Although more and more German players have been selected in recent NHL entry drafts, only a few experts would have suggested that a total of four German players would be among the draftees this year. Timo Pielmeier and Denis Reul were expected to be among those European players who would find NHL teams at the draft, but Sebastian Stefaniszin and especially Robert Dietrich, who did not appear in the CSS rankings, were among the surprises of the 2007 Entry Draft.
Timo Pielmeier, G
83rd overall by San Jose
5’11, 172 lbs
Pielmeier was ranked 10th among European goalies on the CSS Final European Rankings. Pielmeier was born in Deggendorf, Bavaria, Germany, where he also started his career. Pielmeier’s outstanding talent was detected soon and he was always considered to be a potential player for a team in North America. In 2004 he was transferred to the Mannheim Junior Eagles. In 2004-05 Pielmeier and his team won the DNL (German Prospect League). Since the age of 14, Pielmeier was always part of the German National Junior teams. Only one year later in 2005 he was transferred from Mannheim to the Cologne (Koln) Jr. Sharks. He was part of the German National Team in the WJC U18 tournament in 2006. In 2007 Cologne Jr. Sharks won the DNL Championship with an outstanding performance by Pielmeier. At only 17 years of age, he was part of the German National Team at WJC U20 tournament in 2007.
Pielmeier shows fine positioning and has by far the best puck-handling abilities among German junior goalies. The Sharks have added another great German goalie talent after choosing Dmitri Patzold (4th round, #107 overall, 2001) and Thomas Greiss (3rd round, #94 overall, 2004).
Sebastian Stefaniszin, G
98th overall by Anaheim Ducks
6’0, 190 lbs
Sebastian Stefaniszin was born in Berlin and started his career with the Berlin Polar Bear Juniors. In 2005 he was playing for Team Germany in the WJC U18 tournament. In 2005-06 he had his first three games for the Polar Bears DEL (Germany Elite League) team.
Like Pielmeier, he was part of the 2007 WJC U20 German team, where he showed some extraordinary performances, like against the US team. He finished the tournament with a 2.81 GAA and a save percentage of .909.
Denis Reul, D
130th overall by Boston Bruins
6′ 4, 214 lbs
Reul was ranked 16th among European Skaters on the CSS Final Rankings. He was part of the Mannheim Junior Eagles, DNL champs in 2005 and 2006. Reul plays for the Heilbronn Falcons, a German Oberliga team (3rd League, but did qualify for the 2nd League in 2007-08 season). Reul joined the German team for the U18 world championships in 2006. The 6’4 and 213-pounder could develop into a solid defensive defender. Next to his physical presence on the ice, Reul can be used in a variety of situations and combines good passing and shooting abilities. If Reul performs well within the next two years and he works out his body to NHL standards, he could be ready to challenge for a spot.
Although the Bruins have signed Marco Sturm to a multi-year contract, Reul is the first German player drafted in Bruins history.
Robert Dietrich, D
174th overall by Nashville Predators
5′ 10", 172 lbs
The sixth-round choice of the Predators was a real surprise. The nearly 21-year-old Dietrich was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, and started his career with several Bavarian teams of the DNL and the Oberliga (3rd League). He was part of the German U18 and U20 team and represented his country in several WJC and WJC Division 1 tournaments.
Dietrich already played for several DEL and 2nd League teams like Nurnberg Ice Tigers, ETCC Crimmitschau, EHC Straubing and his recent team the Dusseldorfer EG. Dietrich proved his talent in DEL action, where he had 3 goals and 19 assists for Dusseldorf in the 2006-07 season and at the 2007 World Cup in which he scored 2 goals and 2 assists in only 6 games. At 5’10 and 172 lbs, Dietrich has great skating abilities and fine puck and stick-handling abilities.
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