How Many Rookies Should Toronto Be Starting Next Season?
After years of addition by way of free agency or the trade market, next season could very well herald the first fruits of the Leafs pipeline. Three youngsters have been up and down this year in Jeff Farkas, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Karel Pilar. The first two have been in the big show before and their latest stint proved they are ready. Pilar, in his call-up, demonstrated with a bit more tightening of his game, he could be a net gain on the blueline for Toronto in the near future.
That said, we’ve heard all of this before only to have the Leafs stick with the veterans once they break camp. This time however, it could be different. Among those players who consistently find themselves on the bubble Jonas Hoglund, Gary Valk, Tie Domi, and Cory Cross are in the last years of their contracts. It would not be a stretch to suggest that none of this foursome will be with the Blue and White in 2002-2003. Dimitry Yushkevich is also in the walk year of his deal. While he may feel comfortable in Toronto and that feeling may well flow both ways, one should remember he is a Mark Gandler client like Alexander Karpovtsev before him. We all know what happened there. To be sure, it is expected that the Leafs will make their annual plunge into the free agent markets, but that aside there will still be roster spots to fill. From this columnist’s viewpoint, there is room for at least Jeff Farkas and Alexei Ponikarovsky on the opening night roster and quite possibly Karel Pilar.
PITTSBURGH FORGE NAHL JUNIOR A …… NEWS :
Find all the info you need on Pittsburgh’s new Junior A team at:
FORGE SPLITS WEEKEND WITH COMPUWARE
Ambassadors 5 Forge 4 : Shootout
NEVILLE ISLAND (Friday, February 15, 2002) — The Pittsburgh Forge Junior A hockey club lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Compuware Ambassadors at the Island Sports Center on Neville Island. The Forge blew leads of 3-0 and 4-1. The Forge scored three goals in the first seven minutes of the contest, and held a 4-2 advantage after the first period of play. Pittsburgh led 3-0 after Josh Coyle and Gabe Rehak scored goals nine seconds apart. Andy Cote had the other two goals for the Forge — one at the 4:42 mark and another at 15:17. Compuware picked up a goal by Andy
Greene with just nine seconds left in the period to cut the margin to two. After neither team scored in the second period, Compuware tied the game on third-period goals by Mike Falk — his second of the game — and Daniel Knapp. Both teams were held scoreless during the five-minute overtime period, which sent the game to a shootout. Falk was the only member of the Ambassadors to beat Pittsburgh goaltender Tim Heneroty during the shootout, but the goal gave his team the victory as all five Forge shooters failed to solve Compuware goaltender Chris Davidson.
Forge 3 Ambassadors 2: Read more »
During the communistic regime the Czech city of Kladno was known for two things. High-quality
steel and developing of top prospects. Now twelve years after the fall of the
iron curtain only the quality prospects are remaining. Just remember the names of Jaromir Jagr
or Patrik Elias, both risen in Kladno, or these days Montreal Canadiens draftee Tomas Plekanec.
But forget all the forwards. This will be a story of a goaltending
Jakub Lev was also born in Kladno, the city of steel. At first it didn’t look like he was heading
for a hockey career. He didn’t have his dad or relatives playing or coaching hockey and didn’t
make his first strides as soon as he could make first normal steps. Jakub only liked the
game but that was enough for him. He is a proof that advertising is highly important. Even
if it is advertising of a sport, in this case hockey. Hockey coaches of the youngest grades
sometimes attend kindergartens or the lowest grades of elementary schools to look for guys
eager to play hockey. And now those two sides met. Jakub Lev, willing to play hockey, and
a coach looking for little players. Jakub’s career had a green light.
From the very first moment he fell in love with pads, glove and blocker. Players often try
all three positions in the youngest grades before they finally see what position suits them
best. Take for example Roberto Luongo. But not Jakub Lev. The player nicknamed “Lefa” positioned
himself between the pipes and started stopping the pucks. It was soon evident that he does
it with exceptional poise and talent. Jakub L Read more »
Featuring the profiles of the top 2003, 2003 and 2005-eligible prospects, “Beyond Tomorrow” has been slightly revised and enlarged.
Keep an eye on the following additions:
1) 8 new profiles are now part of the preview, hence the list is close to 30 names.
2) Statistics have been updated for most of the players and reformatted in a simple tabular format.
3) New photographs have also been added to the feature.
Special thanks to Oliver Janz for providing his profile of the German prospect Patrick Koslow. Kudos to Glen Crichton for interviewing the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ Assistant GM Randy Maxwell for his thoughts on Brent Seabrook.
For comments and questions regarding “Beyond Tomorrow”, feel free to comment below.
Remember, if you feel that I have left out an important name from the preview, I would be more than happy to receive your suggestions via e-mail. Hopefully, the list will expand with time.
Click here to view “Beyond Tomorrow”.
Yanick Lehoux is a high scoring Kings prospect, currently playing for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL. Lehoux is averaging nearly two points a game. In 55 games he has 48 goals, 61 assists (109 points) and has an amazing 13 short handed goals. These numbers have gotten Lehoux a snub from the Canadian World Junior Championship team, and is generally regarded as the Kings’ 4th to 5th best prospect. How could this happen during a career year?
Lehoux is listed at 6’0, 190 lbs.. Most who have seen him in person would regard this as a reach. Add this rumored lack of size to his absence from the WJC squad and one name comes to King’s fans minds:
While Lehoux numbers are breathtaking, they are not new to the Kings’ system. Rosa had 63 goals in 68 games in the Q, and scored 153 points. Numbers that had the Kings foaming at the mouth. Those stats have brought the Kings whopping four NHL goals so far, and Rosa is playing in Europe. Another prospect that boasted lofty numbers was Justin Papineau. The Kings elected not to sign him and he recently played in the AHL All-Star Game as a member of the St. Louis Blues organization. Papineau was in the nearly identical situation that Lehoux is currently in, and his development may turn out to be egg on the Kings’ faces.
Another problem for Lehoux has been the emergence of the Kings’ system. Years ago, the Kings would have been touting Lehoux as the next coming, just as they did with Rosa and Papineau. Now, fresh off the WJC’s, the Kings have top prospects like Alexander Frolov and Jared Aulin Read more »
As a native of Ostrava, Michal Gulasi had the luck of being born in one of the traditional
Czech hockey cities. The team, which made the industrial city in the north of Czech Republic famous,
doesn’t carry the name Ostrava, though. It is the Vitkovice team which is usual one of the
top squads in the Czech Extraleague. So it was very likely that also Michal Gulasi will
have a chance on a hockey career. This is much increased when you take into account, that his
dad was and still is an active hockey player. Even this season he guards the blue line of
Frydek-Mistek of a Czech regional league. So since the very beginning of his life Michal
had contact with the game as he often followed his dad to the practices and was sitting in
the arena when he dressed up for the games. Like most kids, Michal liked to be active and do
some sports. During winter his father directed his first strides at the rink and very soon
the little Michal began to carry the stick in his hands. Read more »
Is Mikael Tellqvist the real deal?
The average goaltender in the NHL doesn’t ever start to make a mark in the big time until he’s 24, 25 years old. Some take longer. Evgeni Nabokov, last season’s Calder Trophy Winner is a prime example of what is the normal incubation time for a starting netminder. Yes, there are exceptions like Robert Luongo and Tom Barrasso, both who were starting games before they were old enough to drink, but that’s what they were, exceptions. Jocelyn Thibault was thrown to the dogs at the age of 20 and although his won/loss record looks impressive this season, questions still abound. Jose Theodore, the league’s hottest puckstopper going into the Olympics was in the NHL at an early age but was well cocooned in Montreal behind Jeff Hackett and Thibault and it’s showing now.
Now take Mikael Tellqvist. He turned 22 last September before he’d ever played a game in North America. Many, upon hearing of his signing had already anointed him the Leafs back-up goalie for the 2001-2002 season, or at the very least the starter in St. John’s. Now he’s struggling in the AHL to the point that Sebastien Centomo, an afterthought in the Leafs pipeline, has stolen his thunder. What happened? First off, we we’re all to guilty of knee jerk reactionism, in that we expected so much from the kid, anything less than the Vezina would have been a disappointment.
Let’s be realistic here. Tellqvist had never played the North American game, Centomo had a lifetime’s worth of experience. Was it any surprise that the latter out-performed the former thi Read more »
A sold-out crowd, the first for Kootenay this season, the Red Deer Rebels, the defending Memorial Cup Champions, the top team in the league and perhaps the country again this season, in town on a Saturday night, Kootenay coming on strong as a club that was starting to fulfill its early season hype as one of the top contenders in the CHL. Hollywood scriptwriters couldn’t set the stage any better.
Of course they could always leave out a few key actors.
One look at the game-night roster and there is a stunning omission; Duncan Milroy and Shaun Norrie, two huge cogs in Kootenay’s success in recent weeks, are healthy scratches. Western Conference All-Star and steady overage d-man Craig Weller and emerging winger Richard Hamula would be left in the stands of the Red Deer Centrium the following night and two more, defensemen Cole Fischer and forward Colin Sinclair will sit out Friday’s game in Portland against the WinterHawks. All suspensions the result of disciplinary action stemming from the six players breaking club rules of being in one of the Key City’s fine drinking establishments the Thursday prior to the weekend’s action.
The weekend’s results? A 6-4 Rebel win Saturday that was a seesaw shootout from the start with only an empty-net marker by Rebel forward Boyd Gordon to seal the win. Sunday’s tilt was a low scoring 3-2 affair in which two quick tallies by the Rebels halfway through the final frame earned the club the weekend sweep of the ICE. Although the games were hardly one-sided without the key personnel in the lineup, one wonders with the aforementio Read more »
Islander Prospects Bridgeport:
Trent Hunter RW 54 gp, 19 g, 22 a, 41 pts, +12, 22 pim, 7 ppg, 156 shots.
Ray Giroux D 53 gp, 11 g, 30 a, 41 pts, + 11, 57 pim,
5 ppg, 156 shots.
Jason Krog C 38 gp, 17 g, 21 a, 38 pts, -13, 6 pim,
9 ppg, 130 shots.
Jurak Kolnik RW 41 gp, 9 g, 17 a, 26 pts, -8, 36 pim,
1 ppg, 113 shots.
Ben Guite C 54 gp, 9 g, 15 a, 24 pts, + 11, 33 pim,
1 shg, 60 shots.
Justin Mapletoft C 54 g, 8 g, 15 a, 23 pts, + 13, 35 pim, 2 ppg, 112 shots.
Raffi Torres LW 34 gp, 12 g, 7 a, 19 pts, -1, 27 pim,
5 ppg, 81 shots.
Evgeny Korolev D 41 gp, 5 g, 7 a, 12 pts, -3, 22 pim, 1 ppg, 1 shg, 72 shots.
Branislav Mezei D 46 gp, 1 g, 7 a, 8 pts, + 9, 96 pim, 46 shots.
Ray Schultz D 43 gp, 0 g, 7 a, 7 pts, + 3, 150 pim.
Rick DiPietro 39 gp, 17 w, 16 L, 6 tie, 2 so, 2.52 gaa, 9.06 spct.
Stephen Valiquette 14 gp, 5 w, 6 L, 1 tie, 1 so, 3.04 gaa, 9.06 spct.
Marco Charpentier RW 37 gp, 14 g, 15 a, 29 pts, + 13, 23 pim, 2 ppg, 87 shots.
Graham Belak LW 50 gp, 5 g, 6 a, 11 pts, -6, 227 pim, 4 ppg, 35 shots
David St.Germain G 20 gp, 9 w, 4 L, 0-6 shootout, 2.73 gaa, 9.01 spct.
Bryan Perez, Michigan Tech LW 32 gp, 6 g, 10 a, 16 pts, 20 pim, 2 ppg
Brian Collins, Boston Uni C 30 gp, 8 g, 6 a, 14 pts, -5, 20 pim, 77 shots.
Cory Stillman, Kingston OHL, 37 gp, 10 g, 21 a, 31 pts, + 4 r Read more »
Let’s face it, 2001-2002 has not been the year for the Waterloo Black Hawks. Has the season been a total disappointment? No. Could the team have done better? Maybe if they had made the moves they did in January earlier in the season. But nonetheless the trades the Black Hawks made were good moves. Early in the season Waterloo dumped two of last years top players in Ryan Langenbrunner and Dan Krmpotich due to lack of production. In return the Black Hawks got Patrick Knutson from Lincoln and Nate Hansen from Rochester. Waterloo then quickly turned around and dumped Hansen to Des Moines along with another brief addition, Keith Boyer in return for Ross Carlson and Andy Nelson. That trade has turned the season around for Waterloo. No, they won’t make the playoffs but they have regained the respect of the league and the hope of the fans that this team once again has a future.
Not all the moves turned out to be good. Both trades with the Lincoln Stars turned sour. Each for different reasons. Patrick Knutson ended up leaving the team due to lack of playing time. It was obvious he wasn’t happy with the situation in Waterloo and decided to go elsewhere. Waterloo traded a high draft pick to Lincoln in return for the services of Beau Fritz. While Fritz was here he was sporadic but decent in replacing Josh Siembida. Perhaps one of the best goalies ever to play in the USHL on one of the worst teams. Fritz left after 11 games due to concern that he may lose years of NCAA eligibility if he played past his 21st birthday.
But back to Carlson and Nelson Read more »