Jason Spezza has been talked about in hockey circles for years. Ever since he was 15 years old this kid was tabbed as a future superstar. He has incredible vision and a touch with the puck. He is smooth, great touch with the puck to go with great vision and great hockey sense. He sees the ice exceptionally well and has great size to go with the package. The “Special One” as he has been tabbed, has had a much maligned hockey career since he came on the scene with the Brampton Battalion. He then moved on to the Missisauga IceDogs and possibly hindered his development with ignorant coaches and managers. Don Cherry loved this kid but didn’t make him a better player. Thus, Spezza asked for a trade, got it and with it, much criticism. He led the Windsor Spitfires to the playoffs with a 2 point a game pace almost winning the scoring title playing less games than the winner, Kyle Wellwood. Spezza played pretty well for Canada in the World Juniors, but he didn’t dominate even though he had already been through one tournament. With such a long career in the spotlight tabbed as Canada’s developmental savior, came much criticism. People started to question his work ethic and desire to succeed, as well as his skating. He is 6’3 and over 200 pounds. He is a big man and can skate. His upside is being a “one” the category consisting of only Gretzky, Lemieux and Lindros. And the downside of being a Jason Allison (90+ points a season).
For GM Marshall Johnston to pull of such a deal, getting rid of the fan’s favorite target Alexei Yashin, and receiving a future superstar in Spezz Read more »
A summary of activity in the Maple Leafs’ Camp on the second day of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
The names, generally, are not as well known as the ones called in the earlier rounds. In many ways, however, it is the second day of the draft that really separates the successful franchises from the pretenders. The truest gauge of any organization’s scouting prowess is the ability to unearth hidden gems in rounds 5 through 9 (long after many observers have essentially lost interest in the proceedings).
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the players selected by the Maple Leafs on Day Two.
Kyle Wellwood (C – Belleville, OHL) : The 2000/2001 OHL scoring champion wouldn’t have been there for the Maple Leafs in round five if there weren’t some serious reservations about his long term pro potential. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, Wellwood certainly doesn’t have ideal NHL size and his skating is average at best. Many scouts give much of the credit for Kyle’s scoring title to line mates Randy Rowe and Branko Radivojevic, both of whom also finished in the top five. To be fair, Wellwood has a wide range of offensive skills (especially puckhandling and playmaking) and was superlative for the Bulls this season. Though drafting is largely a matter of judging a player’s potential, there should always be room to recognize outstanding performance as well.
Max Kondratiev (D – Togliatti, Russia) : Kondratiev is a swift rearguard who represented his country at the Under-18 Tournament this year. Maxim is 6-1 but u Read more »
Every team has to build somehow. General Manager Brian Burke and Assistant GM David Nonis have done an excellent job in taking the Canucks from doormats to a success story in the money-driven NHL of today is remarkable. Burke and Co have been able to build through the draft, acquiring players such as Bryan Allen, Artem Chubarov, the Sedins, Brandon Reid, and now, R.J. Umberger, and that’s only in three seasons since taking over.
The Canucks have never been a model of draft excellence. Blunders such as Shawn Antoski, Alek Stojanov, Libor Polasek, and others, have been more or less forgotten since Nonis and Burke took over a couple of years back. They have instilled a mode of confidence in the players, management, and most importantly, the fans.
Even though Bryan Allen hasn’t arrived full time, (Which can be excused because of his various injuries) Burke has had a multitude of success in developing players, and drafting the best player available, rather than picking for a need, and that strategy has served him very well, as there is nothing to suggest that the good luck won’t continue.
Burke and Company strolled up on to the Draft podium and announced that their first pick in 2001 was R.J. Umberger. Umberger, who is is power-forward type of player. He slipped to the Canucks which was probably due, in small part, to the Oilers making a reach for Ales Hemsky at number thirteen.
The one problem with Umberger, however, is that he always leaves scouts wanting more. For someone with his size, he should be invo Read more »
1. New York Islanders, Mike Bray, Forward
2. New Jersey, Aaron Voros, Forward
3. New York Rangewrs, Leonid Zhvachin, Defenseman
4. Florida, Kyle Bruce, Forward
5. Anahiem, Martin Gerber, N/A/
6. Calgary, Joe Campbell, Defenseman
7. Buffalo, Calle Aslund, Defenseman
8. Ottawa, Neil Petruic, Defenseman
9. Columbus, Ryan Bowness, Forward
10. Los Angeles, Mike Gabinet, Defenseman
11. New York Rangers, Ryan Holleweg, Forward
12. Minnesota, Jake Riddle, Forward
13. Nashville, Gustav Grasberg, Forward
14. Boston, Milan Juracina, Defenseman
15. Columbus, Andrew Murray, N/A
16. Phoenix, Frank Lukes, Forward
17. Carolina, Carter Trevisani, Defense
18. Vancouver, Konstanin Mihailov, Forward
19. Toronto, Tomas Mojzis, Defenseman
20. Buffalo, Marek Dubec, N/A
21. Edmonton, Kari Haakana, Defenseman
22. Washington, Matt Maglione, Defenseman
23. Pittsburgh, Brandon Crawford-West, N/A
24. Calgary, Ville Hamalainen, Forward
25. Tampa Bay, J.F. Soucy, Forward
26. St. Louis, Petr Cajanek, Forward
27. Washington, Peter Polcik, Forward
28. Dallas, Marco Rosa, Forward
29. Ottawa, Gregg Johnson, Forward
30. New Jersey, Evgeny Gamalej, Defenseman Read more »
1. New York Islanders, Bryan Perez, Forward
2. Tampa Bay, Vitali Smoyninov, N/A
3. Atlanta, Mario Cartelli, Defenseman
4. Florida, Jan Blanar, Defenseman
5. Anaheim, Pierre Parenteau, Center
6. Dallas, Dale Sullivan, Right Winger
7. Montreal, Viktor Ujcik, Forward
8. Florida, Ivan Majesky, Defenseman
9. Chicago, Jeff Miles, Center
10. New York Rangers, Juris Stals, Center
11. St Louis, Grant Jacobsen, Center
12. Nashville, Mikko Lehtonen, Center
13. Edmonton, Ales Pisa, Defenseman
14. Phoenix, Severin Blindenbacher
15. Carolina, Peter Reynolds, Defenseman
16. Washington, Robert Muller, Goalie
17. Toronto, Mike Knoepfli, Left Winger
18. Los Angeles, Sebastian Laplante, Goalie
19. Edmonton, Shay Stevenson, Left Winger
20. Buffalo, Ryan Jorde, Defenseman
21. New York I., Roman Kuhtinov, Defenseman
22. Tampa Bay, Ilja Solarev, Left Winger
23. Boston, Marcel Rodman, Right Winger
24. St Louis, Simon Skoog, Defenseman
25. Washington, Viktor Hubl, Winger
26. Dallas, Marek Tomica, Winger
27. Ottawa, Tony Dahlman, Right Winger
28. New York Islanders, Juha-Pekaa Ketola, Center
29. Detroit, Francois Senez, Defenseman Read more »
It is truly a sad day for all Rangers fans, as Adam Graves tenure as a New York Rangers has come to an end. Today GM Glen Sather dealt Adam Graves, known to us as “Gravey”, to the San Jose Sharks in return for 24 year old forward Mikael Samuelsson and 24 year old defenseman Christian Gosselin.
From Glen Sather’s standpoint, I’m sure he felt it was the best interest for his hockey club to trade Adam Graves, rather than buy him out and not get anything in return. The San Jose Sharks have been trying to acquire Adam Graves for years, and at least Gravey gets to go someplace where he is wanted. I don’t like this deal as a Rangers fan, as Graves is a great player in the locker room and he is a leader on this team. With the possible additions of a couple of rookies to the lineup this season, Graves could have helped out greatly with the youngsters. Adam Graves always gave whatever he could to charity and he gave up a lot of his time to visit sick and needy kids. Graves’ play tailed off this past season, mostly because he was still trying to get over the death of his baby Jackson, who died soon after being born two months premature. Graves was a big part of our 1994 Stanley Cup Championship team, as he broke the Rangers record by scoring the most goals in the Regular Season by a Ranger with 52, and that record still stands to this day. A lot of fans will be sad over this deal and I am one of them. But sometimes painful decisions have to be made, and unfortunately this was one of them.
Trying to look at things positively, the Rangers may have gotten themselv Read more »
1st Round (#23 overall): Pick traded to Ottawa for #27 overall pick, #225 overall pick, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2002 2nd round pick.
1st Round (#27 overall)
Player: Jeff Woywitka
Birthdate: September 1, 1983
2000-2001 team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Rankings: (#13 North American by CSB, #15 overall by THN) Read more »
I made my feelings clear that if things fell in place, Don Blackburn could
have been taken at #9. I really didn’t think he would be there. Or maybe I
felt Ruutu’s knee surgeries would knock him down a notch. Nonetheless,
Blackburn was higher on my board and I would have taken him.
Even if all the Hawk farm goalies develop, you can never have enough
goalies. Ask San Jose, Buffalo, and New Jersey who take one or two early each
year. That was my thinking …. one of the elite eight.
Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult to quibble when your home team takes a
winner, already in the top Finnish league and the hardest working,
orneriest,solid muscle mass forechecker available.
And when Ruutu gets back on his skates in August after the TWO problems with his knee are healed he may be a better pro than Blackburn.
When Dallas takes the goalie you are going to take as an alternative to
Blackburn, Freeze goalie Jason Bacashihua, two picks before you, you don’t
You either trade out or you go to another position, but you do not REACH!
If you do, to use Mel Kiper’s coined expression, you simply don’t know what
the draft is about.
To take Adam Munro was an insult to each of us, as he was clearly not the
best player available.
Into the 3rd round, Michel Goulet stopped and I asked his interpretation of
this blunder. I said to him, “You KNOW they (Blackhawks) went goalie because
Dallas took the kid they wanted. Honestly, was Munro that high on the
Avalanche board?” He shook his head head Read more »
Trades of the day Read more »
Islanders Draft Review
“Mad” Mike Milbury has done it again… Milbury has one again rolled the dice by trading highly regarded Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt for Mike Peca. The basis of the “new” Islanders nucleus has been formed today, and as custom to other Milbury drafts, there have been questions left unanswered.
Yesterday, the Islanders traded Bill Muckalt, Zdeno Chara, and the 2nd selection in the 2001 draft (Jason Spezza) for Alexie Yashin.I am very happy about this deal because it made sure that the Islanders were getting the top line center that they had lacked since the days of Pierre Turgeon. Although it was hard to see the big bruiser Chara go to Ottawa, both teams received what they needed through this deal. Yashin was very excited when he heard the news and is glad to be an Islander; something that Mike Milbury wanted his players to be.
Today, Milbury traded young guns Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly to Buffalo for Mike Peca. Peca, who is regarded as one of the top two-way centers in the game, held out last season due to a contract dispute. Peca, who grew up watching the likes of Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, was speechless when he heard the news. Peca also spoke very highly of the Islanders, and said that with the additions of Yashin and himself, this is a new team.
The winner of these deals will depend on three players. Those players being Tim Connolly, Taylor Pyatt, and Jason Spezza. Connolly, who has the moves and the potential to be a top 20 point producer in a matter or year Read more »