When Dan Blackburn’s name was called
by New York Rangers GM Glen
Sather last June, you couldn’t help to
feel anything but pride and joy for the
18-year-old goaltending phenom
who in two short years had captured the
hearts of Kootenay ICE fans by
backstopping the club to a WHL title
and Memorial Cup appearance only one
year prior. It is, after all, the natural
progression of Major Junior hockey.
Budding teenage hockey prodigies
arrive, take the local club to glorious
heights, get noticed by pro scouts, are
drafted and move to the bright lights and
big cities of the NHL. In a perfect world
that would happen after four years of
yeomen service in the junior ranks.
Unfortunately in the world of Junior
hockey its fans and its burgeoning stars,
it is far from perfect.
Upon further examination of the New
Rangers roster it is enough to make you
cheer for the Canmore, Alta. native’s
chances but it is also evidence enough to
make you quietly cringe at the
realization that the ‘tender affectionately
known as ‘Blackie’ could quite possibly
be sitting on the bench for the Broadway
BlueShirts this season. Crazy talk, you
say? One look at the Rangers sheer lack
of depth in goal might make any
naysayers change their tune.
Two significant developments out of
New York this past week shed some
light on the situation. First, All-Star
goalie Mike Richter announces that he
almost certainly will be ready to resume
his place as the Ranger’s number one
goalie after recovering from blowing out
his knee back in February. His second Read more »
Hey there Hockey’s Future fanatics! This is our 4th+ year running
strong here at Hockey’s Future and we only look to get better with many
exciting things planned for the upcoming year. As times change, so must
Hockey’s Future. Today we unveil a brand new re-design of Hockey’s Future,
with a much more organized look and feel. Of course, since it is something
new, there are quite a bit of changes. We would love to hear your feedback
on the layout (good or bad). So send us an e-mail Feedback@hockeysfuture.com
and we’ll definitely be listening to the feedback you send in.
Also with the re-design of Hockey’s Future, we are now accepting advertisers who are looking for some great exposure on one of the top 20 hockey web sites online in terms of traffic. We have some great packages set up, so check out our Advertising part of the site and see if you or someone you know might be interested. This will help us grow and further our coverage of the top hockey prospects from around the world.
Now on to the BIG NEWS: The Day to Day operations of Hockey’s Future will
now be run by Mark Fischel
(Managing Editor) and Shane
Malloy (Asst. Managing Editor). We the Taylor brothers(Bryan, Eric and Craig) are forced to focus our efforts on other ventures that are a bit more profitable which allow us to keep HF open and growing. We will work closely with Shane and Mark to Read more »
The Atlanta Thrashers beat the midnight deadline on Wednesday to sign the first overall selection in the 2001 draft Ilya Kovalchuk. The deal is reportedly worth $3.4 million for 3 years, the maximum allowed for rookies by the NHL.
Kovalchuk, who dominated in the High League last year, amassed 42 goals in 51 games. Along with an excellent U-18 performance, Ilya virtually guaranteed himself the first-overall position months before the draft.
If Kovalchuk had not been signed, he would have returned to play in Russia, playing for Spartak of the Superleague. Now that he is signed, expect Ilya to make the Thrashers’ roster. However, making the team will not be a walk in the park. Kovalchuk is expected to battle Lubos Bartecko and Patrik Stefan for a left-wing spot on the top 2 lines. Hnat Domenichelli and Ladislav Kohn are the other two left wings battling for a roster spot with Atlanta.
If Ilya fails to make the Atlanta roster, he will play another year in Russia, competing a level higher, versus older and more physical competition.
During last year, Ilya earned a reputation for being an intimidating, physical competitor, with a bruising two-way style. Despite certain questions arising about his maturity, Thrashers GM Don Waddell has remained positive about Kovalchuk’s attitude. He stated that Ilya had exceptional work ethic and that his desire to succeed was strictly a positive for his development. Keeping in mind the Thrashers’ second half struggles last year, it might be a good idea to add a good dosage of intensity Read more »
World’s top 1984 born players, excluding the USA team gathered this
week in the Czech cities Nymburk, Kolin and Mlada Boleslav to take part in the World Junior
Cup of the Under-18 teams. Lots of future NHLers play here and lots of scouts watch them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch a game of the Czech team, but I was at the Sweden-Russia
contest instead. I concentrated mostly on the Russian players like forwards Vladislav Evseev, Dmitri
Kazionov, Nikolai Zherdev or Dmitri Korneev and defensemen Anton Babchuk with Kirill Stepanov,
all of whom will likely become top draft picks in their respective draft years. On the Swedish
team, top 2003 prospect Robert Nilsson caught my eye. I’ll try to comment their game with their
strengths and weaknesses after a recap of the game.
As it could be forseen, both teams showed a fast-paced game with some great plays from some
individuals. There weren’t lots of hits, even if in the first seconds of the game a Swedish
player delivered a great hit which sent his Russian opponent to the Russia’s players bench.
The young Swedes played defensively very well and the Russians had a hard time finding holes
in their defense. But they have players who can find them. The tall alternate captain with
the number 19 on his back, Vladislav Evseev, immediately showed his great skill when he grabbed
the puck in the neutral zone, went for an one-on-one situation, deked the Swedish defenseman
with a nifty stick move but was too close to the Swedish goalie Joakim Lundstrom to lift the
puck over him and Lundstrom made a save.
Pl Read more »
The Kings selected a a player who will pay immediate dividents with their 51st selection in the second round of the 2001 draft, 6-0 198-pound native of Prague, Czech Republic, forward Jaroslav Bednar.
Jaroslav spent the past two seasons playing in the Finnish Elite League, tallying in with 66 goals and registering 122 points in 109 games played. He also led the league in goals this past ’00-’01 season with 32.
In ’99-’00, Bednar finished fifth in scoring and in the Finnish Elite League with 62 points, one point behind former King prospect Tomas Vlasak, and fourth in goals. It is clear that his specialty is putting the biscuit in the basket.
Bednar is listed as playing Center, but the right handed forward displayed some versatility in his game by playing both sides of the wing this season, and that is a positive for the Kings as they seem to be penciling him in as having a role on the leftwing on one of the three top lines. “Jaroslav Bednar is a Czech player who has spent the last two seasons in Finland. He is a very skilled forward who is a good skater and moves the puck well,” said Taylor. “We think Bednar has an excellent chance of playing for our team next season.”
Taylor added these comments when Vlasak and Rosa’s names were brought up in comparison to Bednar…
“Bednar has NHL skills and his offensive ability has improved the
last three years,” general manager Dave Taylor said. “He is an
offensive-minded player. He is a better skater and stronger than the
other two. I think those guys can play at this level, but Bednar has
a little more speed to Read more »
I am very happy and thankful that the Taylor’s have given me a chance to help guide the direction that Hockey’s Future will undertake for the future. Because of the massive amount of passionate readers and regular contributors to this site, Hockey’s Future has become one of the top independently run sports sites today and I will strive to keep it that way.
My goal is to raise the standards of Hockey’s Future without losing our solid reader and contributor base, and to also provide some new and exciting features that will make new and old readers keep coming back for more. Old features like the Top 50 prospects and Team Organizational Rankings will be published regularly throughout the year, while new features like “Making the Cut” (a feature on opening night rosters), Prospect Chats, a regular series of columnists, and expanded draft centers will all be added onto Hockey’s Future over the coming year.
It isn’t going to stop with just Hockey’s Future either. College on Ice will be re-launched in order to give hard-hitting coverage to the NCAA ranks, while The Hockey Matrix will be coming soon delivering the same coverage to the NHL teams. Long-term plans are also in the works to bring extended coverage to the AHL and Junior hockey ranks as well, and to bring you new and improved prospect profiles.
So welcome aboard the new Hockey’s Future! I hope you find the site to continue with the informative articles and commentaries that you have grown to love or hate, while adding some new and exciting Read more »
1. Jaromir Jagr- (Capitals) Jagr, who is one of the top players in the world, was traded to Washington during the off-season. Jagr, who struggled last year, played terrible in the playoffs, only notching two goals. The NHL’s highest paid player will once again challenge for the scoring title.
2. Mark Recchi- (Flyers) Recchi, who suffered from a concussion in the early part of the season, had an excellent second half. Playing along with the Flyers explosive offence, Recchi should regain his ’99-00 form, when he registered 91 points.
3. Patrik Elias- (Devils) Elias, who is only 25, has found his niche playing on a line with Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott. Elias had a career year last year, will probably float around the 90-point range this season.
4. Pavel Bure- (Panthers) Bure, who will be playing on the same team as his brother for the first time in the NHL, had a great second half last season. Bure is a sure bet to score over 50 goals, but will only have around 35 assists.
5. Paul Kariya- (Ducks) Kariya will be with out line mate Temmu Selanne for the first time in many years. If Kariya can overcome foot problems, there is no reason why the 26-year old winger will not score more than 85 points.
6. Alexi Kovalev- (Penguins) Kovalev, who finally played to his potential last season, benefited a lot from the play of Mario Lemieux. Kovalev scored 37 of his 95 points on the power play last season, and he will take the role of the team’s top winger this season. A slight point drop-off is expe Read more »
Canada improved to 2-0 at the under-18 Six Nations Tournament on Tuesday, knocking off the host Czech Republic by a count of 3-1. After a Czech goal within the first 30 seconds of play in the first period, the red and white rebounded to post three unanswered goals and take the win.
Red Deer Rebels’ defenseman Derek Meech started the scoring for Canada with his first goal of the tournament, and Kamloops Blazer Jarret Lukin scored his third goal in two games to put the team on top by a pair. Rick Nash (London, OHL) scored the third marker of the contest, an empty netter, in the final minute of period three. Kootenay Ice defenseman Andy Thompson received an assist on the play.
After a day off tomorrow, Canada returns to action on Thursday to face off against Sweden.
Player vitals: Derek Meech
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Winnipeg MMHL 36 15 40 55 24
2000-01 Red Deer WHL 60 2 7 9 40
2000-01* Red Deer WHL 22 0 0 0 9
* = playoffs
A popular debate amongst followers of the Leafs these days is which of Luca Cereda and Brad Boyes will be the better player down the road. Drafted in the first round by Toronto in the 1999 and 2000 drafts respectively, they were the second and third pivots selected first by the Buds in a row (with Nik Antropov going in 1998). So who is better? It’s still too early to tell, but a closer examination of both skaters is in order as the NHL gets ready for it’s various training camps.
Cereda since his draft year has had a myriad of problems, some personal, but the main one medical. With his heart murmur and surgery behind him now, this coming season looks to be the one in which he will leave his mark on the Leafs farm system. A slick distributor with the puck, the Swiss product is a rock on his skates who sees the game very well, both offensively and defensively. While there has been a knock on him that he is not a physical player, this columnist having seen him play doesn’t buy it. He will never be a Darcy Tucker type flying into the boards at high speed regardless of risk. That said, he uses his lower body strength very much to his advantage. Other players might have to get an elbow up here or there to gain leverage in the corners, but Cereda just plants himself and pivots where they aren’t. His skating doesn’t come into question as he is above average across the board. If there is something he could work on, it’s his finishing ability. Cereda will never been a 40 goal man, but he will no doubt be the setup man for one down the line. The best comparison when it comes to Read more »
Everybody in the fantasy hockey world knows whom to draft in the early rounds: your Jaromir Jagrs, Pavel Bures and Paul Kariyas are guaranteed to go quickly. But what makes any fantasy team successful is scoring balance, and that means scoring some gems in the later rounds of your draft. So here are some players who are poised to take the next step, and round out your roster. Chances are they were on your team last year, but can be expected to increase their scoring totals this year and could prove to be keepers for years to come, making you look awfully good for nabbing them.
15. Patrick Stefan, LW, Atlanta
Has suffered under the burden of being the #1 pick on an expansion franchise, and has been plagued by concussions. But has slowly improved as he adjusts to the NHL game, and a late-season shift to wing saw him produce 11 points in the Thrashers last 15 games. Huge leap in scoring may be a year away, but could sneak up on a lot of people this year, and could prove to be a keeper. And just think what he could do once Dany Heatly and Ilya Kovalchuk develop.
2000/01 stats: 66GP, 10G21A=31PTS Projected 2001/02 stats: (23G29A=52PTS)
14. John Madden, LW, New Jersey
You’ve got to love the Devils’ depth. This guy scored 23 goals while playing mostly on their fourth line. Now that takes talent. One of the league’s most dangerous shorthanded threats, Madden will be called upon to help replace Mogilny’s 43 goals. A high scorer at Albany of the AHL, Madden is proving he can do it at the NHL level.
2000/01 stats: 80GP, 2 Read more »