
“You’re my only hope!”

Scratch another Hawk draftee from their future. Big Peter Gardiner of RPI
has signed with Columbus as the Hawks chose not to offer him a contract.
A diabetic who has battled the disease since he was 12, he is light years away
from skating at the NHL level. He did crack my Hawks Top 20 Prospects but that
was more due to the lack of quality in the cupboard.

The signing of Erasmo Saltarelli to a contract (that the Blackhawks as usual
didn’t release the terms for) raises food for thought. Saltarelli stands
5’10, weighs 185 pounds, catches with the left hand and was born on 2/20/74
in Montreal. His name is pronounced Ee-Rass-mo Salta-RELL-ee. Saltarelli
played in 29 games with the BC Icemen of the UHL last season, going 16-9-4
with a .903 save percentage. He also appeared in 2 games with Springfield of
the AHL, going 0-1-0 but obtaining a .930 save percentage. The year before
that he spent most of the season with Chesapeake of the ECHL, going 8-11-5 with
a 3.12 GAA and a .904 save percentage, and was 1-1-1 with a 3.61 GAA in six
games with Tallahassee of the ECHL. Saltarelli attended college at Princeton,
appearing in 73 games, obtaining a 29-24-11 record and a 2.97 goals against.
He set school records for wins, saves, goals against average, save percentage
and shutouts. He also won the 1941 trophy for leadership and team spirit and
was named All Ivy League goalie. He led Princeton to the 1998 ECAC
championship and won all tournament honors.

Is he the new Hawk back-up with no NHL experience or just a second goalie
to add to the unprotected who has some pro experience?
Up until this signing, only Marc Lamothe is eligible. The Hawks
squabbled the entire year with Cleveland ownership, with one of the battles
being let Lamothe play. When Lamothe was the only uninjured goalie Cleveland
actively pursued others to fill the gap, showing no confidence in him. Hawks
then “showed” them and quickly dispatched lil Todd White, when he moaned of
his minor league exile, and dumped crybaby Dumont to further leave Cleveland
barren. The reason you sign a 27 year old goalie is because you think he can
contribute SOON at the major league level as a back up. I don’t think
Eraserhead will have to wait long for a baptism, because I don’t see the
Hawks spending $ for a quality back-up after their success they had with scooping
Passmore out of the metal mines (minors).

Here is a rundown of the Hawk picks this 2000 draft.


Round Pick From For

1st 10th Own
1st 11th Vancouver 1999 first round pick
2nd Own
4th Own
4th Anaheim Marty McInnis
4th* LA Kings Steve Passmore
6th Own
7th Own
7th Washington 1999 ninth round pick
8th Own
9th Own
9th Philadelphia Rights to use Mark Janssens as expansion fodder

* = either the 2000 or 2001 draft, a decision has not been made at this time.

(Next time, I will cover the approximate slots of all Hawk picks prior to the
addition of the supplemental picks that are not yet added)