In the press conference announcing Ivan Hlinka as the new Pens head
coach, Ivan talked about needing to get a little bigger at both the
forward and defensive positions. It didn’t take very long for the new
coach to have an impact on the draft as the Pens stocked up on tough,
gritty, hard hitting players.
For only the 3rd time in the 11 drafts that Craig Patrick has presided
over, the Pens took a non-European player in the first round (the others: Chris Wells 94 and Craig Hillier 96) when they drafted hard
hitting Boston College defenseman Brooks Orpik with the 18th overall
selection. The Pens were so sure that Orpik would be drafted before
their selection that they didn’t even conduct a pre-draft interview with
him. The Pens, however, were thrilled that he was around to select as
he was a unanimous selection at the draft table.
The Pens have needed a strong physical defenseman ever since Ulf
Samuelsson was traded to the Rangers in 1995 and they could have that in
Orpik. His hard-hitting style is likely to make him an immediate fan
favorite. The Pens were sold on his talent at the NCAA Western Regional
Final when he was paired against #2 pick Dany Heatley.
Orpik still has two years left at Boston College and the Pens aren’t known
as a team that pressures kids to leave school early. Orpik seems to
love the college atmosphere and it’s a good bet he’ll stay at BC for at
least another year.
Pens 2000 Draft Pick Profiles
Brooks Orpik, D Boston College (Hockey East)
Hard hitting defenseman with a mean streak. Clears the front of the net
effectively. Very good skater with excellent agility. Offensive upside
is limited and needs to make better decisions with the puck. Will be a
fan favorite because of his aggressive style of play.
Shane Endicott, F Seattle (WHL)
Another big, strong player.
Excellent on faceoffs. Works hard in front of the
net and in the corners. Only considered an average skater, which is why
he’s a 2nd
rounder and not a 1st….but is very strong on his skates. Still a
solid pick in the 2nd round. Named Seattle’s Most Sportsmanlike Player
for the 1998-99 season. Had an assist for Team Cherry in the CHL Top
Peter Hamerlik, G Slovakia
Was a possible first rounder last year, but struggled with
his play and confidence and dropped to the 3rd round. Was injured in
the U18 World Championships, but returned as a backup. If he can regain his confidence, he could be a steal
in the 3rd round. Drafted by Kingston in the CHL Import draft last
Michel Ouellet, RW Rimouski
Scored 36 goals and 53 assists in 72 games for the Memorial Cup Champs.
I’m assuming that the Pens saw a lot of him when they went to see G
Sebastian Caron. He also had a goal and 2 assists in 4 Memorial Cup
games and 4 goals and 5 assists in 14 games in the QMJHL playoffs. Pens
believe he’s a real sleeper pick at this point in the draft.
David Koci, D Sparta Praha (Czech)
6-6 , 216
Listed among the top 20 Czech players
eligible by Hockey’s Future. 7 assists and 124 PIM in 47 games for the
Sparta Praha Jr team. A project. Pens believe that he could be a part
of the Czech World Jr. Team next season. Intrigued by his combination
of size and skating ability
Patrick Foley, LW New Hampshire (HE)
3 goals, 7 assists
in 30 games for New Hampshire. Spent the 98-99 season with the US
National Development team. Went to St Sebastian’s Prep School for 3
years for High School. Described as a hard nosed, gritty forward. Hits
like a truck and isn’t afraid to take on any player. Most of his points
will come from around the net. Was a freshman at NH, so he’ll have time
to develop the rest of his game. Needs to work on his hockey sense and
vision on the ice.
Jim Abbott, LW New Hampshire (HE)
Local product out
of Mars, PA (North Catholic and North Allegheny High Schools). Scored 7
goals with 6 assists in 25 games as a Freshman for NH. Also had 22
PIMs. Played for St Louis in the US Junior League out of high school.
Improved his skating over the past year to move himself into a position
to be drafted. Considered a very smart hockey player.
This is one kid who is just excited to be a member of the organization.
Steve Crampton, RW Moose Jay (WHL)
Ranked 65th among NA skaters. Hard-nosed, gritty winger. Has shown
consistent improvement over the past few years. Scored 22 goals with 20
assists in 69 games this season for a very young Moose Jaw squad. Also,
3 assists on 4 playoff games.
Roman Simicek, C, HPK Hameenlinna (Fin)
29-year-old European professional. Recommended to the scouting staff by head
coach Ivan Hlinka. Strong 2-way forward. Solid on faceoffs. Will
probably be at training camp and a good bet to get a long look towards
making the squad next season. Brought in to shore up center depth.
Nick Boucher, G Darthmouth (ECAC)
Started regularly as a
freshman behind a very leaky defense at Dartmouth. 7-7-2 with a 2.79
GAA and .912 ScPct in 24 games in the ECAC this year. Was ranked 6th in
both GAA and SvPct in the ECAC. Pens scouts believe that he’s a solid
prospect that will only get better facing as many shots as he will in
the coming seasons.