A funny thing happened on the Ontario Hockey League coaching carousel
this year. While teams in trouble often look at younger coaches, this
season’s selections include coaches with previous Ontario Hockey League
experience. Even Bill Stewart – recently hired by the Barrie Colts after
being let go by the New York Islanders – enjoyed success previously with
Oshawa, taking the Generals to the Memorial Cup in 1997.
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Eye of the Hurricane a Hurricane’s Draft Review
As the Hurricanes look to relocate for the third time in what seems as many years, they bring along two future players that could end up making a mark for themselves in Greensboro. The Canes have been seeking a good powerplay quaterback and offensive defencmen for quite sometime now. They got a good one in David Tanabe.
Tannabe played for Wisconsin this past season, and made a name for himself by sticking with the US World Junior team. Although his numbers weren’t that great, they must have been overlooked due to his age and speed. Tannabe could perhaps be the fastest defencmen in the draft. He’s alot like Bret Hedican but with more offensive potential. He makes great passes and posses a very good shot. He’s a bit below the average size for a defencmen at 6 foot 1, but he’s still growing. Canes fans will have to wait for him. He’s in the College program and it doesn’t look like he’ll opt out to get a chance to play in the NHL. That’s not a bad thing though. Most likely the Canes will wait for him, he’s got such a good package of speed and skill that the wait won’t be long. After the Canes experiment with Paul Coffey faltered it appears as though they have found an offensive defencmen that they have craved.
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Since the draft on Saturday, I have seen and heard reactions from various people, their comments covering the entire spectrum. Some have said that the Lightning had the worst draft of all the teams and others have said that they had one of the best. Let me give you my views on why I think that they had one of the better drafts on Saturday.
Let’s start with the focal point of the entire controversy, the first round trades. Everybody who says that Tampa blew it, says so because they traded away the chance to draft Pavel Brendl. In fact is, if the trades had not come along, they would have drafted Brendl even if they had kept the first overall pick. They would not have taken a chance on Stefan, and the only other possibility would have been a move to acquire both Sedins. Brendl was on top of their list by far. When they heard that Vancouver had already made moves to get the twins, and they already knew that Atlanta wanted Stefan, they saw the opportunity to move down and still get their man. They made the trade to move down to fourth and got two third round picks for that. Then, the Rangers called, and they knew the Rangers really wanted Brendl. They ended up getting two players, Sundstrom and Cloutier, along with two picks next year, a first round and a third round for their #4 overall. So if you break down the trades it works out to essentially this….
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With the 17th pick in the 1999 NHL entry draft the St. Louis Blues are proud to select… Barret Jackman.
The Blues have built an impressive stable of forward prospects in a short period of time, but depth on the blue line was obviously a concern at the draft on Saturday. Barret Jackman, the first of six defenseman selected, stands only 6’0-1/2″ tall, but could grow an inch or so by the time he’s ready for the NHL. One of the most physical players in the draft, Barret throws his 200 Ibs. around very well, and is a strong skater with excellent hockey sense. He reads the play well at both ends of the ice. He won’t put up big offensive numbers, but don’t be fooled by his 259 penalty minutes. He had 8 goals and 36 assists good for 44 points; an improvement from last years 13 points as a rookie. With his hard accurate slapshot and willingness to join the rush, Barret could develop into a 30 to 45 point defenseman in the NHL.
Peter Smrek, another defenseman, was discovered by European scout Peter Stastny. Smrek’s play at the World Junior Championships had his draft stock rising, and even at 20 years old the Blues took a chance on him in the third round.
Chad Starling, the fourth round pick by the Blues, is a hulking defenseman that uses his reach to his advantage but needs to get stronger and more physical. At 6-6 207lbs. he already has the size, he just needs to improve his puck skills and skating. Starling is definitely a project and will need plenty of time to develop.
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BOSTON: The Flyers brass came to Boston, armed with great intentions and a solid plan. But a step out of character by the hometown Bruins threw a monkeywrench into Bobby Clarke’s plans when they selected Nick Boynton of the Ottawa 67′s with the 22nd pick in Saturday’s draft. Unfortunately for Flyers fans, their fall back plan certainly left something to be desired. The Flyers selected Maxime Ouellet, a big, talented goalie from Quebec, who now gives the Flyers three “goalies of the future” in their system.
Clarke had his heart set on taking Boynton, who had re-entered the draft, after failing to come to terms with both the Capitals and the Hawks over the past two years since being drafted ninth by Washington in 1997. Boynton is coming off of a great season with the Memorial Cup champs and was named MVP of the final tournament. Being twenty years old, Boynton could have pushed for an NHL job or could have been sent across the parking lot to the Phantoms for some pro seasoning. The guy has the size and speed to go along with a nice offensive game. And Clarke was hoping that the potential contract battles with Boynton and his agent Anton Thun would have kept the poorer NHL teams from selecting Boynton.
He almost made it.
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With the first step to financial recovery finally behind them, the Penguins began a new era with the draft on Saturday. None of their draft picks this season are expected to save the franchise like player-turned-owner Mario Lemieux did, but nonetheless, there could be a couple of impact players in this draft for the Penguins.
The Penguins seemed to make an attempt to fill some needs, such as their lack of depth on the left side and lack of size on the blueline. They drafted one goaltender, three defensemen, and seven forwards (six left wings, one right wing). Three picks came from Europe, two from the OHL, two from the ECAC, and one from each of the QMJHL, WHL, WCHA, and USHL.
Here’s a look at their draft picks this year:
1: Konstantin Kolstov, LW(1st Round, 18th overall)
Vitals: 6’0″ 187lbs 18 years old
Stats: Cherepovec (Russia) 33 Games, 3G-0A-3PTS 8PIM.
Belarus (WJC) 6 Games, 4G-3A-7PTS 30PIM.
Belarus (U-18) 5 Games, 5G-2A-7PTS.
A wild card who was unknown until the World Junior Championships, Kolstov is touted as the best skater in the draft with good speed and acceleration, some even go as far to say that he is faster than Pavel Bure. He is a good puckhandler and has shown his offensive skills in international tournaments, despite his low numbers in the Russian Elite League. He’s probably at least two years away and will spend at least all of next season in Russia.
2: Matt Murley, LW – (2nd Round, 51st overall)
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The 1999 draft is over and the first round was as European as expected. From a Finnish point of view this draft went surprisingly well – 18 Finns got drafted. It’s a quite high number when you compare it to previous years.
There’s this interesting trend going on in Finland: 1990s has been the decade of hockey in Finland. Hockey is no longer sports, it’s entertainment business and a legitimate career option to young boys. The number of young hockey players is going up all the time and with Jari’s, Teemu’s and Jere’s example every kid wants to make it in the NHL one day.
Ten years ago there were no hockey agents in Finland, now there are plenty of them. Our junior national teams, (especially our U18 team), have been very succesful in last 5 years. Still only 2 goalies (Ahonen, Jokela), 2 D-men (Harikkala, Kesä) and 2 forwards (Salmelainen, Hyytiä) got drafted from this year’s U18 gold medal team. Coach Jouko Lukkarila said ”we don’t play for the scouts, we play to win.”
A new trend is that players who really haven’t been noticed by national team coaches get drafted now (Sainomaa, Ruutu, Rajamäki). It indicates that NHL team scout more and more European players and they have now full time scouts following the European junior leagues and not just elite players at international tournaments as they used to do.
Here are the Finnish players who got drafted: Read more »
Toronto is now on the clock. The 1999 first round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs is center, Luca Cereda out of Switzerland, of all places. A place which is not exactly the Mecca of NHL prospects. Once you dive into Cereda’s potential, you see why coach Pat Quinn was smiling as he shook Luca’s hand just after his choice was announced. After a rough week in the management department of the Leafs, it was nice to see that familar smile on the coach’s face.
Luca has excellent size at 6-2, 200 lbs. with a thick, powerful lower body. He is very strong on the puck, almost impossible to knock off of it. He is a playmaking center first, but is not afraid to shoot the puck when it is available. He loves to lead the play, hold onto the puck until the last second, before dishing it off to a teammate in better position to score. He has demonstrated very good vision on the ice and excellent hockey instincts. He does have a wicked wrist shot and a nice, quick release. He has soft hands for work near the net. He is a quick skater, but not a burner. His lower body strength and balance should make him very strong along the boards. He has not shown a tendency to be a big physical presence, but he doesn’t shy away from physical play either as he battles for position. He is a responsible 2-way player who is a strong faceoff man.
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The Washington Capitals didn’t waste much time replenishing their rather depleted prospect pool. With five of the top thirty-seven picks on Saturday, Washington was virtually guaranteed to come away with a strong group of players. The Capitals did not disappoint.
Once the calm had hit the Fleet Center, following the wild opening to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Washington just sat back and waited to see who the Islanders and Nashville would take. I’m pretty sure that, Capitals, General Manager, George McPhee was thrilled to see the player who many felt was the fifth best player (outside the universal elite four) still on the board.
Kris Beach must have been an easy choice for Washington. Though Kris is a bit on the thin side weighting only 178 pounds, but at 6-foot-2 he has room to grow. I’m sure the Capitals will find a way of beefing up this Western Hockey League star.
Beech is described as an explosive skater with a quick first step and a fluid stride. He is very agile and pivots either way equally well making it hard for opponents to hit him in open-ice. His play making skills are considered top end and his puckhandling may have been the best in the draft. Although he is on the thin side, Kris has shown a willingness to play along the wall and he gets into scoring position well. Though his offensive game is impressive, Beech is also a willing back- checker. He understands that the defensive end is important and he does what has to be done to stop an opponent.
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The 1999 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone and the Washington Capitals did a very good job resupplying their prospects ranks. The Capitals had 5 of the top 37 picks in the draft, and all five of those were added to the new ranking.
I decided to include several players who finished the season with Washington, because none are guaranteed a roster spot next season. Those players are: Alexei Tezikov, Nolan Baumgartner, Matt Herr, Beniot Gratton and Patrick Bolieau.
Team Strength Team Weaknesses
- Strong goaltending depth – Little raw skill
- Lots of solid two-way defensemen – Little pure scoring depth
- Plenty of size and toughness – Lack of a pure #1
defensemen or goalie – Good speed
June 21, 1999
Washington has acquired the rights to center Jeff Nelson from the Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations. The club also announced it has signed Nelson to a two-year NHL contract. Nelson spent last season with Nashville and Milwaukee (IHL)
June 1, 1999
Washington was unable to work out a contract with 1997 draft pick Nick Boynton, he re-enter the 1999 draft and Boston picked him at #21 overall.
Jean-Luc Thieren (G) was not offered a contract, he also re-enters the draft, but goes unselected.
May 27, 1999
Curtis Cruickshank (G) is signed to a three year contract. Washington picks up the option year on Trevor Halverson’s (LW) contract.
May 19,1999 Read more »