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2001 Draft Profile: Mark Popovic

by Jonathan Litterine
on
There may not be any defenseman in the 2001 draft as solid in his own
zone as Mark Popovic. The St. Mike’s defenseman is amazingly steady. He’s
always in position taking care of his man. He also is a steady offensive
player. I mean he insn’t Brian Leetch or Nick Lidstrom but he is solid in
the offensive zone as well.

At 6’1 , 195 he isn’t the biggest defenseman in
the draft , but he plays a lot bigger. He is not a goon or a tough guy , but
he certainly will bang and take the body to help out his team in any
situation.

There seems to be a different set of opinions, as to where
Popovic will go in the draft. He will be a first round pick. Yet he might go
as high as about 10 or so, or he could drop closer to 20. All depends who’s
left and who has the current picks at the present time. Yet nobody doubt’s
Popovic’s ability to play in the NHL very soon. He might be the closer to
being NHL ready then any other defenseman in the field. Someone will get
Popovic and some franchise will be very happy. Expect his steady game to be
on the blueline of a NHL franchise for a long long time.

Sabres Report: Winding Down

by Ken McKenna
on

The 2000-01 hockey season has come to a close, with the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche putting the finishing touches on the season that was. All other hockey leagues of note have completed their seasons, as well, with Saint John’s (AHL), Red Deer (CHL), Orlando (IHL), and Buffalo farm club South Carolina (ECHL) all winning their respective league championships. European leagues also completed their playoffs back in April, so this season cycle is complete.

The Buffalo Sabres can claim one bona fide prospect (Henrik Tallinder) as a champion, while also supporting a league champ in South Carolina. In addition to these honors, there were several other prospects that had notable playoff performances, with most of the best showings taking place in the WHL. Reputations, good or bad, can often be made during a playoff run, so it is a good bet that Buffalo’s scouts have taken a close look at how their prospects have handled the pressure of playoff hockey.

CHL

OHL

The Sabres had just 1 prospect taking part in the OHL playoffs, that being D Sean McMorrow of the London Knights. One other prospect, C Mike Zigomanis (Kingston), missed the playoffs due to an injury (Zigomanis has since gone back into the draft, as has fellow OHLer and Sabre draft pick C Brad Self).

Sean McMorrow’s playoff run ended quickly, as the London Knights were easily defeated 4 games to 1, by the Erie Otters. McMorrow had little to show on the s Read more »

The Future is Wild

by Mike Wolf
on

In this first part, a look at the Wild’s strongest position, defense.

Filip Kuba- is 6-3 205 but looks bigger, Wild’s best overall defensemen didn’t
make many mistakes played a clean game, played in 75 games, lead the team in
average ice time, game winning goals. Scored 9g 21a for 30p and had 28pims.
Should improve on his rookie season, and become one of the top d-man in the
league.

Willie Mitchell- another 6-3 205 d-man, Willie has all the potential in the word, as we saw his play get better and
better each game he played for the Wild. Willie should turn in to one of the
better d-man the Wild will ever have, he likes to take the body but could use
it a little more, he will fight when needed, can produce on the O, this is
where he will get a lot better, and should have many 40 point maybe more
seasons to come. It also doesn’t hurt that he played for NJ. He had 1g 9a and
40pims in 33 games.

Andy Sutton- 6-6 245, Hugh Hulking defensemen, lead the team in hits, and
second in PIMS, a team leader by example, was always there for his
teammate’s. He also had a team high 5 shots vs SJ, a key part of the Wilds’
future, he had 3g 4a 7p and 131pims in 69 games.

Lubomir Sekeras- 6-0 183, Drafted as an overage European, he
performed like an NHL veteran, he played in 80 games was first in assists and
second in points, excellent on the power play with his hard shot, also had 50
takeaways to lead the team, he had 11g 23a 34p and 50pims in 80 games. If he
would have been younger he would have been a candidate for ROY.

Read more »

A Look at Vancouver Prospect Thatcher Bell

by Scott McFarlane
on
The Vancouver Canucks are loaded with depth in their organization. Even though they have had some picks that have not panned out. For example Shawn Antoski, he had some good junior stats but never really did anything in the NHL.

One player that the Canucks drafted in the 2000 NHL entry draft. He really stands out in my mind.

His name is Thatcher Bell;

Position: C
Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0
Weight: 188 lbs
Birth date: 1982-02-01
Hometown: Charlottetown, PEI
Acquired: Round 3, #71 overall, 2000 NHL Entry Draft
The Canucks got a steal when selecting Thatcher in the 3rd round of the 2000 NHL entry draft. Bell was ranked as one of the top QMJHL players, and fell. The Canucks were quite lucky to get this fast skating, highly skilled player.

Last years stats with the Rimouski Oceanic.

       GP   G    A    P    PIM
QMJHL  46   27   32   59   77
A solid year for a quick player that shows he can snap a wrister with the best in any league. His shot is devastating for opposing goalies, he releases it so quickly that the goalie has no time to react. Reminds me of a young Joe Sakic.

He does have average height for the NHL, but Bell could manage to put a few more pounds on. If he bulked up to around 200-210, then he would be able to take some punishment from NHL players. But I don’t think that many NHL players would be able to catch him.

Bell’s best year in Rimouski came in the 1999-00 season. Where he recorded 69 points in 53 games.

Bell has potential to be a star in th Read more »

Flames Draft Preview

by pbadmin
on
The time has come again for the Flames to build for the future and they have a couple directions they could follow. First off is the tried and true best player available which always seems the more logical and wise path. Or the more risky venture of drafting for need. Now if Calgary had the depth on their parent club and farm team they could be in a position to take risks however that is not the case so there options quickly dwindle to nothing picking the highest ranked player regardless of position.

Taking a look at the organization’s prospects reveals a few glaring weaknesses that must be addressed if this team expects to be competitive over the next decade. Three areas that could be easily shored up without straying from the path are as follows skilled forwards, potential first line center and an offensive defenseman. Since this draft is projected to be deep in talent there should not be a huge problem for Craig Button and company to fill two out of three positions. The question that needs to be answered is whom do the Flames think could be available when the 11th pick comes around and is taking a forward over a offensive defenseman more practical since the they have four young defenseman in the fold.

With that in mind Craig Button could have to swing in the favor of a forward in the first round since these four players will be under 25 by the start of the season. With Tony Lydman the elder statesman at 24, Morris at 23 and Regehr and Leopold at the ripe old age of 21. Even that group could be added to over the next couple years with Mutt and Je Read more »

Rangers sign Barrett Heisten!

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
The Rangers have signed left winger Barrett Heisten, a 6’1 195 pounder who was born in Anchorage, Alaska. He was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1st round (20th Overall) of the 1999 draft. He is 21 years old and played this past season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, where we was linemates with Jamie Lundmark. Heisten and Lundmark showed great chemistry, and that could have been a factor in this signing. Terms of the deal were not told, except for the fact that it is a 3 year deal. Great signing for the team.

Oilers Draft Preview

by pbadmin
on
Possible Players the Oilers Could Draft

The 2001 National Hockey League draft will definitely be a lively time for NHL teams, draft eligible players, their parents and agents. This year’s draft is considered deep by many NHL people and scouts. Every year hockey fans are guessing which players there team draft or which player they think the team should draft. There is a new draft philosophy for the Oilers now that Kevin Lowe is the GM of the team. He wants more players with grit, reliability and players who play with passion; also the Oilers need more skilled players in their system.

Based on the Oilers primary needs goaltending, offensive defenseman and skilled forwards their are players in this year’s draft that would fit the Oiler’s needs like Dan Blackburn, Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Weiss. However those players most likely are then when the Oilers turn comes up at 13.

While I was scouting a Brampton Battalion playoff game NHL scouts in attendance believed these players would not be available Jason Spezza, Stephen Weiss, Dan
Hamhius, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Svitov, Stanislav Chistov, Mikko Koivu, Tuomo Ruutu, Dan Blackburn and Mike Komisarek by the time the Oilers pick.

But in the NHL things change daily.

Here is a list of players that should be available when the Oilers pick at 13 with CSB analysis of the player is included.

1. Colby Armstrong – This is a player everyone seems to think the Oilers draft. Being a Western Canadian and born in Saskatchewan, he wou Read more »

Coyotes 2001 Draft Preview

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Phoenix Coyotes head into the 2001 Entry Draft with a lot of questions about their franchise that need to be answered. Will the Coyotes finally deal Robert Reichel and Mikael Renberg? Will Jeremy Roenick leave the franchise via free agency? Is Cliff Fletcher the right GM for this team? Etc. The list goes on. The Coyotes have been one of the more active teams in trading players and signing players over the last couple of months, as all-star netminder Nikolai Khabibulin was dished off for a package of youngsters as was all-star Keith Tkachuk. Add in the signing of big defenseman Martin Grenier, and all of a sudden the Coyotes have a solid group of young players and prospects. The Coyotes will look to strengthen their prospect pool at the Entry Draft, as the team holds the 14th overall selection (1st Round), and the 31st overall (from Islanders via Tampa Bay) and 45th overall (compensation for not signing Scott Kelman) selections, which are both 2nd rounders.

With three picks in the top 45 in an extremely deep draft, the Coyotes have the ability to add three top notch NHL players to their organization, pending upon whether they have scouted and drafted the right players. They could have also had the 24th and 44th overall picks, but New Jersey opted to take the Blues pick this year in the Scott Stevens case, so the Coyotes will get the Blues 1st rounder next year. Phoenix dealt the 44th pick to the Florida Panthers for Todd Simpson at the trade deadline. They might get a couple of other high picks, pending on whether the team trades the rights to Robert Reichel a Read more »

Pierre Gauthier holds Forum.

by pbadmin
on

At the annual select-a-seat, Pierre Gauthier, President and General Manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, held a forum for season ticket holders. Here are the details from that forum.

The draft is one of the richest in the last decade and Pierre says he will not trade the #5 pick. He plans to take the best of the top 5 players and is glad he doesn’t have the 6th pick. When the name Stephen Weiss was mentioned, Pierre smiled and mentioned he met with Weiss last week. With two picks in the second round (35 and 41), Pierre plans to trade one of them, or one or more of the later round picks before or during the June 23rd draft. Gauthier and Murray both agree that the team needs more grit, emotion, and leadership, and will try to fill those needs with trades. Gauthier expects to see a great deal of dealing on the draft floor. Pierre is glad to have Shields on the team because he doesn’t feel that Giguere is ready to start 60-70 games due to his youth. Neither Shields nor Giguere will be involved in trades. Pierre reiterated that drafting well, and making smart trades is the best way to build a winning franchise. He stated Detroit, Dallas, San Jose, New Jersey, and Colorado as examples.

Regarding prospects already in the system, Pierre is high on Cincinnati center Andy McDonald (C) and Russians Alexei Smirnov (LW) and net minder Ilja Bryzgalov (G). At the same time he was disappointed in Balmochnyk and Jay Legault.

Read more »

AHL Comes to Winnipeg, But Will It Come to Toronto

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
The death of the International Hockey League has given the Manitoba Moose a new lease on life.
The Moose were among six IHL teams absorbed by the rival American Hockey League on Monday. The Winnipeg-based club announced Tuesday that they are affiliated with the NHL Vancouver Canucks.

The death of the IHL also won’t prevent backers of the Toronto Roadrunners from bringing a minor-league team to Toronto for the 2002-2003 season.

Ernie Coetzee, the Roadrunners chief operating officer, plans to apply for an AHL franchise in early July. The Roadrunners had originally planned to play in the IHL.
The addition of the six former IHL clubs increases the AHL ranks to 27 teams. Besides the Moose, IHL refugees include the Milwaukee Admirals, Utah Grizzlies, Grand Rapids Griffins, Chicago Wolves and Houston Aeros. The AHL hopes to have 30 teams by the 2002-2003 season.

“I think we’ve added great strength and great value to our league,” said David Andrews, the AHL president and CEO.

Chipman is thrilled his team is part of the AHL.
“The benefits for our organization and for those other applicants that were successful in obtaining membership in the AHL are quite obvious,” Chipman said.
“We’re delighted to be able to become a part of the rich history of the American Hockey League.”

The six new teams will pay $1 million US each over 10 years.

“Our board recognized the value these teams, and these owners, bring to our league and discounted our expansion fee,” Andrews said.

The Moose join four Canadian AHL t Read more »

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