It will be an interesting season for the Kings and their organization. On the NHL level, the Kings will face a pivotal season- they need to show L.A. that they are not penny pinching, but rather building a strong, defensive team. They will need to replace fan favorite Luc Robitaille and his on-ice and community presence. They will also have to hope Felix Potvin can go into his bag of tricks for another season and that the first full season without Rob Blake looks more like the end of last season than what many experts are predicting. Here is a rundown of best and worse case scenarios:
Best Case- The Kings play defense like last season, Potvin sparkles in net again and Bednar and Heinze pick up some of the scoring slack. Ken Belanger patrols the ice to keep the skill forwards healthy and Josef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy are healthy all season and are effective with Adam Deadmarsh. Eric Belanger takes the next step that the Kings think he can and Modry, Boucher, Lilja and Karalahti can fill in the final defensive pairing.
Worst Case- Potvin returns to the form that had him ticketed to the IHL last season. The defense is ineffective and lacks the hammer on the power play. Bednar turns into Tomas Vlasak. Karalahti and Lilja prove to be too slow and Boucher and Modry realize they are bottom-tier NHL defensemen. Ken Belanger suffers an early concussion and is unable to deter opposing players from running Ziggy Palffy and Josef Stumpel, who spend the majority of the season injured. Eric Belanger returns to the funk that kept him from the NHL before last season Read more »
1 Very strong group of prospects at forward and defense
Thanks to the trade of Jaromir Jagr and a recent upswing in the Penguins drafts, the team has assembled quite a collection of talent thoughout the organization. The Pens have first line talent in multiple positions, with some positions with having more than one player in that class. Even with the recent graduation of prospects Milan Kraft and Andy Ference, the Pens still had enough talent to be considered by Hockey’s Future as the top organization in terms of talent.
2 Wealth of talent at Center and Left Wing
The real strength of the Penguins prospect list is in it’s depth at both Center and Left Wing. Anchored by 1999 First Round pick, Kris Beech, the Pens’ collection of talent at Center is the top reason for their #1 ranking among all NHL teams. Michal Sivek is a first-rate talent that could be moved to wing because of his versatility. Shane Endicott took large strides last year in his development and showed his potential at training camp this year. Toby Peterson and Ben Eaves are 2 smallish sparkplugs with an eye for the net.
At left wing, the top name is Belorussian Konstantin Koltsov, who play one more season in Russia before making his North American debut. The speedy LW (possibly the fastest skater in the 1999 draft) is making strides to improve his scoring and defensive abilities. RPI forward Matt Murley could be one of the top goalscorers in the college ranks this season. Alexandre Zevahkin struggled early in his first season in the AHL, but pi Read more »
Highly skilled Chuck Kobasew, who left Boston College to join the Kelowna Rockets has continued to give fans and management of the Rockets more excitement than they can handle and he hasn’t even played a game yet. As was written in my article yesterday, Kobasew was slated for an opening day roster spot with the Calgary Flames, however the Flames and Kobasew’s agent were unable to come to contract terms and he was returned to junior yesterday afternoon.
After scoring five goals in six exhibition games for the offensively starved Flames, Kobasew looked like a lock to dress for Calgary’s opener against arch-rival Edmonton tonight, however, a deal couldn’t be consummated in order for Chuck to be in the line up, so he was sent to Kelowna. So for now, Rockets fans will be hoping Kobasew can give them as much excitement on the ice as he has off the ice so far.
Bruce Hamilton took a risk this past summer and sent forward Chris DiUbaldo plus futures to the Prince George Cougars for the rights to Kobasew who at the time was still a member of the Boston College Eagles. Hamilton gambled that he could talk the Osoyoos native into coming to Kelowna and play close to family and friends, but at first it appeared Chuck was going to stay at school. However, after a visit to Kelowna and some soul searching, Kobasew opted to forego his final three years of a full ride scholarship at Boston College and play for the Rockets. All seemed peachy in Ogopogo land.
Chuck was no longer in need of protecting his college eligibility so next up on his agenda was a spin at the Flam Read more »
In somewhat of a shocking story to many, Dan Blackburn has made the opening night roster for the New York Rangers as an 18 year old. This happens to be a very rare situation for a goaltender. Rarely are goalie playing in the NHL at 18 years old, but Blackburn has proved that he belongs here. For now at least.
Blackburn appeared in five pre-season games, posting a 2-1-1 record while notching a 3.49 GAA and a .913 Save percentage. The goals against average is nothing to get excited about, but you have to remember that the team playing in front of him was not the Rangers opening night squad. They were mostly a group of hopefuls and rookies trying to earn roster spots. Blackburn sparkled at times, and showed that he could handle being the back-up to Mike Richter. Blackburn has always played at a level or two above his age group, and now he is showing he can play in the NHL at 18. The Rangers have signed him to a contract, and it is believed to be a three year deal worth the rookie max of $3.525 million.
The interesting question is whether Blackburn sticks with the Rangers for the full season. He can not be assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, as he still has junior eligibility remaining. The Rangers can send him to Hartford for a two-week conditioning stint, but after that he either has to stay with the Rangers or be sent back to his junior team, the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Under NHL rules, Blackburn is allowed to play 10 games in the NHL before he loses a year of exemption from waiver draft. He can be sent back to juniors at any time d Read more »
Making the Cut: The Inaugural Edition
Welcome to the first ever feature of “Making the Cut” at Hockey’s Future! We hope this feature can help you track your favorite prospects and see if they made an NHL opening night squad. Hockey’s Future is also planning to get to have this list for the NHL playoff rosters and possibly expanding out to the junior and Minor League teams as well down the road. But in the meantime, please read on and enjoy!
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Timo Parssinen, D Antti Jussi Niemi.
Atlanta Thrashers: RW Ilya Kovalchuk, LW Dany Heatley, RW Brad Tapper, C Kamil Piros.
Boston Bruins: D Nick Boynton, D Pavel Kolarik, G Tim Thomas
Buffalo Sabres: None
Calgary Flames: C Steve Begin, C Chris Clark
Carolina Hurricanes: LW Erik Cole
Chicago Blackhawks: LW Mark Bell
Read more »
Stars Preseason Wrap-Up, 2001-2002
Preseason is officially over now, the roster has been pared down, and it looks like the Stars will begin the season with only
one new face — Finnish playmaker Niko Kapanen. The past few seasons, Stars fans have witnessed the development of
around one new player per season. Niko will be the first player to attempt that path this season.
Following preseason, among the last players to be returned to AHL affiliate Utah were John Erskine, Cameron
Mann, Marcus Kristofferson, Roman Lyashenko and Jon Sim. With final cuts, the Stars will begin the
season with the following roster of 23 players:
Centers: Mike Modano, Pierre Turgeon, Joe Nieuwendyk, Niko Kapanen, Kirk Muller (also LW), Shaun Van Allen
Right wingers: Jere Lehtinen (also LW), Donald Audette, Jamie Lagenbrunner, Pat Verbeek (also LW), Rob DiMaio
Left Wingers: Brenden Morrow, Jere Lehtinen (also RW), Pat Verbeek (also RW), Valeri Kamensky, Kirk Muller (also C), Benoit
Defensemen: Sergei Zubov, Darryl Sydor, Derian Hatcher, Richard Matvichuk, Jyrki Lumme, Brad Lukowich, Sami Helenius
Goalies: Ed Belfour, Marty Turco
Read more »
On Saturday the Wild will begin their second season, with the promise of having some youth in the line-up and having more offensive power to go along with their strong defense. Having the worst offense last year, the Wild needed to make some changes, and they did. They traded for Sergei Zholtok and signed Andrew Brunette. These upgrades alone will not be enough, so the Wild are counting on rookies to make the team. These potential rookies include Pascal Dupuis, Kyle Wanvig, Nick Schultz, Tony Virta and Travis Roche. Of these players, Dupuis and Nick Shultz have stood out with Travis Roche not far behind. As of today Dupuis has made the team with his scoring ability and 2-way play and Nick Schultz, a 2nd round draft pick in 2000, should make the team with his strong play. However the Wild have too many defensemen in camp and there are some concerns on where Schultz should play. He is too good for juniors but maybe not ready for a whole season in the NHL at 19 years of age. Travis Roche is another young defenseman that should make the team with his steady play, but I think he will be sent to the minors because he can be sent to the minors, he will not be a victim of numbers.
With Andy Sutton moving to forward, that leaves Sekeras, Kuba, Mitchell, Benysek, Marshell and Bombadir as the Wild’s top 6 defensemen, with Brad Brown, Chris Joseph, Travis Roche, and Nick Schultz fighting for the 7th stop and 8th spot. Chris Joseph should go. He brings nothing to the Wild that they don’t already have and is old. He does not help the future. Travis Roche can be sent down to dev Read more »
I believe the term is “fire-wagon hockey”, yeah that’s it, that’s the only way to describe the Belleville Bulls style of play so far this season. After 6 games they have scored 35 goals while allowing 23 against, not exactly the New Jersey Devils are they! No, they’re the Bulls and they’re 5-1 to start the season and that’ll suit coach Jim Hulton just fine I’m sure and the fans as well. This is a very speedy and talented team and they have, at present, 2 goalies that are quit capable of handling wide-open play. All of the new additions are fulfilling expectations, which as I said last year is a tribute to the scouting staff of the Bulls. Here is a rundown of the Bulls roster and how each player has looked so far.
#10 Andrew Brown, RW- (6-0-0-0-7) A big strong winger, but doesn’t use size effectively. Needs to go to the net more and start punishing opposing defenders. An average skater, with limited scoring ability.
#7 Rane Carnagie, C- (6-4-3-7-2) The Bulls first round pick is learning extremely fast. This kid has unlimited potential and looks to be a sure 1st or 2nd round pick in the 2003 entry draft. He is very sturdy on his skates and has great moves. He has also shown a good nose for the net with 4 goals already this season.
#13 Andre Deveaux, C- (6-0-2-2-13) The second year man is currently struggling with back problems. He looks to be a bit more focused this year than last, but still looks as if he’s just out for a Sunday skate sometimes. Needs to p Read more »
Panthers Pre-Season Wrap-up
With two days before the Panthers season opener against the Flyers on Oct. 4th, the hopeful Panther prospects have learned who made the opening night roster. 6 Panthers still considered prospect under HF’s criteria have survived the last cuts going into the season opener, while 4 of the Panther sophomores are given the opportunity to build on last season.
An unfortunate concussion has relegated Denis Shvidki to the injured reserve list, and Panther veterans Peter Worrell and Bret Hedican also are starting the season on the IR. These unfortunate injuries have opened up the roster for a few prospects to start the season with the big club, but when those three players come off the IR, some tough decisions will have to be made by management. One transaction that will help clarify the roster is the pick-up of defenseman John Jakopin on waivers by Pittsburgh.
The Panthers named their opening night 22 man roster at 5:00pm on Tuesday, which is one short of the maximum allowed. To follow is my analysis of what prospects and sophomores made the roster and a breakdown of what I see the lineups as being going into the rebound 2001-2002 NHL Season.
Opening Night Prospects
Kristian Huselius, Left Wing: Kristian immediately showed that the hype surrounding him was justified. Playing mainly with Olli Jokinen, Niklas Hagman, and Valeri Bure, Huselius scored 3 assists in 6 pre-season games, and was thrown in all game situations where he was able to adjust accordingly. Read more »
Leafs Trade for Another Hawk Blueliner
Boy oh boy, words like that get anyone leaning forward in their chair after what happened last year at this time. For those of you who have been on the planet Jupiter the Leafs dealt holdout Alexander Karpotsev to Chicago for Bryan McCabe who just kept getting better and better as the year progressed until he was arguably the best Leaf rearguard in the playoffs. However, this time, don’t expect the transaction to have the same amount of impact. Going to the Hawks was minor league tough guy Shawn Thornton while coming this way was Norfolk Admirals blueliner Marty Wilford. Thornton, despite numerous chances to overtake Tie Domi as the ACC’s resident tough guy, was never able to demonstrate enough skill to keep a job on the NHL level. Wilford, on the other hand, has a couple things going for him. Besides the fact that every organization should have at least one player with the name ‘Marty’, the ex-Hawk farmhand is quite adept at the transition game and is very good in the dressing room. He has been the best defensemen in the Chicago’s minor league pipeline whether it be with Norfolk or Indianapolis the last three years running and in his last campaign totalled 7 goals and 41 assists. If there is anything he does lack it is an NHL burst as far as separation is concerned. At 24 years old he looks to be another veteran hand to help the youngsters along on The Rock but if he proves himself efficient might leap ahead of Nathan Dempsey on the emergency call-up queue because of the extra 30 pounds he has on the long time Leaf. Co Read more »