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 »
While most Canadiens’ fans wait for word on Brett Hull, the Habs’ prospect development camp continues in Ville St. Pierre. Recent Hab happenings include Marcel Hossa signing a 3-year deal, Vadim Tarasov and Andrei Kruchinin arriving in Montreal, and Alexander Buturlin close to signing a contract in Russia.
Marcel Hossa (1st round, 2000) signed a 3-year deal with the Canadiens. The physical commitment he showed during the off-season definitely contributed to the contract offer. Throughout the development camp the 6’1′, 211 lbs. Slovakian has consistently demonstrated his superior strength and puck-handling skills. The Canadiens feel his development will be best served by the pro game. The center turned winger has an outside chance of making the big club. But the safe bet is on Hossa starting the season in Quebec.
Last season Hossa played in 58 regular season games with Portland. He registered 90 points (34-56-90), and was +11, with 58 minutes in penalties. Fourteen of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed. He was named the WHL’s top player for the week ending October 22nd, and also for the week ending March 18th.
Playing with Slovakia during the World Junior Championship, Marcel seemed to under-achieve. He scored only 1 goal during the tournament, while adding 3 assists. He did however demonstrate some impressive play-making skills, and came away from the tournament with a +1 rating on a Slovakian team that finished in 8th place.
Although Portland played extremely well in the WHL playoffs, Hossa w Read more »
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 »
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
The Canadiens’ rookie development camp continues under the watchful eye of Clement Jodoin. Weekend practices were up-tempo, and the players remain healthy despite an increase in physical play during most drills.
Goaltender Luc Belanger, who recently signed with Quebec, remains the best goalie in camp. Vadim Tarasov is rumoured to be arriving Monday morning. This should give onlookers a better opportunity to judge Belanger’s play, as the two goalies he currently runs drills with are younger and less experienced. Olivier Michaud is still only seventeen, while Adam Russo is a slightly more experienced eighteen.
However, the overall gap in ability between the older skating prospects in camp (Ward, Ribeiro), and the younger players (Himelfarb, Fortunas) is beginning to get smaller. During the first few days of camp it was easy to distinguish players’ ages just by their performance, where as now the best players on the ice are not necessarily the most experienced.
Defenseman Jean-Francois David, a 19 year-old who plays with Shawinigan of the QMJHL is just beginning to show his strong puck-handling skills, and impressive speed. He has quick feet, and effortlessly pivots backward to forward. He’s possibly the best skating-defenseman in camp.
Marc-André Thinel (5th round 1999) has been extremely inconsistent. He’ll perform well during one drill, but struggle during the next. Usually an offensive wizard, the shifty forward hasn’t been able to put an entire strong practice together, but sho Read more »