When Dave Taylor took over as the Kings GM, the job ahead of him seemed daunting to say the least. He had a terrible product on the ice, nominal fan interest, and a struggling farm system that he would likely have to rebuild twice to make the Kings better. His first rebuilding project was easier- the Kings had some prospects from the Sam McMaster era and some top draft picks. These factors allowed the Kings to make the Ziggy Palffy deal, one that looks brilliant right now, but one that left the Kings with virtually nothing. Combine that with the Scott Barney back saga and the stagnant development of Pavel Rosa, and the Kings officially had nothing in the cupboard.
The Palffy trade has helped the Kings right the ship- they are now offensively potent, have some depth at forward, and finally have the power play that seemed to have left with the great one. The Kings seemed poised to go to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Perhaps the best news is that the Kings are starting to find some depth in their system and next season, they will have their own AHL team to develop them.
The Kings have NHL caliber talent on the AHL level. They have players they can call up in the event of injury and still not damage their development. They have what could be considered potential superstars who are still very young and have time to develop. They have quality goaltending depth (Volkov, Campbell, Yeats), potentially solid defensemen (Rullier, Seeley, Crain) and some players who know how to find the net (McGratten, Lehoux, Frolov, Shefer.
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As the Sharks’ 2000/01 campaign passes its 1/3rd mark, one can not discount the impact of several Sharks youngsters such as Mark Smith, Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, and of course, the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November, Evgeni Nabokov. One thing is for certain, if not for the Sharks’ core of young players, they would not be in a position where many teams are beginning to key on the Sharks as one of the top teams.
“It’s a real eye-opener that top clubs are getting ready for us now. We’re not going to sneak up on people anymore,” said Jeff Friesen after a tie against the Western Conference Champion, Dallas Stars.
For the Sharks to continue their development they will have to continue playing well and beat teams like the Dallas Stars, and others who are perennial favorites to win their respective divisions. It is one thing to beat the teams you are supposed to beat, however, to make the next jump to the next level, the Sharks must begin beating the top teams in the league. To do that, they will need help from every source available.
To start the year, the Sharks began with two rookies at forward, Mark Smith and Matt Bradley. The return from injury by Owen Nolan, impressive play of Tony Granato, and inconsistent play has resulted in Bradley being assigned to the Kentucky Thoroughblades of the AHL after being a healthy scratch in several games. Not having Matt Bradley on the roster for the Sharks results in a slight loss of team speed, and an extra player who has the ability to pinch in offensively as well. If he can Read more »
Currently the Sens are fighting for top spot in the Eastern Conference with one of the youngest, cheapest and most exciting squads in the league. They have made amends with Alexei Yashin, and he is back among the elite players. And they some blue-chip youngsters in the line-up.
Let’s begin with the cream of the crop, Martin Havlat. This Czech prodigy has adjusted to the speed, strength and confinement of the NHL quite well. So much so that he has been dominating on some nights and currently sits with 15 points in 22 games. He missed some time with a separated shoulder, but it has not affected him at all as he scored two goals in his first game back. He has also formed a bond with Czech teammate Vaclav Prospal and plays with Rob Zamuner all on one line. Sens fans are no doubt excited at the progress of Havlat and will be in awe of his skills for a long time. He really is a future star.
Next, there is Russian winger Peter Schastlivy. Originally, a 4th round draft choice (101 overall), the Sens look like the uncovered another sleeper. Peter boasts great speed and skill and has shown a sniper’s touch filling in for the injured Magnus Arvedson on a line with Marian Hossa and Radek Bonk. The Sens obviously look to him to fill the net consistently and lock down a permanent spot on the roster which he failed to do at training camp.
In goal, Jani Hurme has done an admirable job as the backup and didn’t look out of place filling in for an injured Patrick Lalime earlier in the year posting a 3 wins, a shutout and a 2.78 GAA. He is a late rookie, but the Read more »
World junior championship is coming closer and ten national teams will travel to Russian Moscow and Podolsk to contest for golden, silver and bronze medals.
Slovak national coaches Jan Selvek and Jozef Fruhauf decided to open a camp for Slovak adepts in Dubnica (by the way Pavol Demitra is Dubnica native). They invited 28 players who will compete for 22 national jerseys. The roster is very interesting. I do not think any national team would have players from more leagues than Slovak. Ten players are from CHL (five WHL, three OHL, two QMJHL), two ones play in the U.S. junior A leagues, one is from IHL, thirteen kids skate in the Slovak Extraliga (senior Elite), one players is from Slovak Div.I league and the last one is from Slovak junior league.
Five of them – Bartovic, Vydareny, Hossa, Kopecky and Starosta have the experiences from the last championship. The coaches could not consider with Marian Gaborik (Minnesota) and Kristian Kudroc (Detroit – IHL) who were not released by their NHL teams.
Let us to see the roster containing 28 names:
Name Born Team League Drafted by
Peter Budaj 18-09-1982 Toronto OHL -
Peter Hamerlik 02-01-1982 Kingston OHL Pittsburgh
Lubomir Pisar 04-02-1981 Martin Extraliga -
Name Born Team League Drafted by
Miroslav Durak 09-06-1981 Sherbrooke QMJHL Nashville
Stefan Fabian 10-02-1981 Kosice Extraliga -
Ladisl Read more »
Team Sweden named the team that will compete for the finest honours in junior hockey this week and, unlike last year, a fifth place finish will be satifactory for a squad that lacks star quality and quality 1981-born players. Instead, the tournament that will take place in Moscow, Russia, could be seen as a learning experience for a number of budding stars born in 1982.
There were few surprises in the squad, one mild one is that highly touted power forward Jens Karlsson will be left home as a ”non travelling reserve.” Karlsson was considered a possible top ten overall pick in the 2001 Draft at the start of the season, but his stock may be falling as he has only seen spot duty with Frölunda in the Elitserien. Instead, his younger teammate Fredrik Sjöström has not only skated past Karlsson on the Frölunda depth chart, but also on the Team Sweden depth chart. Sjöström, a winger born in May 1983, is the youngest player on the Swedish entry and he has recorded five points in 26 Elitserien games, which can be compared to zero points in nine games for Karlsson.
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Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Khristich finally gone: Toronto’s favorite whipping boy Dimo Khristich was dispatched to Washington on December 11th … the Leafs will receive Tampa’s 2001 3rd round draft choice in return … Toronto will now have 5 selections in the first 3 rounds at the draft next June (the Tampa pick plus Chicago’s 2nd pick in addition to their own selections) … reports indicate that the Caps will be responsible for Khristich’s entire salary (with the exception of a 1 million dollar deferment) … Dimitri previously enjoyed 5 highly successful years playing in the American capital and his new team obviously feels that he can improve upon the highly mediocre results produced in Toronto … they may be right in that Khristich delivered 1 goal and 1 assist in his first start with the Capitals on December 12th …
Thomas sidelined: Classy veteran winger Steve Thomas underwent a successful knee scope on December 11th and will now be out of the line-up for up to 6 weeks … Thomas’ rather difficult season (with only 2 goals thus far) continues … now in the final year of his current deal with the Leafs, Steve may have only 30 or so games remaining in which to re-establish his market value for next season …
Rumours: Word is that ex-Leafs’ Assistant Alpo Suhonen is already on the outs in the Windy City – apparently Hawks’ owner B Read more »
List of Players on the 2001 USA National Junior Team.
Rick DiPietro 6-0 (184) 185 (84) 9/19/81 R Winthrop, Mass. Chicago Wolves (IHL) New York Islanders
1 Craig Kowlaski 5-8 (174) 185 (84) 1/15-81 L Warren, Mich. Northern Michigan Univ. (CCHA) Carolina Hurricanes
No. DEFENSEMEN Ht. (cm) Wt. (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown 2000-01 Team NHL Rights
5 Justin Forrest 5-9 (177) 175 (80) 4/15/81 L Auburn, N.Y. Boston College (HE) Carolina Hurricanes
4 Tim Gleason 6-1 (187) 205 (93) 1/29/83 L Clawson, Mich. Windsor Spitfires (OHL) Not yet drafted.
2 Ron Hainsey 6-2 (189) 200 (91) 3/24/81 L Bolton, Conn. Univ. of Mass-Lowell Montreal Canadiens
7 David Hale 6-1 (187) 212 (97) 6/18/81 L Colorado Springs, Colo. Univ. of North Dakota New Jersey Devils
6 Mike Komisarek 6-4 (194) 230 (104) 1/19/82 R Islip Terrace, N.Y. Univ. of Michigan (CCHA) Not yet drafted.
27 Paul Martin 6-1 (187) 170 (77) 3/5/81 L Elk River, Minn. Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA) New Jersey Devils
28 Freddy Meyer 5-10 (179) 185 (84) 1/4/81 L Sandbornville, N.H. Boston Univ. (HE) Not yet drafted.
No. FORWARDS Ht. (cm) Wt. (kg) Birthdate S/C Hometown 2000-01 Team NHL Rights
10 Marc Cavosie 6-0 (184) 170 (77) 8/6/81 L Cohoes, N.Y. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (ECAC) Minnesota Wild
24 John Di Salvatore 6-1 (187) 185 (84) 3/30/81 R Windsor, Conn. Providence College (HE) San Jose Sharks
9 Connor Dunlop 5-10 (179) 180 (82) 1/15/81 L St. Louis, Mo. Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA) Not yet drafted.
18 Rob Globke 6-3 (192) 200 (91) 10/24/82 R W. Bloomfield, Mich. Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA) Not yet dr Read more »
There will be some very exciting Bruins hockey to watch for a change after Christmas. This brand of excitement, however, will not be coming from the Fleet Center. For the first time since 1996-97, the Bruins will have decent prospect representation at the 2000-2001 World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia. Representing the Bruins will be 2000 draftees: Andy Hilbert, Brett Nowak, Lars Jonsson, and Martin Samuelsson.
Andy Hilbert was the first North American player selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2000 NHL Draft last June when they selected him in the second round. Hilbert is a two-way center that agitates opponents with his feisty style of play. He is a strong, well-balanced skater with a low center of gravity and is often compared with Chris Drury of the Colorado Avalanche. With former teammate Mike Comrie defecting to the WHL, Hilbert has stepped up to lead the Michigan Wolverine’s this season.
“With Mikey gone, we’ve really had to pick up the slack,” said Hilbert in an exclusive interview. “I’m starting to feel comfortable now and the guys have done a good job coming together. It’s really tough when you lose a guy like Mikey, but these things happen. The experience has really brought the team closer together. We’re maximizing our chances and we’ll get the opportunity to do something special if we continue to play the way we have.”
Hilbert played a checking role for the US at last year’s World Junior Hockey Championship. With his impressive early numbers with Michigan this season, he would love the opportunity to Read more »
Here is a quick update on the Minnesota High School scene. Eden Prairie, an early season favorite must find a way to replace Gopher recruit Garrett Smaagaard, who tore his ACL during football season. Greenway of Coleraine is looking like the top team in the state during the early going. Gino Guyer-Andy Sertich-Mike Forconi form the state’s most dangerous scoring line. No one has been able to stop them yet. As one would say they are like poetry in motion. Duluth East has another solid team led by all stater Nick Licari. Other teams looking to contend include White Bear Lake, Bloomington Jefferson, and Elk River. Players to watch from those schools include Tim Hambly, Trevor Stuart, Brandon Longley, Matt Duncan, Mike Bernhagen, and Tom Gilbert.
Brian Sutherby had abdominal surgery and will be out of action until after
the WHL’s winter break. He will also miss this month’s World junior
tournament in Russia. Brian was expected to be a key role player for team
Nolan Yonkman was given a boarding major and game misconduct for his hit from
behind on fellow Caps prospect Kris Beech. There was no suspension as the
league felt Beech turned his back at the last second. This is the second
time since being drafted that Yonkman has had a run-in with a fellow
prospect. Last season he fought Ross Lupaschuk after Lupaschuk came in to
defend a teammate that had been boarded by Yonkman. Both players claim they
are friends now and they joke about that fight.
One of the Caps weaknesses last season was toughness. Richard Zednik and
Sergei Gonchar were injured late in the season from cheapshots. In the
offseason, the Caps acquired Craig Berube, Remi Royer, and Stephen Peat in
seperate deals. Royer has played well lately, earning alot of ice time and
doing very well in his fights. Peat has won both of his fights last week,
before reinjuring his groin. He may play this weekend. In the games I’ve
seen he’s made the transition to forward much faster than I expected. He and
Royer could be called up this season if they can stay healthy and continue to
Trading Tampa’s third round pick to Toronto for Dmitri Khristich suprised me.
I expected the Caps to try to stockpile picks in the coming draft. In
essence, the Caps traded Yogi Svejkovsky for Khristich. I Read more »