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Maple Leafs’ Entry Draft Preview

by Randy Nicholson
on

Who’s Calling the shots: – Mike Penny is preparing to supervise his first Entry Draft as the Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel. Penny has been active in hockey management since 1969 and previously worked along side his current boss, Pat Quinn, for many years in Vancouver. Quinn himself does very little actual scouting and generally defers to his Personnel Chief on draft day.

The Support Team: – Penny is ably assisted in the Personnel Department by the Leafs’ Amateur Scouting Director Mark Hillier, who is also attending his first draft in this position. Hillier’ primary responsibility has been to cover the North American scene (along with a staff of 5 full time scouts and several other part-timers) but also makes frequent trips to Europe where Thommie Bergman and Leonid Vaysfeld lead a highly productive scouting operation.

Draft Day Tendencies: – During the past 10 seasons, the Maple Leafs have made 9 selections in the first round – 5 from Canadian Major Junior Hockey, 3 from Europe and 1 from the USJHL. Their emphasis on European players is growing, however, with 2 of the team’s previous 3 top picks coming from overseas. During the same time period, Mike Penny made 10 first round picks for the Canucks with 6 coming from Canadian Major Junior Hockey and 4 from Europe.

The Philosophy: – There are no real secrets here. As with virtually every other team, the Maple Leafs are firmly committed to the “best player available” philosophy. Nothing else would make much sense, given the fact that tangible fruits of this w Read more »

Capitals 2001 Draft Preview

by Rick Davis
on

Washington traded its first round pick (25th overall) to the Canadiens earlier this year in the Trevor Linden deal. The Caps received New Jersey’s second round pick in that deal. Their first selection (their second round pick) should be at fifty-eight overall. The last time the Caps’ first pick was so low was 1983 when they chose 75th.

Washington has a tendency to pick the best player available instead of addressing organizational needs through the draft. If players are even on Washington’s chart, however, do not be surprised it they select a goalie. There should be some good goalies available and Washington’s biggest need right now is a goalie who can be projected as a future number one goalie.

With eleven picks in Saturday’s entry draft, Washington may decide to draft for need with a couple of its later picks. I would not be surprised to see them pick up a goalie with the intention of starting him in Portland (AHL) next year.

One thing that the organization seems to rely on is size. Out of thirty five prospects in the Caps system (not counting Trent Whitfield), only Glen Metropolit (5’11) and Sebastien Charpentier (5’9, but a goalie) are under 6 feet tall. Neither Metropolit nor Whitfield is an original draft pick of the Capitals, either.

The Markov Trade

by David Lau
on

On Tuesday June 12, 2001, Pat Quinn sacrificed the young, promising and somewhat injury prone Danny Markov in order to acquire Robert Reichel, Travis Green, and Chris Mills from the Coyotes. I’m certain that Leafs fans everywhere will wish 24 year-old Danny Markov the best of luck and hope that he continues to develop into the defensemen that we’ve often seen glimpses of. The young Russian had shown a lot of spirit on Toronto’s defense and had displayed great courage in blocking shots and killing penalties.

This trade is believed to be one of many off-season moves Pat Quinn will make in order to further enhance his club. Although it will cost Toronto more financially, Toronto has substantially upgraded its depth with this trade. The team’s blueline looked strong during this year’s playoffs which, in turn, made Markov expendable.

Robert Reichel is destined to support Mats Sundin as the team’s #2 centreman. Although many critics say that he is a soft player, Reichel had back to back 40 goal seasons with Calgary (and Gary Roberts scored back to back 30 goal seasons as his line mate during those same years). Travis Green has had three 20-goal seasons and is looked upon to be the #3 checking center. Green is a solid physical player who should offset the impending loss of current face-off specialist, Yanic Perreault.

With this trade completed, Toronto has surely improved it’s options at center. The newcomers join a deep cast of NHL quality forwards including Sundin, Berezin, Hoglund, Korolev, Corson, Tucker, Roberts and the developing Antropo Read more »

Q&A with Mike Komisarek

by Mark Fischel
on

Defenseman Mike Komisarek from the University of Michigan figures to be gone from most National Hockey League teams’ draft lists very early on Saturday, as the 2001 NHL Entry Draft takes place at National Car Rental Center.

The hulking 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of Islip Terrace, NY, is rated fourth among North American prospects on Central Scouting’s final ranking. In 41 games with the Wolverines, Komisarek scored four goals and 16 points, adding 77 penalty minutes.

A gifted skater, Komisarek combines a powerful stride with excellent lateral movement. His overall mobility and willingness to jump into the offensive play make him a coveted asset in the NHL. But perhaps even more impressive is Komisarek’s punishing physical game. His defensive positioning and intimidating presence have drawn comparisons to New Jersey’s Scott Stevens.

The 19-year-old defensive prodigy took part in the June 21 Top Prospects Clinic at Incredible Ice in Coral Springs, and was kind enough to answer a few questions for FloridaPanthers.com.

Q: How have you reacted to all the hoopla surrounding this weekend’s draft?

Mike Komisarek: “Well, it’s a dream come true. It’s something I’ve worked for all of my life. I think this is one step in the right direction, the first step in a long journey. The NHL Draft is where it all begins.”

Q: How many NHL teams have you talked to as you prepare for Draft weekend?

MK: “Altogether, up in Toronto and with a couple of teams coming up to Ann Arbor (MI), probably around 27.”

Q: You toured National Car Rental Center Read more »

Minnesota Wild Draft Preview

by Mark Schwarz
on

Every organization likes to get off on the right foot and start their operation with a bang. For the Minnesota Wild, this kickstart came at the 2000 NHL Draft in Calgary when talented Slovak winger Marian Gaborik, considered by most to be the top player available in the draft, fell into their laps with the #3 overall pick. Gaborik walked straight into the lineup as an 18-year-old in 2000-01 and exceeded all expectations, leading the club in goals and points, and showing that he has all the tools to be an impact player for the Wild in the very near future. Almost lost behind Gaborik’s tremendous success were the seasons of the team’s second and third picks, Nick Schultz and Marc Cavosie, who both showed dramatic improvement and starred for their respective nations at the 2001 WJC, and 9th-round selection Lubomir Sekaras, who cracked the Wild roster as a 31 year-old rookie and scored 34 points from the blueline.

Read more »

Devils Draft Preview

by Jared Ramsden
on

The Devils have a well earned reputation for being one of the most successful drafting teams in the NHL. And at this weekend’s Entry Draft form Sunrise, Florida, General Manager Lou Lamoriello and Head Scout David Conte will look to carry on the success.

Since 1990’s draft, 47 of New Jersey’s drafted players have gone on to play at least one NHL game, which is best in the league along with Colorado and NYI. Last year alone, the Devils had 9 of their own drafted players on their roster and 6 others who spent some time up with the Devils as well. The 9 players were: Martin Brodeur (‘90,1/20) Ken Daneyko (‘82,1/18) Scott Niedermayer (‘91,1/3) Colin White (‘96,2/49) Scott Gomez (‘98,1/27) Patrik Elias (‘94,2/51) Petr Sykora (‘95,1/18) Sergei Brylin (‘92,2/42) and Jay Pandolfo (‘93,2/32). The other 6 were: Mike Commodore (‘99,2/42) Sascha Goc (’97,/159) Pierre Dagenais (‘98,4/105) Jiri Bicek (‘97,5/131) Stan Gron (‘97,2/38) and Mike Jefferson (‘00,5/135). They have plenty of other notable draftees of theirs around the league like Brendan Shanahan (‘87,1/2) Bill Guerin (‘89,1/5) Steve Sullivan (‘94,9/233) Jason Smith (‘92,1/18) and Brian Rolston (‘91,1/11). That is proof of how well the Devils have been able to use the draft to stock their team. They can find players high or low and can always seem to find the diamond in the rough or sleepers that other teams pass over.

Like last year, New Jersey has a huge chunk of their picks is the first half of the draft including 5 in the third round. They have an overall total of 12. As of right now, the Devils picks are Read more »

Le draft qui déterminera l’avenir du CH

by Vincent Belisle
on
Le DG du canadiens a clairement qu’il n’était pas question de repêcher Mikko Koivu seulement parce qu’il est le frère de Saku. « Mikko est un bon prospect a considéré, mais il n’est pas privilégié des autres » a indiqué le chef du recrutement Martin Madden.

Les joueurs dans la mire de Savard

Pour le 7ième choix

Stephen Weiss
Le joueur le plus complet du repêchage, il possède de très bonne qualité offensive tout en maintenant une conscience défensive. Il a marquer 40buts dans la OHL avec Plymouth l’an dernier. Malheureusement, il serait surprenant que Weiss soit encore disponible lorsque se sera à Savard de parler.

Mikko Koivu
Il est très attendu a Montréal. Selon les dépisteurs, il a les qualités de son frère avec le physique en plus. Il a le même désire de vaincre que son frère. Un winner comme on dis. Petit hick, lui et Mark Komisarek sont ciblés par le Wild qui possède le choix juste devant celui de Montréal.

Igor Knyazev
Un joueur à la Kasparaitis. Le genre de joueur qui plaît à Savard. Un gars qui se présente a chaque match avec une attitude et un leadership remarquable. Ne se laisse pas marcher sur les pieds et n’a pas peur de jeter les gants pour regler ses comptes. Exactement le genre de joueurs qui nous faut à Montréal. Cependant, Knyazev pourrait être encore disponible lorsque le Canadiens parlera pour la deuxième fois. Mais est-ce que Savard prendra la chance de le perdre?

Pour le 25ième choix

Ales Hemsky
Si le Tchèque est encore disponible, il serait un bon choi Read more »

NHL Draft Preview – Overage Slovak Players

by Daniel Kysel
on
The last draft proved that overage players are a much better investment for new teams than 18-year old unknown youngsters. In total 31 overage players were selected last year. Fourteen of them skated on NHL rinks last season. Eight found regular spots on their teams (Cechmanek, Sekeras, Kultanen, Visnovsky, Nummelin, Kharitonov, Simicek and Sushinsky (before his outgoing to Russia)). The others traveled between first and farm teams (Ronnqvist, Wallin, Bartos, Von Arx, Kolarik and Lilja). All of them were 24+ years old. Pure accident? I don’t think so. Such players have a lot of experience from top European leagues, international tournaments, world championships, Olympic games etc. Younger players (I mean 21-24 year old) need time to develop for the NHL level but I believe that some of them could play in NHL right now e.g. Tellqvist, Richter.

The European leagues – Russian, Slovak, Swiss, German and especially Czech, Finnish and Swedish offer a lot of skilled, experienced players. Mark Schwartz presented in his excellent article “Instant help and the NHL draft” overage players. I cannot and don’t want to compete with him however I want to present my view as well. Of course I don’t know all Euro-leagues in detail but I can mention other ones who were not mentioned by him e.g. Czech players Dusan Salficky (G, 1972, Plzen) & Viktor Ujcik (F, 1972, Slavia). However my intention is to write about Slovaks, so let’s see their names:


Peter Pucher (C, 12/08/1974, 6'1" 207, Znojmo - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season 		52 GP	22G 	34A 	56Pts	+31	32 Read more »

Blue Jackets Draft Preview

by Collin Wheeler
on
Success has its rewards, but in the case of the Columbus Blue Jackets, it also has its drawbacks. Doug MacLean’s vision of a team that would be competitive every night and start building a winning tradition, has blossomed into a 28 win inaugural season. The city of Columbus has embraced the team and the combination of solid veterans and late blooming prospects gives them a strong base for respectability in the future. In achieving these goals, however, Columbus will be drafting 8th in the first round, instead of in the top 2 or 3 that might be expected by an expansion team.

The depth of this years draft has made the lower draft position a little bit easier to endure, but the thought of missing out on outstanding prospects like Jason Spezza and Ilya Kovalchuck must be heavy on MacLean’s mind. The Blue Jackets are thrilled with last years first round choice, defenseman Rostislav Klesa and think he will anchor their defense for years to come. In Mark Denis, they feel that they have an outstanding young goaltender. What they lack is a big time blue chip forward that they can build their offence around. Maclean would love to choose any of the top 5 forwards.

If the draft goes like most people predict, those 5 forwards will be long gone by the 8th choice. Some people in the Blue Jackets organization think the top prospect still available at that spot might well be goaltender Dan Blackburn. That’s tough to predict in a year that might see a lot of wheeling and dealing on draft day.

Doug MacLean is one of the more proactive G.M.’s in the Read more »

Sabres Report: 2001 Draft Preview

by Ken McKenna
on

The 2001 NHL Entry Draft approaches amidst a swirl of trade rumors, with the potential for a change of address for many of the league’s biggest stars. Names such as Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Yashin, Doug Weight and Eric Lindros are being bandied about as trade fodder in the days leading up to this weekend’s draft, as are the names of a couple of the Buffalo Sabres’ stars, Dominik Hasek and Michael Peca.

Trades of this magnitude could have a direct effect on the draft, as there is talk of possibly one, or both, of the top 2 picks being dealt in return for immediate help. Once again, Buffalo’s name has been mentioned prominently in trades involving the top draft choices held by Atlanta (#1) and the N.Y. Islanders (#2), but so far, at least, Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier has publicly denied any pursuit of these prime draft picks.

The trade rumors have so far caused a diversion from what looks to be a very solid 2001 draft class. At the top of the draft is 4-5 highly touted forwards, led by the mercurial Russian RW Ilya Kovalchuk. There is plenty of solid, if not spectacular, talent to be found beyond the top 5, however, with talent to be had well into the second round. The depth of this draft should be good news for the Sabres, as 4 of their 6 draft choices will be made in the first 2 rounds (barring trades, of course).

Buffalo enters this draft with a diminished prospect pool, as they recently said goodbye to 8 of their 12 1999 draft choices. One of those farewells was particularly painful, as they lost promising C Mike Zigomanis due to a Read more »

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