2000-2001 USHL Top Prospects List
The Keys to the Offensive Engine
Offense is just one thing that wins hockey games. Solid D and great goaltending can steal games by themselves alone, however if you can’t score you aren’t going to win many games. The USHL, which is considered by many to be the top Junior Hockey League around, sends truckloads of young stars to the Collegiate ranks every year. Many of them continue their rise to stardom. Below is a list of 15 of the top offensive players in the USHL in my opinion and in no particular order. They are comprised of scorers, grinders, playmakers and all around superstars. Any one of these players has the chance of going on to the promised land of the NHL.
1. Chris Fournier – Lincoln Stars
We’ll start things off with the top scorer in the league this season. Chris Fournier is not big by any means, but he plays bigger than his opponents night in and night out. Fournier put up monster numbers this season scoring 26 goals and 57 assists for a league leading 83 points. Chris is a thorn in the opponents side at all times, as the hard work never stops. Fournier is a gutsy player who does not let size intimidate him, as he will skate around his opponent or fake him out of his breezers, whatever he needs to do to get him where he is going. Chris is property of the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota and they are excited to have him coming to town next season.
2. Doug Meyer – Des Moines Buccaneers Read more »
Since 1994 the Czech Under-18 teams have been waiting for medal success. Even this year
they finished out of the medal ranks. It is said that the 1983 birth year isn’t so good in the Czech
Republic and top prospects like Ales Hemsky or Lukas Krajicek are playing overseas, but this
team wasn’t shaky in any way. The team showed his spirit in the 5-4 penalty shots win over
Team USA in the quarterfinals. The Russians were the clear champions. But the other teams,
the Czech team including, played very solid games. Of course, every team is as good as the players
are. And there were quality players on the Czech roster. Here’s a review of the play
of every Czech player at the Under-18 WJC.
Was supposed to be the backup but won the starting role. Even if he gave up 8 goals in the
first contest, he proved that he is a confident goalie with good reflexes. In the
quaterfinal game was replaced by Martin Laska, but the goals weren’t only his fault. However,
his chances to be drafted remain quite low.
Played well in the quarterfinal game and was the hero of the penalty shots contest. Just like
Kopriva he was doomed by the Russian forwards in the semifinals, but showed that he can carry
the team when neeeded and that he can make the big save. Moved into the final CSB list.
Defensemen – surprises
Petr Puncochar Read more »
Well, this season for the Vancouver Canucks was one of new beginnings. The Canucks embarked on a new journey when they set up shop in Sweden for the 2000-01 Training Camp. The NHL was all buzzing about the heirs to the Canucks future, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The Twins had become a staple for new, hopeful beginnings in Vancouver.
The Camp began on an up-note as Markus Naslund was chosen by coach Marc Crawford as his new Captain. Reporters in Vancouver openly questioned this decision, they figured that Markus was a good few years away from taking a serious leadership stance on a young hockey club. This stance was most likely taken because Naslund had demanded a trade out of Vancouver only two short years previous to this season, and was almost traded, to Anaheim of all teams.
Going into Camp, the Canucks signed free-agent Johan Davidsson, I guess I figured he’d be a fixture on the Canucks lower third or fourth lines this season, possibly replacing Matt Cooke. Boy was I wrong. Davidsson stayed in Sweden after Cooke had his best camp to date, solidifying his spot on this team for the forseeable future. A lot of players, namely Artem Chubarov and Josh Holden, stayed back in Vancouver to work out at 8-Rinks Ice Arena, instead of going to Sweden with the rest of the gang.
After a few days in Sweden, the Canucks defeated MoDo and Djugarden and headed back home to start the exhibition season. After a rather poor exhibition season, the Canucks embarked upon their thirtieth campaign to a chorus of high expectations. Having narrowly miss Read more »
Since this projected to be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory the Oilers are in the driver’s seat so to speak. From the trade the Oilers have moved up 6 spots in the first round from 19th to 13th pick overall which does not sound significant but the talent seems to drop off a little after the 15th pick. Now the Kevin Lowe and Kevin Prendergast have a few options to mull over before draft day in June.
The ramifications of this decision could directly affect the future of this team over the next 2-3 years.
The first and most basic decision would be to hang on to the 13th pick and draft the best player available at that spot or a draft for need depending on player still on the board. With the extra pick in the second round they will be able to fill their stable for the future and have the problem of depth. With this particular choice they might be able to fill all the organizations needs on the farm team since the lack of depth at the goaltending and center positions are apparent, with offensive defenseman rounding out the three.
There is hope that if they stay at the 13th pick that one player from each position needed that they covet will drop a couple spots. Three possible defenseman may peak a lot of interest if they fall and in no particular order Michigan’s Mike Komisarek, Windsor’s Tim Gleason and Ryan Whitney from the U.S. developmental team. Obviously both goaltenders Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire would be taken without hesitation and couple centers may slide down little because of maneuvering higher in the draft. Two intriguing cen Read more »
The Kings still have several prospects playing collegiately. Here is an update on some of them:
Noah Clarke- Colorado College- The diminutive Clarke had another solid season. The California native had 12 goals and 20 assiss in 41 games as a sophomore. Clarke’s size appears to be his biggest potential downfall.
Jim Henkel- RPI- Henkel has shown promise. Jim had 11 goals and 19 assists in 34 games for Renselaar. The junior forward has good size and has shown improvements in his game.
George Parros- Princeton- Parros is among the most intriguing prospects for the Kings. He is huge- 6’5″, 215 pounds and has improved his game over the last season. He had 7 goals, 10 assists and was a +5. Parros had 44 penalty minutes, including 19 minor penalties. Keep your eye on his progress.
Matthew Yeats – Maine- Yeats’s was the starting goaltender for the Black Bears for the entire season. He went an impressive 18-9-4 with a 2.40 GAA. His save percentage was a little low- .897. Yeats has the potential to be an NHL goalie and has shown he can prosper in a big-time college program.
Jason Crain- Ohio State- Jason Crain was once considered among the top prospects for the Kings, and still is, although he has struggled at times over the last two seasons. Crain had only 2 goals and 6 assists and was a -6. Crain’s game has not progressed at the pace many thought it would, but his promise is undeniable.
Jay Kopischke- Notre Dame- Jay is a physical player whose skills are not maximized by the college game, but Read more »
CSS Rankings Provided Courtesy of NHL.com
Central Scouting Service Final Rankings
North American Forwards and Defensemen
Rank Player (Previous Rank) Team Birthdate HT WT Pos Shot
1 Spezza, Jason (1) Windsor 13-Jun-83 6'2 214 C R
2 Hamhuis, Dan (3) Prince George 13-Dec-82 6'0 ½ 195 D L
3 Weiss, Stephen (2) Plymouth 03-Apr-83 5'11 ½ 178 C L
4 Komisarek, Mike (9) U of Michigan 19-Jan-82 6'4 225 D R
5 Umberger, R.J. (4) Ohio State 03-May-82 6'2 200 C L
6 Krajicek, Lukas (16) Peterborough 11-Mar-83 6'1 ½ 183 D L
7 Milroy, Duncan (5) Swift Current 08-Feb-83 6'0 180 RW R
8 Armstrong, Colby (15) Red Deer 23-Nov-82 6'1 ½ 180 RW R
9 Hemsky, Ales (11) Hull 13-Aug-83 6'0 170 RW R
10 Colaiacovo, Carlo (12) Erie 27-Jan-83 6'1 184 D L
11 Popovic, Mark (8) Toronto-St. Mike's 11-Oct-82 6'1 ½ 194 D L
12 Gleason, Tim (10) Windsor 29-Jan-83 6'0 ½ 199 D L
13 Woywitka, Jeff (17) Red Deer 01-Sep-83 6'2 ½ 197 D L
14 Watson, Greg (14) Prince Albert 02-Mar-83 6'1 ½ 177 C L
15 Bell, Brendan (19) Ottawa 31-Mar-83 6'1 198 Read more »
He’s the only player who’s captured the Calder Cup, taken the Turner Cup, manhandled the Memorial Cup and sipped from the Stanley Cup.
In his seven years in Chicago as a member of the Chicago Wolves, Young has achieved a comfortable level of celebrity.
And as a member of Wolves, league champions last season and in 1998, he gets to experience perks the rest of us can only write and read about.
“I got to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game,” said Young.
“Last year, four of us sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch.
“Before the game, we were behind home plate with the Turner Cup. They introduced all of us, gave a bit of a bio and the place was going crazy. It’s amazing the amount of people that knew us.
“Stuff like that makes it pretty cool.”
Besides his two Turner Cups, Young has won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a Calder Cup American Hockey League championship with the Hershey Bears in 1988, and a Memorial Cup major junior title with the Kitchener Rangers in 1982.
Young is the only player in hockey history to win all four titles.
“The guys that are really good hockey players will never get a chance to do it, because they’ll never play in the minors,” said Young.
“I was bad enough to play in the minors, good enough to play in the NHL, then bad enough to play in the minors again.
“Overall, how lucky was I to be on so many teams? … Whatever my talent level is, you could have that Read more »
The Czech Republic team looked to be in serious trouble after the preliminary round. They lost
the last game against Germany and this surprise caused them this trouble. They wanted to face
the third placed team of the Group A, but with a third place they had to play against the
second best team of the Group A. And this team was the USA squad. As usual, the Americans play
an aggresive in-your-face style of game, with lots of shooting and hitting. The Czech team,
used to the style of passing and passing, could have problems with the American style. But
the guys were motivated enough to beat the US guys and advance to the fight for a medal, which
would mean a great success.
The US team, where most of the team will not opt-in for this year’s draft, boasts a lot of
future NHLers. The names of Eric Nystrom, Jason Ryznar, Brian McConnell or smallish Dwight Helminen will be
soon the names to remember. The most outstanding star is Ryan Whitney, a player who could be
a top 10 pick if he opts in either in 2001 or 2002.
And the USA team stormed on the Czechs. They were very good in front
of Miroslav Kopriva in the net for the Czech Republic, where they tried to deflect and rebound
the shots. This led to two quick goals after five minutes played, Gionta and Brian McConnell
scored those goals while standing in front of Kopriva. After that was Kopriva replaced by
Martin Laska, who started playing well. And in the 15th minute Frantisek Bakrlik was able
to bring the puck behind the back of Travis Weber after passes from Lukas Chmelir and Petr
Puncochar. But Read more »
Nathan Schwartzbauer: This Quesnel Millionaire defenseman is one of the biggest in the league at 6’5 210 lbs. Schwartzbauer (82) is reputed to be the fastest skater on the Mills up and down the ice. For a player this size that`s not a easy task. If this big d-man can work on his lateral movement and anticipation he should be a big influence on the Millionaires and the BCHL next year. This Alaskan has alot of size and teams are looking for that on defense. Look for Nathan to take a step up if the rest of his game does. Players will not find it pleasant in front of the Millionaires net next season, when Nathan is on the ice.
Alex Nikiforuk: Alex plays right wing for the Burnaby Bulldogs of the BCHL. Not many rookies can rack up over a point a game in the BCHL but this native of Kelowna did. Not big at 5’8 165 Alex relies more on speed and smarts to make his game talk. Nikiforuk( 83) was one of the top point getters on Burnaby this season and should have a even bigger role next season. As in most BCHLers a scholarship is his goal and this should not be a problem. A season near 100 points could be in the future for this smart player.
Rod Pelley: Rod Pelley had a great first year in the BCHL. This player at only 16 years old played a regular shift on the Prince George Spruce Kings. Pelley (84) is listed by the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL and will have to make the decision whether to play in the Dub or pursue a scholarship. This kid from Kitimat B.C. is a strong skater and has pretty good size for a 16-year-old at 6’0 180. Rod played wel Read more »