Swiss top prospects for the 2005 draft

By Urs Berger

In the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, four Swiss players were selected. Julien Sprunger was the first selected, at 117th overall, by the Minnesota Wild. In 2005, the Swiss crop is less strong, but here are three who may be chosen.

Alessandro Chiesa, D
Ht: 6’3 Wt: 208 DOB: Feb 1, 1987

Alessandro Chiesa had a solid season in 2004-05, splitting time between 1st league club Ambri-Piotta and the 3rd league club Bellinzona. He had eight goals and 11 assists in 26 games with Ambri-Junior. At the U18, where Switzerland was relegated, he was the best defender on a shaky defense. But without him, Switzerland would have lost in more dramatic fashion.

Chiesa sees the open spots and shoots often. He helps the goaltender by blocking shots. One on one he is solid and does not let wingers pass by him easily. His skating and power in his legs are good and he has good awareness of the ice. He sometimes is a little bit too selfish and goes end to end by himself.

Chiesa is expected to play for the EHC Chur (2nd League) and partly with the HC Lugano in 2005-06. He has to get used to more ice time and earn more confidence from the coach.

Janick Steinmann, F
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 187 DOB: Feb 10, 1987

Janick Steinmann played 36 games with Zug Jr in Switzerland, scoring nine goals and 19 assists, and was one of the best Swiss players at the U18. In the 1st league he played for Zug but didn’t secure a roster place.

Steinmann skates well, is quick in transition, makes good choices, but is not a willing combatant in the corners. Steinmann does well at faceoffs and has a good and hard shot. He is good both ways and sees the ice well. But he lacks self confidence and looks too many times for a better positioned player. He needs more ice time to develop into a better player.

Steinmann is expected to spend the next season in the 2nd divison in Switzerland with Olten. If his development approves he will be able to get a spot in the 1st Division with the EV Zug.

Adrien Lauper, W
Ht: 6’2 Wt: 189 DOB: Aug 14, 1987

Adrien Lauper was on the roster for the 2nd Division Club HC La Chaux-de-fonds. He didn’t make the team and he played for Fribourg-Gotteron in their junior team. He was a team leader, but needs more practice with the seniors. He played at the U18 quite well.

Lauper has good size and he uses his body well. He likes to hit and does not duck from a challenge. He is good at holding onto position in front of the net and plays well defensively.

Another year or so with the juniors is expected. If he has a good start to the season, he can move up to play in the 2nd League in Switzerland for the HC La Chaux-de-fondx. He needs experience with senior hockey to develop.

Honorable Mention

Viktor Stancescu, LW

Reto Berra, G

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