It was thought last season after Grant Ledyard was signed, Adrian Aucoin was acquired from Vancouver, and Paul Mara was dealt to Phoenix, Tampa GM Rick Dudley would let the defense rest. Not so. Aucoin was dealt with winger Alexander Kharitonov for a bigger, younger defenseman (Mathieu Biron) and a second round pick (Andreas Holmqvist).
Gone was the experience of Ledyard and Aucoin, and the Lightning was back to having a young, underdeveloped back line.
Help was again brought in, however, as Ledyard found his way back to the Bay and Nolan Pratt was acquired from Colorado. Instead of Zyuzin paired with another offense-first defenseman in Aucoin, Nolan Pratt will try to bring a defensive-first presence to the pair. Pavel Kubina, Zyuzin and forward Brad Richards look to lead the PP from the point in Aucoin’s absence.
Here’s a look at the Lightning’s organizational defensive corps. Size and speed are the main ingredients for a player with a Bolt on his uniform, and the list proves it. Fortunately, a secondary ingredient includes at least a little, albeit not much, NHL experience this year.
The future looks big and bright on the Tampa blue-line. The present is quite blurry.
Read more »
AHL’s Southern Division Report
By Al Alven
(Special note: Due to logistics, the AHL South Report
will be published on a bi-weekly basis from this point
on. Thank you to everyone who has supported the report
in its first few weeks of existence!)
Last night, the South Division’s own
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins helped the AHL kick off
its 66th season as the team squared off against the
St. John’s Maple Leafs in the league opener. It was an
emotional night at the First Union Arena in
Wilkes-Barre, as the Penguins raised their Western
Conference championship banner and honored the victims
of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a moving
In the end, before a sell-out crowd of 8,143, the
Leafs wound up escaping with a 6-4 victory on the
road. The visitors displayed a very balanced team
effort, receiving goals from six different players:
Doug Doull, Petr Svoboda, Luca Cereda, Paul Healy,
Donald MacLean and Bobby House (empty net). The Pens
got a pair of goals from Billy Tibbetts and one each
from Alexander Zevakhin and Ross Lupaschuk.
Leafs goaltender Mike Minard was named the game’s
first star after stopping 28 of 32 shots, 14 of which
came in the third period. Veteran Robbie Tallas was
unspectacular for the Pens, allowing five goals on 29
Tonight, the Philadelphia Phantoms and Norfolk
Admirals will kick off their respective seasons as
well. The Hershey Bears are set to debut on Sunday
(see bottom of article for game listings). With this
is mind, the following is a brie Read more »
Hockey’s Future Daily Prospect Tracker
Possibly a new feature at Hockey’s Future, the Daily Prospect Tracker will give you updates of all prospects scoring exploits from the night before. No need searching through the papers squinting to see if a certain player scored! Just log on to HF every afternoon for all the information you need. In addition, please read below for more info……
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: DNP
Atlanta Thrashers: DNP
Boston Bruins: DNP
Buffalo Sabres: DNP
Calgary Flames: No Prospects with points
Carolina Hurricanes: DNP
Chicago Blackhawks: DNP
Colorado Avalanche: Vaclav Nedorost: 1 goal (PP), 1 assist, 2 shots
Columbus Bl Read more »
Hartford Wolf Pack Pre-season Wrap-up
The AHL will begin the 2001-02 season tonight; this is the final preseason wrap up for the Hartford Wolf Pack. All the transactions for Hartford are below, along with some news from the AHL.
AHL To Remember Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis
The AHL is going to pay honor to Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis who both lost their lives in the tragic attacks on America on September 11. All AHL teams will wear a red, white, and blue decal ribbon on their helmets with the numbers 15 and 17.
Ace Bailey played for the 1969 Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears, and was entering his eighth season as Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings.
Mark Bavis played parts of two seasons for the Providence Bruins and Fredericton Canadians between 1993 through 1995. Bavis was am amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings.
9/26/01 The New York Rangers have left the following players unprotected for Friday’s NHL Waiver Draft.
Sean Gagnon, Christian Gosselin, Sylvain Lefebvre, Terry Virtue
Forwards; Read more »
As the Philadelphia Flyers prepare to enter their 35th season in the National Hockey League tonight, they do so with a great deal of optimism and promise. In terms of roster depth, many have argued that this is the best team the Flyers have iced in decades. With a hoard of quality players at every position, the team is expected to make a strong bid for the Stanley Cup this season.
Despite the Flyers’ great depth, however, the team will once again rely on its AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, when the need arises. After all, injuries are about as much a part of hockey as pucks and missing teeth are. For the record, 13 players saw action with both the Flyers and Phantoms last season.
The following is a by-position listing of the 14 current Phantoms who I believe have a chance to play for the Flyers this season. Keep in mind that many of these players are extreme long shots to see action in the NHL this year, especially the ones further down on the list. Still, given the right circumstances, each has at least an outside chance of donning an orange and black sweater in 2001-02.
1. Marty Murray
An elite point producer at the AHL level, Murray is a very good bet to see time with the Flyers as an injury fill-in this season. Speedy, versatile and mentally tough, the diminutive center is a savvy player who knows his limitations. In seven games with the Calgary Flames last year, Murray played well in a defensive role without trying to overcompensate offensively. According to general manager Bob Clarke, the Delorain Read more »
It will be an interesting season for the Kings and their organization. On the NHL level, the Kings will face a pivotal season- they need to show L.A. that they are not penny pinching, but rather building a strong, defensive team. They will need to replace fan favorite Luc Robitaille and his on-ice and community presence. They will also have to hope Felix Potvin can go into his bag of tricks for another season and that the first full season without Rob Blake looks more like the end of last season than what many experts are predicting. Here is a rundown of best and worse case scenarios:
Best Case- The Kings play defense like last season, Potvin sparkles in net again and Bednar and Heinze pick up some of the scoring slack. Ken Belanger patrols the ice to keep the skill forwards healthy and Josef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy are healthy all season and are effective with Adam Deadmarsh. Eric Belanger takes the next step that the Kings think he can and Modry, Boucher, Lilja and Karalahti can fill in the final defensive pairing.
Worst Case- Potvin returns to the form that had him ticketed to the IHL last season. The defense is ineffective and lacks the hammer on the power play. Bednar turns into Tomas Vlasak. Karalahti and Lilja prove to be too slow and Boucher and Modry realize they are bottom-tier NHL defensemen. Ken Belanger suffers an early concussion and is unable to deter opposing players from running Ziggy Palffy and Josef Stumpel, who spend the majority of the season injured. Eric Belanger returns to the funk that kept him from the NHL before last season Read more »
1 Very strong group of prospects at forward and defense
Thanks to the trade of Jaromir Jagr and a recent upswing in the Penguins drafts, the team has assembled quite a collection of talent thoughout the organization. The Pens have first line talent in multiple positions, with some positions with having more than one player in that class. Even with the recent graduation of prospects Milan Kraft and Andy Ference, the Pens still had enough talent to be considered by Hockey’s Future as the top organization in terms of talent.
2 Wealth of talent at Center and Left Wing
The real strength of the Penguins prospect list is in it’s depth at both Center and Left Wing. Anchored by 1999 First Round pick, Kris Beech, the Pens’ collection of talent at Center is the top reason for their #1 ranking among all NHL teams. Michal Sivek is a first-rate talent that could be moved to wing because of his versatility. Shane Endicott took large strides last year in his development and showed his potential at training camp this year. Toby Peterson and Ben Eaves are 2 smallish sparkplugs with an eye for the net.
At left wing, the top name is Belorussian Konstantin Koltsov, who play one more season in Russia before making his North American debut. The speedy LW (possibly the fastest skater in the 1999 draft) is making strides to improve his scoring and defensive abilities. RPI forward Matt Murley could be one of the top goalscorers in the college ranks this season. Alexandre Zevahkin struggled early in his first season in the AHL, but pi Read more »
Highly skilled Chuck Kobasew, who left Boston College to join the Kelowna Rockets has continued to give fans and management of the Rockets more excitement than they can handle and he hasn’t even played a game yet. As was written in my article yesterday, Kobasew was slated for an opening day roster spot with the Calgary Flames, however the Flames and Kobasew’s agent were unable to come to contract terms and he was returned to junior yesterday afternoon.
After scoring five goals in six exhibition games for the offensively starved Flames, Kobasew looked like a lock to dress for Calgary’s opener against arch-rival Edmonton tonight, however, a deal couldn’t be consummated in order for Chuck to be in the line up, so he was sent to Kelowna. So for now, Rockets fans will be hoping Kobasew can give them as much excitement on the ice as he has off the ice so far.
Bruce Hamilton took a risk this past summer and sent forward Chris DiUbaldo plus futures to the Prince George Cougars for the rights to Kobasew who at the time was still a member of the Boston College Eagles. Hamilton gambled that he could talk the Osoyoos native into coming to Kelowna and play close to family and friends, but at first it appeared Chuck was going to stay at school. However, after a visit to Kelowna and some soul searching, Kobasew opted to forego his final three years of a full ride scholarship at Boston College and play for the Rockets. All seemed peachy in Ogopogo land.
Chuck was no longer in need of protecting his college eligibility so next up on his agenda was a spin at the Flam Read more »
In somewhat of a shocking story to many, Dan Blackburn has made the opening night roster for the New York Rangers as an 18 year old. This happens to be a very rare situation for a goaltender. Rarely are goalie playing in the NHL at 18 years old, but Blackburn has proved that he belongs here. For now at least.
Blackburn appeared in five pre-season games, posting a 2-1-1 record while notching a 3.49 GAA and a .913 Save percentage. The goals against average is nothing to get excited about, but you have to remember that the team playing in front of him was not the Rangers opening night squad. They were mostly a group of hopefuls and rookies trying to earn roster spots. Blackburn sparkled at times, and showed that he could handle being the back-up to Mike Richter. Blackburn has always played at a level or two above his age group, and now he is showing he can play in the NHL at 18. The Rangers have signed him to a contract, and it is believed to be a three year deal worth the rookie max of $3.525 million.
The interesting question is whether Blackburn sticks with the Rangers for the full season. He can not be assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, as he still has junior eligibility remaining. The Rangers can send him to Hartford for a two-week conditioning stint, but after that he either has to stay with the Rangers or be sent back to his junior team, the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Under NHL rules, Blackburn is allowed to play 10 games in the NHL before he loses a year of exemption from waiver draft. He can be sent back to juniors at any time d Read more »
Making the Cut: The Inaugural Edition
Welcome to the first ever feature of “Making the Cut” at Hockey’s Future! We hope this feature can help you track your favorite prospects and see if they made an NHL opening night squad. Hockey’s Future is also planning to get to have this list for the NHL playoff rosters and possibly expanding out to the junior and Minor League teams as well down the road. But in the meantime, please read on and enjoy!
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Timo Parssinen, D Antti Jussi Niemi.
Atlanta Thrashers: RW Ilya Kovalchuk, LW Dany Heatley, RW Brad Tapper, C Kamil Piros.
Boston Bruins: D Nick Boynton, D Pavel Kolarik, G Tim Thomas
Buffalo Sabres: None
Calgary Flames: C Steve Begin, C Chris Clark
Carolina Hurricanes: LW Erik Cole
Chicago Blackhawks: LW Mark Bell
Read more »