Most Bud draftniks greeted the selection of Karel Pilar in the second round with a collective ‘huh?’ when his name was called from the podium in late June. Little was known about the defender in the original media dispatches except for his height (6’1″) his weight (201 to 215 pounds depending on who you believe) and the fact that he played with recent Leaf acquisition Robert Reichel for Litvinov in the Czech Extra League. His stats on the year, 12 goals and 38 assists in 52 games (which lead Extra League defenders) came in shortly there after. But there is more to Pilar than simply statistics and measurements.
According to Robert Neuhauser, HF’s hockey correspondent in the Czech Republic, Pilar is actually a thinking player on the ice. He almost always opts for the safe play when there is any risk involved and is positionally very sound in his own zone. While he has the size to compete physically, his corner work and clearing work do need to improve at this stage in his career. His skating easily makes the grade and his lateral movement and pivot are NHL ready.
Offensively, the Czech rearguard again usually opts for the safe play, never forcing a shot or trying to thread the needle when attacking. That said, his right-handed shot from the point, while not in the Modin/MacInnis class in velocity, has an uncanny knack of getting through to the net and is easily deflected by forwards there. This and his hockey smarts should make him valuable on the Leaf powerplay where, all too often last year, the point shot either never came or never reached its int Read more »
One of Norway`s premier players who has spent the last seasons playing in Sweden for Leksand has decided to pass on the nearly 100.000 USD offer from the Blues as it was a two way offer which did not guarantee a roster spot in the NHL. If Vikingstad was to be demoted he would spend time at Worcester of the AHL and if recalled his salary would increase 5 times.
Vikingstad is now entertaining the thought of playing in Germany with fellow Norwegian Trond Magnussen for a larger one way contract at Dusseldorf. Vikingstad is also looking at his former Swedish club Leksand as well as Fårjestad and a couple Norwegian clubs.
Other News and Notes from Norway: Anders Myrvold of the Springfield Falcons(AHL) and New York Islanders turned down their contract offer and is now an unrestricted free agent. Myrvold played sparingly in New York last season and is said to be entertaining offers from several other NHL clubs.
Hockey’s Future is proud to announce the all new and improved updated Panthers Team Page. After countless debates, several fist-fights, the top 20 Panther prospects for the upcoming 2001-2002 season is listed below for your enjoyment.
Florida Panthers Top 20 Prospects
1.Kristian Huselius, Left Wing
Possibly the best prospect in Europe and the best player in the Swedish Elite League, the emergence of Huselius and his dominant play made it very easy to envision him on the second line of the Panthers. He has come to contract terms and will be counted on to make the adjustment to the NHL as soon as possible and provide a 2nd line scoring option.
2. Denis Shvidki, Right Wing
Quickly adjusted to the AHL and the physical play, Denis broke two AHL All-Star records and scored 24 points in 32 games in Louisville. At a late season call-up, Denis scored 7 points in his last 14 games and improved his play in all 3 zones. He is ready to play in the NHL and may not be hindered by getting reduced ice-time on the 3rd line for the next few years.
3. Stephen Weiss, Center Read more »
One of the top prospects in hockey, Vaclav Nedorost talks with Peter Baptista about what it’s like to be part of such a world-class organization, his
experiences during the NHL playoffs this year and what he thinks of Pittsburgh Penguins center Mario Lemieux .
PB: What does it feel like to be part of such a world-class organization?
VN: Colorado is a great organization. They treat the players great. I was
in Denver for playoffs and really enjoyed the city and the people in the Avalanche organization.
PB: When did the Avalanche talk to you about a contract for this season?
VN: I signed my contract in April. I am very happy with my contract.
PB: Are you playing in North America this season?
VN: Yes. Right now I am training in Edmonton and staying with my agent. I
want to get stronger and get ready for Colorado’s training camp.
PB: Do you think you could make the Avalanche out of camp?
VN: I will try my best.
PB: What is your strongest asset?
VN: I think that a have very good hockey sense and I read the game very well. That is my strongest asset.
PB: What is your weakest asset?
VN: I continually like to improve all aspects of my game. That is my goal.
PB: Who do you think is the best player on the Avalanche roster? Read more »
Hecht signed for hometeam Adler Mannheim
Forward Jochen Hecht made a surpising announcement. He signed a one year contract with his former team in germany, Adler Mannheim. The DEL-champion held a press conference and you saw Hecht with his new jersey with the number 77. Why did he sign for Mannheim? The whole story: The 24 year old center became an restricted free agent after the season. He talked to his manager and his agent and they let him know the Blues will sign him to a new multi year contract. But, Hecht went back to germany to marry his girlfriend Christina in his hometown and no one talked to him till he received a message from his agent: The Blues traded him together with Jan Horacek and Marty Reasoner to Edmonton for Doug Weight and Michel Riesen. That shocked Hecht very much. “I know that this can happen, but i don’t like it!”
Jochen Hecht is still without a NHL-contract. So, remember Petr Nedved, he played in the czech republic to set the management under pressure. The only reason fot these movements is the money. One more time Hecht: “It’s a pleasure for me to play for the Oilers, a team Gretzky and Messier played for in the past. I want to play for them and i want to sign a good contract.” Hecht will play for Read more »
Here is an overview of what Craig Patrick has to work with for the Penguins’
payroll this season:
Listed below are the players from last year’s team that are unrestricted free
agents that we will most likely not sign (or have already been signed by
Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary/New Team (If Signed)/New Salary for This
Josef Beranek, 31, Forward, $770,000, None
Marc Bergevin, 35, Defense, $875,000, None
Bob Boughner, 30, Defense, $950,000, Calgary Flames, 3 years, $6.6 million
Garth Snow, 31, Goaltender, $600,000, New York Islanders, 2 years, $2.3 million
Listed below are the players that have been traded:
Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary/Salary This Year/ New Team
Jaromir Jagr, 29, Forward, $9,482,708, $10 million, Washington Capitals
Frantisek Kucera, 33, Defense, $1.2 million, $1.2 million, Washington Capitals
Listed below are the restricted free agents that the Penguins have allowed to
sign with other teams:
Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary
Rene Corbet, 28, Forward, $825,000
Steve McKenna, 27, Forward, $450,000
Listed below are Penguin players already with salaries for this year:
Name/Age/Position/This Year’s Salary
Robert Dome, 22, Forward, $850,000
Andrew Ference, 22, Defense, $400,000
Hans Jonsson, 27, Defense, $800,000
Milan Kraft, 21, Forward, $975,000 Read more »
The Washington Capitals traded Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk, along with future considerations to Pittsburgh for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera. While this trade is great for the Caps right now, it depletes their prospect pool and may come back to haunt them when Jagr’s contract expires in two years. The Caps get a player like Jagr without giving up any current roster players.
Here’s an attempt to put into perspective what the Capitals lost and how big of a hole it puts in their system of prospects.
Kris Beech probably had the most potential upside of any Capitals prospect. He’s a great passer and he should develop into a first or second line center. He was pencilled in to Portland to play in the AHL next year, as he would probably benefit from more ice time in the AHL as opposed to limited opportunities as a rookie in the NHL.
Going in to this summer it looked like Michal Sivek would be the prospect who would make the Caps out of camp, and he could be on the Penguins next fall. If the Penguins trade Jan Hrdina or Robert Lang, Sivek has an even greater chance of making the team. However, it is likely that Michal would also benefit from a year in the AHL, perhaps two.
Read more »
Bruins ninth round draft choice Marcel Rodman answers Peter Baptista’s questions about finally being drafted and the likelihood of turning pro this season.
PB: When did you find out the Bruins drafted you?
MR: I found out the good news over the internet, just about half an hour after it happened in Florida. After that I got a few calls from overseas too from my friends and my agent.
PB: Had they spoken with you before the draft?
MR: I hadn’t talked to anybody before the draft, any team at all.
PB: If not, did you think you would be drafted this year?
MR: I was hoping to get drafted, but because I hadn’t been last year I knew my chances were a lot smaller, so I had a feeling if it happens it won’t happen before the 8th round.
PB: Have the Bruins spoke to you about signing a contract, and playing in the organization next year?
MR: As far as I know they are going to give me a chance to play in Providence of course if I show them something good at the training camp, and I don’t know anything about the contract yet.
PB: What would be your preference, Providence (AHL) or returning to Peterborough (OHL) for another season? Read more »
Kevin Lowe took a page from teams like Minnesota and Columbus by drafting and then signing three older European players, all of whom may step in next season:
G Jussi Markkanen: A 26 year old from Finland, who had a breakthrough season with Tappara of the Finnish Elite League. His record was 30-17-5, with a goals against average of 2.09. The organization is very high on him, and they hope he’ll win the job as Tommy Salo’s backup in 01-02.
D Kari Haakana: 27 years old, rock solid at 6’1 and 228 pounds, Haakana has been described by those who saw him last season (he played for Jokerit of the Finnish elite league) as a punishing hitter, and a very physical defender. The Oilers have expressed confidence that Haakana can step right into the lineup.
D Ales Pisa: 24 years old, 6’0 and 195, Pisa is described as being another solid defenseman, who got riled up enough to hit a referre and get a 15 game suspension last season (he played in the Czech elite league for Pradubice, and scored 10-13-23 in 47 games). Pisa has a hard shot from the point, and may eventually get some power play time. Pisa signed a two way deal with the Oilers, implying some time in Hamilton is possible.
In a much anticipated move, Edmonton signed RW Jani Rita, the highly touted Finnish winger that fans have been waiting to see in an Oilers uniform. Rita signed a three year deal, and has a solid shot at making the big club, although some time in Hamilton might be best for him. Rita is from the 1999 Oilers draft class (he was picked 13th overall) that also includes M Read more »
The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that the team has come to terms with Russian defenseman Igor Knyazev, who was selected 15th overall in the 1st Round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Knyazev signed a three year deal, including a $900,000 signing bonus, the most ever given to a Hurricanes’ 1st round entry draft pick.
“We are very pleased to sign Igor,” assistant general manager Jason Karmanos said. “This will give him the opportunity to make our team. This will also get him acclimated to North America as soon as possible.”
Since Knyazev was drafted out of Europe, he has the ability to play in the AHL at 18 years old, unlike players who were drafted out of the OHL, WHL or QMJHL. With the Hurricanes lack of depth on defense, Knyazev will have a good chance of cracking the lineup. He plays a solid all-around game, and doesn’t make many mistakes on the ice. Knyazev plays what is known as a two-way style of game, as he can rush the puck up the ice and chip in offensively while also playing very good defensively and physically in his own zone.
At only 18 years old, rushing Knyazev into the NHL may be too heavy of a burden for him at such a young age. A season or two in the minors would certainly help him get comfortable with North America and the style of game that is played over here, but we’ll have to see how he performs in training camp. With Igor Knyazev and also David Tanabe in the organization, the Hurricanes have two top-notch young defenseman that they can build their team around in the future.