Although the fruits of this past weekend’s lottery will not be realized for several seasons, this draft was important to a new regime understandably anxious to continue the fine work previously done by Hedberg and Smith. Additionally, many players previously drafted (Hodson, Rourke, Gagnon, Warren, Ponikarovky and Travnicek) will graduate to the St John’s roster in the fall thus leaving several holes to fill at the lowest levels of the organizational depth chart.
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the newest Maple Leafs.
1. Brad Boyes (Erie Otters) - Offensively gifted pivot who fell to the Leafs at number 24 due to a perceived lack of size and/or dynamic skating ability. The Leafs have implemented a formal development program for their youngsters during the past couple of years and have already graduated several key players (Antropov, Kaberle and Farkas to name but a few) who were also once regarded as questionable prospects. Brad is a prime candidate to join this group in that he is highly intelligent and possesses elite hockey sense. Watch for him to become a dominant scorer and team leader at the junior level during the next two seasons and eventually to become the #2 center in Toronto (behind Antropov) by 2004.
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The Avs management has returned from the 2000 Entry and Expansion Drafts with a smile. Despite a flurry of deals, the Avs stood strong, and only made one questionable deal. Many were shocked by the trade of All-Star defender Sandis Ozolinsh, and the lack of perceived value that the Avs got in return. While it would have been wiser for the Avs to try to trade Ozo to different team for more value, you must remember that Ozolinsh’s value is diminished by the fact that Carolina still has to sign him to a heavy $5 million contract. A signed Ozo is worth more than an unsigned one, thus the return Colorado received. Having another physical defender in Nolan Pratt on the squad is a benefit. In the playoffs, defenders like Greg DeVries and Eric Messier weren’t enough against strong trapping teams like Dallas. A pairing of Pratt and Miller or Klemm could be the Avs 3rd pair.
The Bruins exercised their option to take the Avs first round pick this year. This almost left the Avs with out a pick until the second round. But, they were fortunate to acquire a pick (14th), plus 2 second round ones from Carolina in the Ozolinsh trade.
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Klesla, picked 4th overall, has makes a good outlet pass and has a very solid shot form the point. “We really believe this kid can come in now and make our hockey team,” GM Doug MacLean said. “We think he’s the best defenseman in the draft.”
There is no arguing MacLean on the last point. But the notion that he can come in and play right away might just be a case of post-draft hysteria. Sure, Klesla can play he has all the tools to be compete but defensemen are notoriously slow developers and need to refine their game in the minors before setting up shop at the NHL level. Remember current Norris Trophy winner, Chris Pronger, struggled mightly his first year in Hartford.
MacLean’s second round pick was used to procure Marc Denis, a 22 year old goaltender from Colorado, who stands a chance to make a bigger imapct than #1 overall Rick DiPietro.
The third round unearthed a Right Wing that dropped in favor during the draft. Ben Knopp posesses good touch around the net and really found his game towards the end of the season, leading the surpirsing Moose Jaw Warriors into the playoffs. Knopp’s stock dropped, he was ranked 42 NA by the CSB and 52 by THN, because he played on a line centered by Jamie Lundmark much of the season and didn’t finish Lundmark’s passes as frequently as the scouts liked. Still the character and poise Knopp showed towards the end of the season made him a a gem at 69th overall.
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Smirnov is one of the draft’s true wild cards but will probably be gone by the time the Ducks pick. He has all the size,
skill and talent the Ducks are looking for but unless they trade up, there’s a good chance he’ll already be drafted which
is a shame. For a team that’s desperate for power forward, Smirnov is worth the risk.
I wrote that in my draft preview here at Hockey’s Future. Apparently, there was some good karma going around that day.
Saturday afternoon, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim got the chance to select Alexei Smirnov, and sure enough, they couldn’t
pass on him. Smirnov became the Ducks’ first round pick and they didn’t even have to make a trade to get him.
Consider that some good luck for a team that usually seems cursed when it comes to anything decided by luck. The Ducks
had a successful draft, choosing a group of very talented players who might be considered high risk. They also used a surplus
of draft picks to their advantage. The Ducks had made several side deals the last few weeks and it paid off in the second
round. The Ducks relinquished third, fourth and fifth round picks to Montreal for their second round pick. They ended up
choosing Ilja Bryzgalov. In theory, the Ducks received two goalies in the second round. They gave up their original second
round pick to Calgary for J-S Giguere. The Ducks also dealt sixth and seventh round picks to Toronto in return for a European
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At this year’s draft the Oilers with the first three players drafted at 6’5″,
6’4.5″ and 6’3″ Edmonton took huge steps to ensure the future looms
larger than life.
After stealing defense man Eric Brewer and left winger Josh Green with a
second round pick 35th overall in this years draft for defense man Roman
Hamrlik from the New York Islanders right before the beginning of the
second round only added to the success felt by the Oilers brass. General
manager Kevin Lowe and director of player personnel fulfilled their
mandate of adding size and gritty players to a fairly decent list of
prospects whom rate in the top ten in the league on regular basis, the
retiring of long time chief head scout Barry Fraser they wanted to go
out with a bang.
1st Rnd – 17th pick: LW/RW Alexei Mikhnov 6-5/200 Team: Yaroslavl
(RUS) Dob: 08-31-82 Sh: Left
Notes: This young man remains a bit of a enigma due to the infrequency
and lack of availability to see the native of Ukraine play, with the
cancellations of games and tournaments some scouts were reluctant to
make a full evaluation on him. With comparisons to Oleg Kvasha, Nik
Antropov and Andre Nazorov what to expect from Alexei may be hard to
gauge however his upside and potential could very well make him one of
the steals in the draft. with a large Ukrainian and Russian community in
Edmonton they will receive him with open arms and make Alexei fell like Read more »
Mike Milbury was right on the mark in at least one remark following a daring series of events, his reputation is definitely on the line. Knowledgeable Islander fans collectively swallowed their tongues in shock or at least banged their heads on the nearest solid object after hearing of Milbury’s high stake trades. What at the end of last season was the most promising young goaltending tandem in league was decimated. Weekes was moved to Tampa Bay along with last year’s first round pick Kristian Kudroc to obtain the 5th overall pick. Not a bad maneuver considering that franchise caliber goaltender Roberto Luongo seemed ready to shoulder the load. However, that scenario was quickly shattered when Milbury’s next maneuver was announced. Roberto Luongo, the best prospect in hockey, and Olli Jokinen, the 3rd overall pick in ’97, were sent packing to the Panther for forwards Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish.
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Canadiens Stay Close To Home on Draft Day
In a draft which was dominated by players overseas, the Canadiens opted to stay close to home with their draft selections. Despite adding several full-time European scouts, specifically Dave King, the Habs focused on American-born players in the College and high school ranks for a second year in a row after neglecting the NCAA route for years. To continue the trend started in ’99, Montreal primarily drafted blueliners, particularly when they drafted south of the border; all five college and high school players drafted over the last two years are defensemen.
This trend surprisingly started quickly in this year’s draft. With Montreal’s first pick, they selected Ron Hainsey: a College player with offensive tools. The swift skating defenseman out of Hockey East plays with poise, intelligence and has terrific vision to make crisp outlet passes out of his own zone; something the Canadiens desperately need. However, he was pegged as a late first round draft pick, and perhaps even an early second rounder. Is this yet another foolish move by the Canadiens’ management?
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The Washington Capitals surprised no one with the players they selected early on in the 2000 Entry Draft. The top three selections all came from the Western Hockey League, where the Caps have gone for several high picks before. The unexpected moves came when the Capitals made four trades involving nine draft picks and one player – 1995 first-rounder Miika Elomo. Elomo had survived Friday’s expansion draft and was expected to make the jump to the NHL next season.
In the first round (26th overall), they chose Brian Sutherby from Moose Jaw. He is a two-way center, and is very physical. The Caps needed more offensive forwards, but could not pass on Sutherby. He suffered a shoulder injury in November and missed some time. He plays a similar style to current Capital Jeff Halpern, but is a bit bigger.
With the first of their two second-round picks (43rd overall), the Capitals grabbed Matt Pettinger. He is a big winger who has some offensive ability. He left college mid-season to enter the WHL and scored seven goals in his first 12 games. He is the fourth member of the 1999-2000 Calgary Hitmen on the Capitals’ reserve list – joining Kris Beech, Rastislav Stana and
The other second-round pick (61st overall) was used to select big defenseman Jakub Cutta from Swift Current. He is an stay-at-home defenseman but likes to carry the puck. He is originally from the Czech Republic, but has adjusted to the North American game very quickly.
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The Philadelphia Flyers swung for the fences at the 2000 NHL entry draft, taking a series of hit-or-miss forward prospects and abandoning the conservative post-first round approach they’ve usually taken since Bob Clarke returned as the Flyers general manager.
With their first two picks, the Flyers attempted to address their area of greatest organizational weakness-lack of speedy, offense-oriented forwards. They went for a pair of late-1981 born players: Ontario Hockey League right winger Justin Williams and a Russian winger, Alexander Drozdetsky, who is already a member of the SKA senior roster. The Flyers did not have a choice in the second round; the pick went to Carolina to complete the Keith Primeau trade.
On the second day of the draft, the Flyers traded their fourth round pick to Tampa and received three draft picks in return: giving them extra 6th, 7th, and 9th round choices. The Flyers first selected veteran international goaltending star Roman Cechmanek and then dealt John Vanbiesbrouck to the New York Islanders, opening a spot for Cechmanek. With their remaining selections, the Flyers took four more forwards and one defenseman.
As always, it is impossible to immediately assess how much or how little the Flyers got out of this draft. Even if several of the forwards they picked end up becoming useful pros, the Flyers still have work to do in catching up to the forward depth pool of other team’s systems.
First Round Selection (#28 overall) Read more »
After a wild mix of trades and surprise selections in the top five of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators used their sixth overall pick to make a very safe pick and selected Scott Hartnell of the Prince Albert Raiders. Hartnell is a 6-2 192-pound right wing who was ranked third among North American skaters in both the mid-season and final CSB rankings. Hartnell is a gritty forward whose greatest assets are his character, leadership and work ethic. His character landed him the captaincy in Prince Albert, even at only 17 years of age. But he also has impressive talent.
Hartnell has decent speed and is quick in making decision with the puck. He has very good passing skills and is very adept at setting up teammates for goal scoring chances. He is an aggressive forechecker who loves to work in the corners and play a physical game. Hartnell plays a solid all-around game and is a complete hockey player. He was clearly a safe and sound pick for the Predators, who until now have lacked a true leader and character player in their organization.
“Character always factors in,” said GM Davd Poile after Hartnell was selected. “He’s the type of player our scouts like to say you can win with and win with in the playoffs.”
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