Pre-Mike Smith picks who may help.
Mark Bell is the flat out best prospect picked by anyone besides Mike Smith. The Hawks were able to trade up with Toronto since the leafs felt that no one suspected they would reach with Nicky Antropov, so the Leafs felt comfortable dropping down two slots.
Mark was pressured early to contribute two bad Hawk clubs and the speed of the NHL game and expectations viewing him a regular were factors Mark had trouble overcoming.
Although Kent Huskin’s Clarkson team did not survive the first round of the ECAC Tournament, he is another Ottawa born player who has the size and abilities that make the parent club take notice. He is not yet 21 and will probably be again selected to the ECAC All-Star team.
Another college player making noise in heard by the Hawk brass is Centre Tyler Arnason of St. Cloud. He has improved in his goal scoring with 14, 19, and 24 goals in the WCHA. His father scored 109 goals in the NHL from 1972-79, so his bloodlines are good. He is a good face-off man with scoring touch. His passing ability is why he has been asked to play the point on the power play i Read more »
Assignment to Norfolk has enabled him to develop and return to playing without thinking, something he said he was guilty of doing in his Blackhawk tryout. It would be no surprise to this writer if Bell eventually ends up as one of the Hawk four centres. The Blackhawk commitment to Zhamnov, Nylander, and the emergence of Chris Herperger, leaves Bell in a position where he must show he is better than other proven vets already established.
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Blueline makeover continues: After studying several other market opportunities, the Maple Leafs opted to stay with the organization’s long term focus on deadline day … rather than chasing any of the veteran blueliners available (Lumme, Housley, Houlder, Leschyshyn, Slegr, Svehla, Hedican etc.), Toronto obtained a player whose best years are still decidedly in front of him … Aki-Petteri Berg was selected 3rd overall by Los Angeles in the 1995 Entry Draft, behind only fellow defenders Bryan Berard and Wade Redden … a 5 year NHL veteran at the tender age of 23, Berg has thus far failed to live up to the lofty expectations attached to him during his junior career … Aki certainly has prototypical NHL size (6-3, 220) and is an extremely fast and agile skater … these two factors have allowed the strapping Finn to deliver many devastating hits already during his young career … it would be fair to say that Berg is mainly a “non-factor” on the attack at this point and that he still has much to learn about defensive play as well … during the 1998/1999 season, Aki played for Turku in the Finnish League following a nasty and prolonged contract dispute with the Kings … Berg joins a burgeoning group of young blueliners in the Toronto organization (Kaberle, McCabe, Markov, Belak, Svoboda, Rourke, Zion, Zavoral and others) and this key position could Read more »