With the Rangers holding the 10th overall pick, the needs are clear, first a banging, physical forward with size and skill. In order to show what the Rangers really need one has to analyze what they have as of draft day.
The prospect roster is stocked with goaltending with Johan Holmqvist, Vitali Yeremeyev, Johan Asplund and Jason Labarbera leading the list. This is an area that does not need any tinkering and any one of these can step in as back up to a “healthy” Mike Richter or whomever G.M. Sather crowns as No.1 in 2001-02.
DEFENSE: The defense has some solid prospects in Mike Mottau, Pat Aufiero, Filip Novak and recovering Tomas Kloucek but this area is not as deep as one would like either. As we wait for Wes Jarvis and Burke Henry to develop one knows that with each passing month they are not with the big club, chances are they will not make a steady contribution to the Rangers in the “show”.
Forward: The Rangers forward stock is thin at best. An active off season will have to me made via free agency and trade and not less important via the draft to fill the cabinets not only in NY but for their AHL affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut. The past year’s drafts of smallish players like Christian Dube (Switzerland) and Marc Savard (traded to Calgary) must shift to a higher gear, one that looks for bigger players that CAN contribute at the NHL level.
The Toronto Roadrunners sound extremely hopeful of one day joining the AHL, but the chances of that happening appear to be very slim.
The Roadrunners were scheduled to join the International Hockey League in 2002, but the IHL folded,with six other teams from the now-defunct league absorbed by the AHL. The Roadrunners say they will apply for an AHL expansion franchise this summer, but there may not be any room.
The AHL will have 27 teams next season and league president and CEO Dave Andrews hopes to see that number increase to 30 for 2002-03 with the activation and relocation of three mothballed franchises – the Louisville Panthers, who recently suspended operations; the Adirondack Red Wings (owned by Detroit); and P.E.I. Senators (owned by Ottawa). That would provide one affiliate for every NHL team. And since Andrews says the AHL will not have more member clubs than the 30-team NHL (which has no plans for expansion), it’s unlikely any application from the Roadrunners would get much support.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken a more than cool attitude to the possible presence of the Roadrunners in their backyard. St. John’s general manager Bill Watters, who is also the assistant to Leafs’ president Ken Dryden, says the NHL team has no interest in the future of the Roadrunners.
“The only thing we’ve said to them is that we have absolutely no interest in being their affiliate,” said Watters. “St. John’s is where our farm team is located and we’ve made it clear we’re very happy with that arrangement.”
It may b Read more »
Projecting the future is, at best, a tricky proposition. That is especially true when the future you are trying to predict is that of teenage hockey player. There are so many variables at work that there are bound to be more misses than hits, even in the early stages of the NHL draft. Predicting the future, however, is exactly what NHL scouts are paid to do and there are certain franchises that seem to regularly come up with players who go on to become contributors at the NHL level, while other organizations seem to come up empty year after year.
There are generally two components to a team’s drafting philosophy. The first is whether they try to fill a positional need or whether they go for what they think is the best player available at that point, regardless of his position. The second facet is the order in which teams rank the following criteria when assessing a potential draftee’s upside: size and strength (either current or “projected”, i.e., after a young player’s frame fills out); skating ability; level of competition; offensive statistics; and reports on the player’s coachability.
A team’s drafting record is often credited to (or blamed upon, as the case may be) the organization’s general manager. Although they rarely have the opportunity to scout the players directly, the GMs are the ones who have the final say and the ones who decide which of their scouts’ recommendations to trust when there is not a concensus on a pick. It is also the GMs who have selected many of the scouts in the first place, although there are usually carryover scouts from previo Read more »
The NHL Entry Draft is an event which is, first and foremost, about the future. Teams are attempting to bolster their organizational depth and set their organizations on a course which should keep them competitive into the next decade and beyond. The stars of the day are young players who won’t impress themselves into the minds of casual hockey fans for years, if at all. Despite that, winning now will always be the primary issue in the eyes of NHL General Managers, and after the TV cameras are shut off and the National Car Rental Center in Miami begins to empty, teams will have an opportunity to address their current rosters by delving into the ranks of European players they’ve ignored in the past. Players initially deemed too small, too slow, or lacking the skill to succeed in North America continue to hone their skills in their respective domestic leagues, and every year a substantial group will advance to the point at which they’ll merit a draft selection and receive chance to prove themselves in the NHL.
It wasn’t always this way – the top European players were drafted into NHL organizations as teenagers, and those who were passed over would be extremely unlikely ever to get another chance. However, as the NHL reached the mid-1990s, this suddenly began to change. The calibre of the top European leagues was continuing to rise while the pace of the NHL was dropping due to expansion and a diluted talent pool so the gap between the level of play on the two continents narrowed like never before. Those teams on the cutting edge who came to this realization fir Read more »
The Tampa Bay Lightning has entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey League.
Less than a month ago the Lightning signed an affiliation agreement with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. The Lightning are expected to supply Springfield with ten players, as will Phoenix, who shares the affiliation. They will send an unspecified number to Pensacola.
“There are several reasons why we are very happy to be entering into this agreement with the Pensacola Ice Pilots,” General Manager Rick Dudley said.“The first is that I have a great deal of respect for new Ice Pilots head coach Todd Gordon and I was very pleased by the way he’s treated our young players in the past.”
“Additionally, the Ice Pilots are a first-class operation and one of the premiere franchises in the ECHL. Finally, the geography of the relationships is good for us, as it will afford us the opportunity to see our players on a regular basis.”
Tampa Bay was previously affiliated with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL and Detroit Vipers of the IHL.
According to John Dellapina of the New York Daily News, defenseman Matt Kinch and forward Layne Ulmer are both close to signing with the New York Rangers. The signings could be announced as early as today
Matt Kinch is a small, mobile defenseman with solid offensive ability. He played with Pavel Brendl in Calgary of the Western Hockey League, and he would add more depth to our young defense. Although he may not have the ability to play in the NHL, the Rangers would like to develop him in Hartford and hope one day he could wear the Broadway blue. Kinch was drafted in the 5th round in ’99 by the Buffalo Sabres, but failed to come to terms with the team.
As for Layne Ulmer, he has been an offensive force in the WHL for the last couple of years. Over the last 3 seasons, he has scored more goals than anyone else in the WHL, besides Pavel Brendl. Drafted in the 7th round of the ’99 draft by the Ottawa Senators, Ulmer was not signed by the Senators as they felt he would not be a future NHLer.
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 »
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.
Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee told the Washington Post on Tuesday as saying that the Capitals would “devote one opening-season roster spot to a rookie” (The Washington Post, 6/5/01).
The last two rookies to crack Washington’s lineup full-time were Jeff Halpern and Trent Whitfield. Both of these players showed some similar qualities that helped them each displace a veteran player. I’ll try to look at these qualities and attempt to examine what the current crop of Capitals prospects needs to do to make the big squad.
First (and what I believe to be of paramount importance) is both Halpern and Whitfield worked extremely hard at everything they did and did not complain when their roles were limited at times. Both came to camp in excellent shape, and neither were afraid to play the tight-checking game required for the NHL. Halpern scored consistently in the pre-season games in 1999, and Trent Whitfield was leading the AHL’s Portland Pirates in scoring at the time of his recall last year. They both earned their promotions.
Halpern and Whitfield do little things like backcheck on every shift, block shots, and dig along the boards for loose pucks. They are rarely out of position, not afraid to hit people, and have both dropped the gloves a couple of times.
They are both “team first” players.
I think that whoever makes the Capitals will have to show the same kind of commitment that these two players have shown in the last two years. While Whitfield and Halpern are more in the mold of defensive forwar Read more »
Although the traditional media sources have recently begun to talk about Sweden’s Mikael Tellqvist with much greater regularity, Maple Leafs fans have been following this brilliant young netminder’s exploits all season long here at Hockey’s Future. We owe a great deal of credit to correspondent Jan Buben for supplying us with this information on a weekly basis. In order to ensure that no one out there is left hanging, here is the final chapter for Tellqvist’s remarkable season in the Swedish Elite League.
Down 2 games to 1 after three in the final series, Djurgarden found itself in a must-win situation. They responded accordingly in Game 4. Tellqvist made some key saves early on – especially during a stretch when his team was down two men. Djurgarden survived this shaky start and then began to show their best form. Niklas Falk, a key figure on Djurgarden´s power play unit, started things off by setting up the first goal and then scored the second one himself – both coming with the man advantage. Farjestad then managed to get one past Tellqvist, but Djurgarden continued to dominate as the first period came to a close.
In the second period, it was very quickly 3-1 and then, after another fine piece of stickhandling by Falk, 4-1 for Djurgarden. In the final period Farjestad attempted to rally, but Tellqvist would surrender only one more goal. Finally, Djurgarden scored its third power-play goal of the night to win this key game 5-2. Mikael stopped 25 of 27 shots and really gave his team a chance to succeed after a slow start.
In Game 5, Djurgard Read more »