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Questions from readers

by Michael Theodore
on
The past four seasons have all started with the same glimmer of hope, an improved roster and the long awaited end to the Rangers playoff layoff. This year however there is no big name signing, no huge blockbuster trade, and importantly no lofty expectations. There is however something that is at least partially refreshing, the first legitimate chance to phase in some prospects without the fear that they were being rushed.

Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl have both graduated from Juniors and both will once again get long looks in camp. Lundmark is stronger then ever and so far in rookie camp has looked extremely sharp and poised to make it to the show this season, whether it is straight out of the gate or as a call up later will remain to be seen. The swift skating center checked into the rookie camp at muscular 195 pounds, most of which was concentrated in his upper body. Jamie’s body has finally matured enough for him to carry the extra weight without slowing down any or drastically changing his game. Still {as predicted} his eventual playing weight figures to be in the 200 pound region as it would best serve him as a big league center. Jamie didn’t wait for the rookie camp to get into shape and it’s paid off, he’s the best conditioned prospect there and figures to possibly even challenge for the team fitness award as well.

Pavel Brendl on the other hand figures to need the rookie camp just to get ready for the regular camp. The enigmatic winger is exactly the type of player the camp was developed for. Brendl probably will never be a fitness champion Read more »

A Change of Events… SC Bern says “NO” to Myrvold

by Evan Andriopoulos
on

“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.

Kings Prospect Rankings and Notes

by Tony Calfo
on

 

The Los Angeles' Kings draft, rated among the best by the Sporting News, has given the Kings an influx of new blood in their system. With that, the HF Kings' Page has updated its rankings. Here are some notes:

 

 

At the top is Yanick Lehoux. Lehoux had a solid Prospect Camp and showed some of the skill that lead to his huge point totals in Juniors. Whether or not he cracks the big club this season, Lehoux seems to have more skill and skating ability than the players Kings' fans fear he will become – Pavel Rosa. As a result, Lehoux seems like he will be special.

 

 

Jared Aulin turned alot of heads at Prospects camp and his evolution makes Dave Taylor look like even more of a genius. Now the Kings leave the Blake trade with two major prospects and two top contributors. As someone who was the first to knock the trade, it appears to be a great deal. Aulin may well make this team this season.

 

 

Alexander Frolov still appears to be among the top prospects in the Kings' system, but he was not at the Prospect's camp. Frolov is evolving overseas, but the Kings need to get him to America and see how he plays in the North American leagues.

 

 

Steckel is ahead of Jens Karlsson as a testament to Steckel's potential. Steckel is huge and is still young. His skating and offense are still a ways from NHL level, but he will likely be a top line center for the Kings. At nearly 6'6, that would give the Kings the size in the middle they have coveted for so long.

 

 

Among the movers from last season are Alexey Volkov who has tumbled from the Read more »

Ducks have two very important decisions to make at camp this year

by Jamie Randolph
on
The Mighty Ducks have two very important decisions to make at training camp this fall. Where will their two top prospects play this season?

Stanislav Chistov, the Ducks first pick (fifth overall) in this year’s NHL Entry Draft has four options.

He could make the NHL straight out of camp which is a possibility as he has the skill to do so, but I think another year of development would do him good.

The Ontario Hockey League’s, London Knights drafted Chistov in last years import draft. It’s an option but in my opinion for a player like Chistov it’s not a good move because he already played junior A hockey in Canada and in California. It’s not like he has to learn a new language or grow accustom to North Amrerican culture. If fellow Mighty Duck prospect Maxim Rybin who is 5’9″ can become a sniper in the OHL, when he is not nearly as talented as Chistov, imagine what Chistov could do. Dominating the OHL will not help him with his problem of cutting across the middle of the ice so that is not the best option. Chistov needs to learn how to avoid checks and injury. A higher level would suit him better.

There is the Russian Super League which I think is the worst option. Chistov skills are NHL ready, he just needs to grow accustom to the physical style of the NHL so going back to Russia isn’t a great choice.

Read more »

Islanders Myrvold Says Yes…. to SC Bern

by Evan Andriopoulos
on

Myrvold originally one of Norway`s brighter prospects said no thanks to an offer from Mike Milbury`s Islanders earlier this summer. His agent was working out a deal with the Montreal Canadiens when Myrvold decided the after tax salary of 175,000 USD was enough to make him say yes to Bern of the Swiss league.

In 2000-01 he recorded (69gp 5g 24a 29tp 129pim) with Springfield and in 13 games with the parent Islanders he notted 1 assist.

So for this Viking, the journey to the NHL now goes through Switzerland and SC Bern.

Other News and Notes: American Defender Matt Jarret ex. UConnecticut defender is back in the states after some tryouts in France and Norway. Jarret hopes to return to Norway for a tryout with VIF-Hockey and some other clubs later this summer.

Aker Hockey has signed up several new players for the Norwegian 4th division including American center Eirk Olsen (5-11 180) and Canadian winger Ryley MacKenzie(5-10 175). These players along with a new Swedish sniper should help Aker move back up to a higher division next season and they join American player-coach Evan Andriopoulos (def.6-2 220).

The Broadway Blue Line

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

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 »

Summer 2001 Philadelphia Flyers System Review

by Bill Meltzer
on

Goaltenders

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 »

Schastlivy gets opportunity to redeem himself

by Jake Dole
on
When Petr Schastlivy was drafted 101st overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1998 draft, word got around that the Sens selected a steal. The young left winger was known as an exceptionally talented goal-scoring sniper with great puck-control ability. Drafted out of Torpedo-Yaroslavl, Petr was drawing raves from the Ottawa scouts, who were convinced that they had the potential to develop into a future NHL star.
After another year of development in Russia, Schastlivy moved on to North America and got his first taste of the game in the foreign continent. Starting off in the prospects camp at Hull, Schastlivy was easily one of the best players there. Despite certain defensive deficiencies, Petr stood out with his excellent 1 on 1 ability. Soon enough, he got the call to try out for the Senators at the team’s training camp.
When it came to first impressions, it is safe to say that Petr did not disappoint. In fact, in the seven games of camp, he tied the team lead in points with 6 in 7 games, Marian Hossa being the other to draw even. However, despite his performance, the 20-year old was cut, mainly because of the team’s depth of speed and skill. As a result, Schastlivy spent most of the year in the IHL, playing for the Grand Rapids Griffiths.
The training camp was not the only highlight of his career to that point. In fact, Schastlivy was the member of the 1999 Russian U-18 gold medal winning team in Winnipeg. There, he performed admirably with the likes of Maxim Balmochnykh, Maxim Afinogenov and Vitaly Vishnevksy.
A sol Read more »

The future in the Leafs net

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on

On Beyond Cujo

As with the last three years, Curtis Joseph will be the main man between the pipes for the Maple Leafs but after that, the picture gets a bit fuzzy. Granted, with a new contract in his pocket, SEL All-Star Mikael Tellqvist is the odds on favourite to be the back-up, and barring a serious injury or a horrendous camp will probably get the job. However, how will the rest of the organization’s goaltending shake out? With Jimmy Waite now in Europe it looks like Mike Minard is pencilled in as the starter with an outside chance of swapping places with Tellqvist on the big team. But behind him, there are a few different choices.

Sebastien Centomo

, an undrafted backstop signed with Toronto a couple of years ago after impressing them in rookie camp. While he has made steady progress playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL, at this stage in his career he is still more of a suspect than a prospect having yet to post a save percentage above .900.

Jamie Hodson

, 21 and three years removed from his selection in the third round by the Buds has had a difficult junior career. After a promising start he ran into major knee problems and really hasn’t been the same since. At this point it’s not so much a medical concern as it is a psychological one. Hodson’s confidence fell so low last season that he ended up splitting time with Robert McVicar and Geoff McIntosh.

Vladimir Kulkov

, came, saw, and conquered in rookie camp after Toronto took a flyer on him in the eighth round of the 1999 Entry Draft, and th Read more »

RJ Out, Ollie In?

by Chad Schnarr
on

When Lightning “designated hitter” Ryan Johnson was traded to the Florida Panthers last week, it opened a spot on the roster for a defensive forward. Take out your pencils and write in the name Jimmie Olvestad.

With the off-season additions of Juha Ylonen and Tim Taylor, RJ’s spot as the team’s primary face-off man, penalty killer and checking forward was lost. RJ played some wing last season and could have simply moved over to a checking wing, but it never got a chance to happen. His trade value was as high as his talent ceiling is low, so he was dealt for Vaclav Prospal to fill a hole on a scoring line. Acquiring a capable scoring liner is considerably more difficult than finding a capable checker, so the small hole RJ left can be filled by moving current Bolts up or over.

Or how about up AND over?

On July 16th, Lightning GM Rick Dudley announced the official signing of Swedish prospect Jimmie Olvestad to a three-year rookie contract. A speedy, gritty winger, Olvestad is being brought up from the prospect ranks and over the big frozen pond to North America.

“I think he’s coming over to make the team,” Dudley said. “I don’t believe he would’ve signed a contract unless he thinks he’s got a legitimate chance to play for us.” A few days later, in an interview on WDAE radio in Tampa, Dudley would mention the possibility of a fast checking line consisting of Ylonen, Taylor and Olvestad. Good-bye, RJ; hello, Ollie.

What Johnson took with him to Florida, Olvestad can bring to Tampa Bay. Their games are very similar at thi Read more »

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