Every June, the NHL holds its annual talent replenishment in the form of the Entry Draft. Each draft is unique in that a particular position, or perhaps one league, team or country ends up being the main fixation of NHL GMs in the draft’s early going. With that thought in mind, the theme for the first couple rounds of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft will almost certainly be “The Russians Are Coming!”
By the time the 1st round is completed next Saturday, there will likely have been 9-10 Russian players drafted, a figure that represents 1/3 of the 1st round choices. When the 15th pick comes up, a pick held by the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo may well be one of those teams that looks toward the talent-rich former Soviet Union for their top pick in the draft.
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SCOOP up those Messiers. This was my thinking in the first year of this wave of expansion, but I quickly realized that if your salary starts out outrageous, you will sooner than later contend with an outrageous salary transferring over to guys on your roster who were ranked #16 on their original teams rosters. Follow me on this: The “star” comes and makes 4 mil. and plays first line wing for example. The guy you got playing second line gets lucky and scores 5 goals and 20 points less than your ‘star’, so when his contract is up, he goes to arbitration and has a strong case for a huge raise. this continues throughout your entire roster.
When there was the first wave of expansion from 6 to 12 teams, a guy could come in from an original six roster and establish himself as a let’s say, #1 or #2 defenseman, on an expansion team. An original club would see his improvement over the course of say three years, and might have a chance to trade for him. THEY would not because he would want the money level he was getting on the weaker club. (He IS worth it you say?) He may be…but when he arrives your #2-4 guys know he is as good as they are and getting paid more than he is worth compared to them. The term “it will throw off our salary base” has always been a major concern by NHL owners even when they were making a killing at the gate, and had players at next to nothing wages.
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With the Red Wings forward prospects cupboard bare, the chance of losing 2 promising young players in the expansion draft, an aging roster, and no #1 pick in 2001 it will be critical for the Wings to pick up 2 or 3 forwards with some skill in this years draft. With this in mind GM Ken Holland sent a large portion of his scouting staff to Europe at the end of the season, hoping to uncover a few talented forwards.
The Red Wings have only 3 or 4 forwards in their organization with a good chance of making an NHL roster, and none of them has 1st or 2nd line talent. They have not drafted a contributing NHL forward since Tomas Holmstrom in 1994, and have not drafted a 1st or 2nd line player since 1990 when they picked Keith Primeau and Slava Kozlov.
In the coming expansion draft (June 23rd) the Wings stand to lose 2 of the following young players(C-Stacy Roest, LW-Daryl Laplante, D-Maxim Kuznetsov, D-Yan Golubovsky, G-Manny Legace). The Wings decided it was more important to protect proven NHL veterans Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby, so it looks like the future is still being mortgaged in hockeytown.
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The Los Angeles Kings face a critical couple of weeks as they will hope Minnesota and Columbus do not clean them out in the expansion draft and then hope a skilled forward lasts to their pick in the expansion draft.
The Kings expansion protected list was a couple players shy of what the Kings were hoping for. After potentially holding their cards too long the Kings had to protect two goalies and therefore could not protect Sean O’Donnell and Pavel Rosa. The loss of either or both of these players would hurt the Kings. Rosa is the most tradable forward in the Kings organization and after suffering through some horrible seasons, Sean O’Donnell has turned himself into a solid blueliner and an imposing fighter whose lack of penalty minutes speaks to his evolution. He is also one of the top scrappers on the team. Since O’Donnell knocked out Jeff Odgers a couple years ago, most enforcers have steered clear of Odie.
Rosa is still an attractive offensive forward that the Kings could package with a goalie after the draft and possibly get a major contributor. Rosa is also the best of a poor collection of forwards in the Kings system and his departure would leave the cupboard bare.
The 2000 entry draft is vital for the Kings future. They seem to be solid at goalie and defensemen, so drafting some forwards with size and skill who can contribute will be key.
When the 1999 NHL draft came and went everyone seemed excited with the idea that the Rangers had managed to reel in two blue chip prospects. One fact that was ignored however, was that the cost of adding these players was the loss of a first round pick in the 2000 draft. The Rangers would have drafted 8th overall and they may have ended up with a solid player, but the fact of the matter is the 1999 draft was far superior to the 2000 version in both depth and initial talent levels. A year later the Rangers have two kids who should fight for an NHL spot while it appears Tampa Bay will merely get a “good” player with a chance at the NHL. While nothing is for certain the Rangers should end up with the better end of the stick on this one. With a new GM in the fold the team attempts to pull off the feat of drafting a solid NHL prospect in the second round, something they have had very limited success with in the past 4 years.
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Finally the Oilers may discontinue their horrendous draft record from the years 1984 to 1992, where not one of their first round picks made the team, by having another solid day at picking and choosing the hope for the future. Under the Current salary restrictions of being a small market team Edmonton must build through the draft since it has very little chance of competing on the free agent market. Also, development of these players is even more crucial because of the recent resignation of Glen Sather who made one savvy deal after another to keep his team from falling into the basement of the league.
This years war room is headed by director of player personnel Kevin Pendergast who has been with the Oilers for nine years and is on the lookout for players who might eventually have to replace Doug Weight since he is a free agent in two seasons. A big scoring center is at the top of the list, and preferably one that could possibly come and play in a couple of seasons. This would be a luxury they have not had since Jason Arnott.
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As the Sharks head into the 2000 draft, barring any draft day trades, the Sharks will not end up with any bluechip prospects, or anyone ready to fill holes immediately. Being a weak draft, and since the Sharks enter this draft with no first round pick, the chances of them picking up anyone of substance are slim.
Holes the Sharks may try to fill this year are up front, as their defense is set for years to come. Unless a top goaltending prospect drops into the 3rd round, I don’t expect them to pick a goalie until the 5th round. Their most important need at this point resides at left wing where the Sharks remain thin and center, which is still a question mark.
The Sharks’ 1st round selection belongs to the Montreal Canadians as a result of the deal that brought Vincent Damphousse to San Jose. Barring any draft day trades, which I would not be surprised at, the Sharks will enter a draft for the first time without a first round draft pick.
The Sharks hold the option whether to give Montreal this year’s 2nd round choice or their 2nd round choice in 2001 as a result of the Damphousse trade. My opinion is that the Sharks should give Montreal this year’s pick for 2 main reasons. First, this draft simply isn’t very good, and 2001′s draft is very good. Next year, the Sharks could easily acquire a 2nd tier prospect in the 2nd round (a player normally a late 1st rounder). Second, next year’s pick is likely to be lower given an expected improvement next year. Read more »
by Derek Cheng
Boston Bruins defenseman Hal Gill stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 240 pounds. Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr once proclaimed him to be the toughest one-on-one rearguard in the National Hockey League.
Martin Grenier stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. He has yet to make his first appearance in a Bruins’ uniform, but fans and management can already feel the impact he could make.
Now imagine these two young giants (Gill, 25 and Grenier 20) standing across Boston’s blueline. It is enough to make every Bruins fan smile and any opponents fearful.
Martin Grenier was orginally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche (45th overall) in the ’99 Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Bruins along with Swedish prospect Samuel Pahlsson and veteran forward Brian Rolston on March 6, 2000. Grenier has some big skates to fill, as he was the only defenseman acquired for Bruins legend Ray Bourque. Grenier had been pegged as a first round pick in ’99, but some scouts felt he lacked discipline and that his skating was sub-par. He improved his game considerably in ’99-’00, but many feel that he is still a wildcard in the trade for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.
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The 2000 NHL entry draft is right around the corner and I am back as I promised in my previous article. I will now focus on Slovak players who might be picked in this draft. I divided these players into four categories. The first category includes hot prospects who are ranked in the top 40 of the North American and European CSB lists. The second category includes kids who are ranked in the top 100. The third category mentions junior prospects who were not ranked. The fourth and final category specifies over-aged players who are in my opinion really solid prospects not only for the top European Elites but also for the NHL, even though they are not 18 or 19.
No doubt that Marián Gáborík (CSB Euro #4, 02-14-1982, 6’1″ 183 lb., LW, Trencín – Extraliga, 50GP 25G-22A-47Pts +1 34PIM) is the top Slovak and European prospect. He has a real chance to be the #1 pick. While CSB ranks him at #4 on the European list, a lot of scouts, GM’s, journalists, and fans do not dispute that he is the best prospect. It does not matter whether Marián will be selected as #1 or 2 or 3. He has all the potential to start in the best hockey league next season and prove his obvious talent. In the last two seasons he refused more serious offers from IHL and QMJHL (where he was picked in the import draft) and stayed to play in the Slovak Elite – Extraliga. However, next season will be a big challenge for him and he will make the account of that.
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After two years of building the franchise and laying the foundation for success in the NHL, the Nashville Predators will participate in their third Entry Draft on June 24 and 25 in Calgary. The Predators will select sixth overall, barring a trade to move up or down in the first round order. Rumors and speculation about possible trades have been circulating for several weeks, especially in the wake of the New York Islanders winning the draft lottery and moving up to the top overall pick. What the Predators do in the first round will likely be determined by those potential deals, whether Nashville is involved in them or not.
Lately, Nashville GM David Poile has talked about trading down, especially if there is no one the team is excited about at the sixth pick. Poile has indicated that the team might use its “time out” option when its pick comes up in the draft, to allow more time for trade negotiations. If another team wants a player badly enough at the sixth pick and is willing to pay the price in order to move up, Poile would love to make the kind of trade that Tampa Bay did last year, when the Lightning acquired Dan Cloutier and Niklas Sundstrom, along with first and third round draft picks in 2000 in exchange for the fourth overall selection in 1999. The chances of that kind of deal emerging are very slim, but Nashville will definitely listen to all offers on draft day.
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