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Florida Panthers 1st Round Draft History and Analysis

by Mark Fischel

They say sometimes good things happen to teams who have suffered long enough. After having a season in which the Panthers led the NHL in man-games lost due to injury, saw GM Bill Torrey and Coach Duane Sutter get fired and the arrival of the ultimate wildcard Mike Keenan, some would say this franchise has seen enough turmoil to last a few seasons.

But as bad things tend to happen to the Panthers, there is always something else to pile on top of the troubles. This year also saw the trade of Pavel Bure, whose indifferent attitude, lack of scoring, and his complete lack of effort in fitting into a coaches system or dressing room full of young players, led the Panthers to get whatever they can in a trade for a player making 10 Million dollars for the next two years.

So it is only fitting that with all the suffering of this year, that something positive would finally happen for the Florida Panthers, and that misery ended today with the Panthers locking up the first pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Instead of desiring a certain player and hoping he falls to where Florida is, this year the Panthers have the option to choose who they see will be the best player for the future of their franchise. But before examining this, let’s look at the Panthers first round history.

Looking Back at Florida’s 1st Round Draft Picks

1993: Robbie Niedermayer, 5th overall, Medicine Hat Tigers: Robbie made the jump to the NHL right after being drafted and he might have been rushed into the spotlight too soon. He didn’t get a chance to play Read more »

Halifax Mooseheads 2001-02 Season in Review

by Mike Simon

Halifax Mooseheads 2001-02 Season in Review

The Halifax Mooseheads season came to an end April 15th
in Cape Breton with a 6-3 loss to the Eagles in game 6
of their series. Cape Breton now advances to the Dilio
Conference finals against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

The Mooseheads finished the regular season with a
39-21-9-3 record. Placing them 2nd in the Dilio
Conference and 3rd overall in the QMJHL.

League Leaders –

The Mooseheads had several players among the QMJHL
league leaders over the season.

Jason King led the QMJHL and the CHL with 63 goals,
in 61 games.

Brandon Benedict finished 2nd in the QMJHL among +/-
leaders with a +41, in 71 games. With Louis Mandeville,
Jason King and Milan Jurcina Right behind him also with

Dany Dallaire warped up his QMJHL career finishing
with the 2nd best save percentage in the QMJHL .9150 in
66 games played with a 35-23-8 record.

Jason King led the league with 10 Hat Tricks.

Statistical review –

Goals Scored – Jason King 63
Brandon Benedict 33
Sergei Klyazmin 24
Robbie Sutherland 24

Assists – Brandon Benedict 48
Louis Mandeville 46
Sergei Klyazmin 37
Jason King 36

Points – Jason King 99 (61 games)
Brandon Benedict 81 (71 games) Read more »

Sabres Report: The Tee Times

by Ken McKenna

Inside of many hockey players is a frustrated golfer. Or you would think that based on the number of players who hit the links in their spare time.

In their first 25 years of existence, the Buffalo Sabres did their part to bolster the hockey-golf connection, with the team regularly scheduling tee times in mid-to-late April as a result of early elimination from the playoffs, or, less regularly, due simply to a failure to make the post-season party.

The Sabres of recent vintage have had a little less time to enjoy the great outdoors, given their extended playoff runs in 4 of the past 5 post-seasons. That run of good fortune will come to an end this year, however, as the club will find itself in the uncustomary position of missing the playoffs altogether. A late-season surge by the Sabres was simply not enough to overcome a season of mediocre (or worse) performances, with the team officially being eliminated in the final week of the 01-02 season.

Perhaps as a show of solidarity, the majority of Buffalo’s North American prospects have hung up their skates for the summer, as well. The golf courses of North America will seemingly be littered with hockey players and coaches who list the Sabres as their employer or affiliate.

For starters, the Sabres’ minor league club, the Rochester Americans, barely got their undergarments wet, as they q Read more »

Pre-draft profile – Tomas Fleischmann

by Ivana Paulova

You have probably never heard this name before but this is no reason to be alarmed. It is simply because this young Czech prospect has been shaded by all these excellent 84 born players. But this does not mean he is any lesser player than they are moreover bear in mind that Tomas is worth your attention not only for his on ice but also for his off ice qualities. Currently he is a member of the Czech team on the U-18 Championship.

Tomas comes from a hockey family so there was never any doubt what sport would Tomas choose. His dad and even his granddad were hockey players and devoted their lives to this beloved game. Tomas’ mother was actually the one who took Tomas to the public skating rink and at the age of 5 he made his first hockey steps there. At the age of 6 he started to play hockey for his hometown team in Koprivnice. Playing for 2 categories at the same time helped Tomas a lot. But in the 7th grade Koprivnice dropped from the Extraleague to the second highest league. So that he could play with the top players he needed to change teams. He was given offers from Zlin and Vitkovice. He decided to go to Vitkovice because they could offer him better conditions and also Vitkovice are closer to Koprivnice then Zlin is. This season was Tomas’ 5th one in the jersey of HC Vitkovice and he is glad that he chose to go there. In the near future he does not plan any changes.

Tomas was lucky enough to have a great deal of support from his family. He was a forward right from the start of his career as he says: “My dad and granddad were forwards so I did not want t Read more »

HF Interviews Norfolk’s Enforcer Shawn Thornton

by Corine Gatti

A banner posted at the Norfolk Scope is stained with acrylics that read the words: Shawn Thornton Enforcing 55. There is no doubt that sweater number 55 has become one of the Norfolk Admirals primary enforcer with his 281 penalty minutes since his trade from the St. John Maple Leafs in September. However, the road traveled has not been easy for the 25 year-old.

And this past regular season remained inchoate for Thornton, who remains a favorite among fans and local radio stations in Norfolk. But comparisons were immediately made due to the same playing style and an uncanny physique between him and former Admiral Aaron Downey. The buzz around the arena welcomed him instead of the banner that is now a backdrop to his performances on home ice. Thornton, who is also nicknamed, Sugar Shawn from his Junior League days, is tired of the comparisons of the former captain and verbally stresses that he is his own man.

We spent time with Ontario native after the teams practice before the best of five series against the Hershey Bears Friday night. The winger bruiser still damped-faced, came to the interview with a tan baseball cap, answering questions faster than he gets thrown in to the penalty box.

HF: Take us to the most significant date of career.

ST: It was when I was on the golf course with my friends and I got a call from my agent that Toronto drafted me in the seventh round. [Grinning] I didn’t believe him at first.

HF: Was hockey always your dream as kid?

ST: It is every kids dream in Canada to play professional hockey. It is a lifestyl Read more »

Interview with Arthur Femenella

by Megan Sexton

A big thanks to Arthur Femenella for taking the time to chat with Tampa Bay Lightning Editor, Megan Sexton.
Congratulations to Arthur and the Sioux City Musketeers, who shut out Sioux Falls in the first round of the USHL playoffs,
3-0 and Good Luck to the Muskies in Round 2!

MS – The Musketeers have had a strong season this year. What role did you play in their success?

AF – I played the role of the physical defense. I am always paired against #1 line on the other team. It’s usually my job to
shut down goal scorers. I think I did that pretty well.

MS – Your penalty minutes dropped significantly since last season, are you doing anything different?

AF – I think I am concentrating on being more physical between the whistles.

MS – Has that allowed you to focus more on your offense?

AF – I am spending a lot less time in the box, which opens up more opportunities on ice

MS – Last year you led the league in major’s, yet this year you’re not even in the top 5. Have you found guys less
willing to go, now that they know you’re the real deal?

AF – I think that’s a good way of putting it, there are only so many times that a guy is going to stand up to you.

MS – How important is your reputation as a tough guy?< Read more »

Sound Tigers Shutout Moose

by Bill Drake

Three quick penalties put the Moose in the driver’s seat for the first 8 minutes of the game. Rick DiPietro was tested early but controlled the rebounds stopping the 12 shots thrown at him in the first period.

“We came out a little edgy,” said Jason Krog.

“We weathered the storm,” said coach Steve Stirling of the early penalty kills. “Ricky really made three or four very good saves in traffic.”

On the penalty kill, DiPietro showed a quick glove hand and the ability to move and see through screens.

“Its always tough to take penalties off the bat” said DiPietro, “I think were real fortunate to kill off the power plays and go from there.”

And the Sound Tigers did go. The line of Raffi Torres, Justin Mapletoft and Dave Roche came out at even strength with energy and hard checks.

“I think that line was a huge lift,” said Stirling, “between energy and strength down low, they got things going and set the pace five-on-five.”

That line brought the energy while the Krog-Juraj Kolnik- Trent Hunter line brought the goals, combining for four of Bridgeport’s five goals.

Kolnik started the scoring sneaking behind the Manitoba defense and knocking in a Krog centering feed at 17:11.

Hunter shot the puck off Alfie Michaud’s shoulder two minutes later to put the Sound Tigers up by two goals after the first period.

“I would’ve been happy nothing-nothing,” said Stirling, “but getting one then two puts you over the top.”

Bridgeport built on the lead in the second period when at 5:10 Justin Mapletoft scored the f Read more »

Canuck Stats Update

by Kirk Pedersen

1. Allen, Bryan (D). Drafted: ’98 (1/4)

Vancouver (NHL) 11 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 6 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) 68 GP, 7 G, 18 A, 25 P, 125 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL)(Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 6 PIM.

2. Umberger, R.J. (C). Drafted: ’01 (1/16)

Ohio State (CCHA) 37 GP, 18 G, 21 A, 39 P

3. Smith, Nathan (C). Drafted: ’00 (1/23)

Swift Current (WHL) 47 GP, 22 G, 38 A, 60 P, 52 PIM.
Swift Current (WHL) (Play-offs) 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 P, 19 PIM.

4. Vydareny, Rene (D). Drafted: ’99 (3/69)

Manitoba (AHL) 61 GP, 3 G, 11 A, 14 P, 15 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) (Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 0 PIM.
Columbia (ECHL) 10 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 9 PIM.

5. Auld, Alex (G). Acquired through trade with Florida (2001)

Manitoba (AHL) 21 GP, 11 W, 9 L, 0 T, 3.53 GAA, .881 SV%
Manitoba (AHL)(Play-offs) DNP
Columbia (ECHL) 6 GP, 3 W, 1 L, 2 T, 1.92 GAA, .927 SV%

6. Reid, Brandon (C). Drafted: ’00 (7/208)

Manitoba (AHL) 60 GP, 18 G, 19 A, 37 P, 6 PIM.
Manitoba (AHL) (Play-offs) 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 0 PIM.

7. Gladsikh, Evgeny (LW). Drafted: ’01 (4/114)

Mettalurg (RUS) 32 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 11 P, 6 PIM.
Mettalurg (RUS)(Play-offs) 4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 4 PIM.

8. Barrett, Nathan (C). Drafted: ’00 (8/241)

Lethbridge (WHL) 72 GP, 45 G, 62 A, 107 P, 100 PIM. Read more »

Hockey’s Future 2002 Draft Center Launched!

by HF Staff

Hockey’s Future is excited to announce the launch of our 2002 Draft Center, a project that has been in the making for the last 7 months. The look and feel of this year’s edition has taken a slightly different look, and we hope that the new additions make it much more enjoyable for all. Some of the new features are as follows:

Articles pertaining to the draft are now displayed in the middle of the draft center, and we reposted all of the interviews with this year’s top prospects. Some of them were done in the beginning of the season, but in case you missed them, they are there for your enjoyment. We also plan to use this article function to relay draft news, post mock drafts from readers and our staff, and articles from other various topics.

At the top-right of the Draft Center, useful links can be found to be used as a quick reference and info center. Complete stats compiled by Paul MacDonald for the North American CSB ranked players will be updated on a regular basis, and European stats will be posted soon as well. The link to the “prospects and mock draft board” is also conveniently located here as well, as well as the link to the long awaited re-launching of HF’s Chat Room. Also located in this section as well is the “NHL Entry Draft FAQ’s”, a one-stop place to answer all those questions that are common knowledge, but easily forgotten. If you haven’t read through them yet, you will find that is full of good information for the novice or the guru.

In addition, Hockey’s Future has the players ranked by position and l Read more »

Hab prospects’ year-end review (part 1)

by pbadmin

Mike Komisarek -D (Drafted-01(1/7))

Michigan’s Komisarek entered this past season with a question mark attached to his offensive ability. No one questioned the 6’4″, 230-lbs defenseman’s strength, size or commitment. The overlying concern remained whether or not he could contribute offensively, despite the fact that his freshman numbers were comparable to those put up by fellow Hab draft pick Ron Hainsey in his freshman season.

Komisarek was aware of the need to step up his offense. Although he didn’t burn up the league, he still rose to the challenge on his way to registering 30 points (11-19-30) through 40 games. He was one of only two sophomores to be named a CCHA All-Conference first team all-star, and finished the season with the second-best point total among CCHA defenseman during intra-conference play.

Another testament to the Islip Terrace native’s strong intra-conference play was his plus/minus, as he finished with the top rating among CCHA defenseman during league games. Overall, his plus-23 rating was good enough for a third-place tie among his teammates.

The move to offense wasn’t made at the sacrifice of Komisarek’s defensive play. In fact, he was named the CCHA’s top defensive defenseman as he helped lead Michigan to the regular season championship. He was also named the league’s top defensive player for the week ending November 25th.

Komisarek participated in the World Junior Championship with team USA over the Christmas holidays. The US finished 5th in the tournament with a 4-1-2 record, as the 20-year-old Read more »

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