To be sure, the logjam on the Toronto blueline with last year’s incumbents fighting it out for seven spots with this season’s new additions is going to be no easy task for those players involved. But if you think that’s bad, just take a look at the Baby Buds where it pales by comparison. As it stands right now Petr Svoboda, D.J. Smith, Tyler Harlton, Maxim Galanov , Dimitri Yakushin, Nathan Dempsey, Allan Rourke, David Cooper, Chad Allen, Francois Bouchard, and Christian Chartier will all be trying to earn a spot on that roster while trying to stave off whoever happens not to make the cut at the ACC. Suffice to say that one of Cory Cross, Wade Belak, or Karel Pilar will be added to this cauldron come September and one of the six spots will be held open for whoever it is. So who will make the grade and who will be packing a suitcase? For the answers to that, the field needs to be broken down some.
In the veteran powerplay quarterback category three candidates stick out. Nathan Dempsey and David Cooper were the two blueliners who kept that end of things on an even keel last season but Francois Bouchard, fresh from Djurgartens in the SEL, also figures into the mix here. It is highly unlikely that more than one of these three will be kept on the team. This will be due not so much because they have disappointed, but more because of the fact that St. John’s has a number of young defenders that need to develop their offensive skills and powerplay icetime is a precious commodity in that regard. The pick here is Francois Bouchard.
suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. He played his junior hockey for the Barrie Colts, and at the age of 17 was the OHL’s youngest captain during the 97-98 season. He currently holds the Colt franchise records for total career points, goals, assists, short-handers, and game-winners. Chosen sixth overall in the 97 draft, Daniel felt plenty of pressure to step in quicky for the Flames and lead them back into the postseason. Tkaczuk confused the Calgary brass with his flashes of brilliance at the lower levels tempered by mediocre showings during his many call-ups. Frustrated with his lack of production at the NHL level, this cerebral center kept a positive outlook toward his relegation to the minors. Bouncing back from a late season concussion, Dan was absolu Read more »
While there has recently been more attention paid to some of the new blood in the Buffalo organization, such as newly-acquired forwards Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, this is also a good time to recognize the work of the Sabres’ prospects who were with the organization throughout the 2000-01 season.
The purpose of this article is to present a final ranking of the top 15 prospects in the organization as of June 2nd, 2001. This would exclude players such as Barrett Heisten, Mike Zigomanis and some of the other prospects who weren’t signed at the June 1st signing deadline. Also excluded from this list are the 2001 draft choices, as the focus of this article will be strictly those players who were Buffalo property through the 00-01 campaign.
G Mika Noronen
began the year as Buffalo’s top-rated prospect, and, despite a somewhat shaky start to his 2000-01 season, he remains atop the final rankings for this season. G Ryan Miller made a strong push to grab the top spot, but Mika gets the nod due to the fact that he plays against tougher competition. D Brian Campbell, RW Norm Milley and D Henrik Tallinder round out the top 5.
The Top 15 for 2000-01
Mika had a brief taste of the NHL at the beginning of the season, but was returned to Rochester to continue his development. Mika struggled upon his return to the AHL, but, by season’s end, he regained the MVP form that he displayed d Read more »
Cote’s One for the Gene Pool
Talking to Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Coach Pascal Vincent about blueliner Jean-Philippe Cote, the two things that stick out in his mind about his defenseman are “leadership and work ethic.” Vincent can’t say enough about his player when it comes to intangibles. He “puts his mistakes behind him” on those rare occasions that he does make one and is more or less the glue that holds the team together. Proof of this, the coach points out, can be seen in the fact that in the two games his Captain missed last year due to injury, the Screaming Eagles were outscored 14-2.
That said, all of the dedication in the world does not an NHL player make if he has nothing else, but the coach, who first saw him when he was the bench boss for the U-17 National Team, knows there is more to him than that. “90% of the time he makes the right decision when he passes the puck” and his passes are “usually on the tape.” What’s more, the defenseman knows enough to trail the play after making that pass and has demonstrated “good decision-making when it comes to the pinch.” While Vincent admits that Cote “is not an elegant skater” he rates his speed above average and his lateral movement as excellent stating that “he rarely gets beat one on one”. While his pivot easily makes the grade in the Q though, he feels that Cote will have to speed Read more »
Thoughts and forcasts for my top two prospects, a preview of the upcoming seasons for Bryan Allen and Artem Chubarov.
Bryan Allen was the Canucks’ top pick in 1998, the #4 pick overall, and, despite numerous injuries in his second season of junior, was expected to step right in, and help a poor defense, which had decliners in Dave Babych and Dana Murzyn, but had two young rays of hope, in Bryan McCabe and Mattias Ohlund. (McCabe being obtained toward the end of the season, along with Todd Bertuzzi, in exchange for Captain and team leader Trevor Linden)
Allen was not looked at as an offensive player, but as a stay-at-home type, who could provide some toughness when needed. He was badgered with comparisons to current NHL’ers, such as Derian Hatcher, which would scare most youngsters, but the cool, confident Allen was unshaken by this. All he needed to do was play his own game, and, despite a lack of offense, he’d be a very good NHL Defenseman.
To this day, however, Allen’s promise remains unfulfilled. After missing almost the entire 1999-2000 season due to injuries, he came on strong in ’00-01, spending the entire season injury-free, something he hadn’t done since his rookie season with the Oshawa Generals in 1996-97. He racked up 25 points (5g, 20a), and nearly hit the century mark in penalty minutes in his first full pro season. He began to show why he was such a high draft pick, and was one of the top vote-getters for the IHL’s final Rookie of the Year award, which ended up going to Atlanta property Brian Pothier. He also recieved Read more »
“It is meaningless” Anders Myrvold was quoted as saying to Norwegian daily VG. “Now I am just pissed off and irritated!”. Wednesday Myrvold decided against the New York Islanders as the contract was greater from SC Bern, however with the offer pulled Myrvold now has to look back across the pond at perhaps the Montreal Canadiens who he was also dealing with just before the SC Bern agreement or to other Swiss and or German clubs.
Myrvold was to receive about 175000 USD in payment after tax along with a car and apartment. The SC Bern club ended up selected a Swedish player instead. Myrvold has the possibility of opening new discussions with the Islanders and Canadiens as well as a host of other NHL and Internation Clubs.
The Rangers’ defensive depth can not be overlooked. Although the Rangers’ defense was horrible last season (they gave up the most goals against in the NHL), the future blue line does look bright on Broadway. I fully expect at least one rookie defenseman to stick with the team this year for the entire season. Glen Sather added veteran defenseman Igor Ulanov and Dave Karpa to the club, therefore taking away the opportunity for more youngsters to make the team on defense. Last year’s rookie defensemen, Tomas Kloucek and Dale Purinton, were bright spots on a bad team, while others such as Mike Mottau and Peter Smrek impressed in a few games towards the end of the season. Tomas Kloucek will be out until around December, as he is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in a game late last season against the Atlanta Thrashers when his leg slammed awkwardly into the boards, but, it will take him longer than that to get back to the level where he was last season.
Unless a trade is made, there is a log jam at defense for the Rangers. Brian Leetch, a fully recovered Vladimir Malakhov, Kim Johnsson, Igor Ulanov and Dale Purinton appear to have spots locked up to start the season, while Dave Karpa will likely stay on as a 7th defenseman. Kloucek will still be recovering, as will Sylvain Lefebvre who had shoulder surgery this off-season. The 6th spot is up for grabs during training camp, and whoever plays the best will likely wind up being the one who stays with the big club. Mike Mottau and Peter Smrek s Read more »
For much of the early part of Philadelphia Flyers history, goaltending was a major strength of the organization. From Bernie Parent to the young Pete Peeters to Pelle Lindbergh to the young Ron Hextall, the Flyers rarely had reason for concern between the pipes. For much of the last decade plus, however, the Flyers have been suspect in goal, with draftees such as Dominic Roussel and Tommy Söderström failing to take the starting job and run with it and veterans such Hextall, Sean Burke, and John Vanbiesbrouck suffering letdowns at crucial moments.
In recent years, the organization has re-stocked its goaltending depth through the draft; nabbing 1999-2000 rookie sensation Brian Boucher in the first round of the 1995 draft; Jean-Marc Pelletier (now with the Carolina organization) in the second round of the 1997 draft; 1999-2000 Finnish Elite League Rookie of the year Antero Niittymäki in the sixth round of the 1998 draft; and Maxime Ouellet, who is considered a franchise-goalie caliber prospect in the first round of the 1999 draft.
Last season, the Flyers used a mid-round draft pick to take veteran Czech star Roman Cechmanek, hoping that Cechmanek could step in as Boucher’s backup. Instead, as Boucher struggled, Cechmanek (after a brief stint in the AHL early in the season) not only claimed the starting job, he ended up as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and 4th in the Hart Trophy balloting. The big netminder, who will turn 31 by the end of the 2001-02 season, enters the upcoming season firmly entrenched as the Flyers star Read more »