GRADING THE LEAFS DRAFT
Round 1 (17)-Carlo Colaiacovo-D-Erie-OHL
While your columnist would have preferred to see the Toronto club grab a
sniper in the first round all of the forward prospects that would have
warranted the 17th pick overall went off the board one by one shortly
before Pat Quinn and Mike Penny went up to the podium. The Erie
blueliner is a solid value here and should develop into a top 4
rearguard in the mold of Bryan McCabe in a few years. That he shoots
right-handed is another bonus on a blueline that only has three of those
on the pro roster compared to eight lefties. Grade: A
Round 2 (39)-Karel Pilar-D-Litvinov-Czech Rep.
An overaged player at 23, Pilar played with recent Leaf acquisition
Robert Reichel last year in Litvinov. Another righty, he has good size (
6’3″, 210 pounds) but needs to learn how to use it a bit more. His
transition skills are not in question. The pick has the feel of panic
mode in it to some extent. Two other players the Buds had their eyes on
Mark Popovic and Kyle Wanwig went 35 and 36 respectively. Finnish power
forward Tuomas Pihlman was taken at 48 by the New Jersey Devils and
might prove to be the better value. Still, if Pilar can help the Leafs
fill the hole on the blueline created by the departure of Danny Markov,
the selection is salvageable. Grade: D
Round 3 (65)-Brendan Bell-D-Ottawa-OHL
A very solid pick here. Bell was the best talent on the board at this
point and many had him going in the second round. Again, like Pi Read more »
THE LATEST TORONTO 67
As has been the trend recently, when it came the Ottawa 67’s turn to take a player in the CHL Import Draft they opted for another selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs in left winger Jaroslav Sklenar from the Brno Jrs of the Czech Republic. Sklenar, when chosen in the 6th round this year, inspired a chorus of ‘who?’ among most draftniks and for good reason. It is next to impossible to find information on any player not in the Czech Extraleague unless, of course, you speak Czech. Your columnist, however, has had the good fortune to correspond with Robert Neuhauser also of Hockey’s Future who has seen the young Czech winger in action on numerous occasions. His scouting report points to speed and the ability to use it coming off the wing to either gain himself or a teammate a scoring chance, by going hard to the net as his big plus. He is accomplished with the puck on his stick and coaches in the Czech ranks have noticed this as he has shot through the system in the last couple years always being the first call-up when injuries or slumps cause problems for the team above his present one. The downside, which is somewhat expected among young players, is his lack of attention to defense, his intensity which can vary from game to game, and his weight. If he were to stop developing as a player today, he might end up being something akin to Petr Klima. However, under Brian Kilrea, many of these shortcomings can be expected to be corrected. And with that in mind look for Jaroslav Sklenar to remind some folks of Geoff Sanderson or Gle Read more »
In what was considered somewhat of a surprise move, the Edmonton Oilers traded their all-star centerman yesterday to the St Louis Blues. While no one is shocked Weight was traded, many thought the Oilers would had received more for their best asset. The deal shakes down like this; gone with Weight is RW prospect Michel Reisen for LW Jochen Hecht, C Marty Reasoner, and D prospect Jan Horacek. Of course, anytime you trade the best player in a deal, it is very hard to come out on top, but there are many factors to consider when you analyze this trade. First off, this is a money-motivated deal, which automatically puts GM Kevin Lowe behind the eight ball. Another important factor is that Weight was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and one year away from being an unrestricted free agent. All of these factors helped to reduce Weight’s trade value. Rather than debate whether Lowe received enough compensation for Weight, or possible other players he may have been able to trade for, I’m going to focus on what they received, and how the lineup has been affected.
While many people will focus on Hecht as the key to the deal, the Oilers actually feel that Horacek could be the key player in this trade. According to the Oilers scouts, Horacek is ready to challenge for a spot on the blue line this season. His game is simple…very little offense, but he can hit. He will add another physical dimension to the Oilers blue line, and is very adept to clearing the front of his own net. They believe that this 22-year-old can be a 5th or 6th D man for the Read more »
The Vancouver Canucks are in need of a top 6 forward. Preferably a player that plays right wing. Players out there that are UFA could be the answer. Or maybe Brian Burke will want to do something trade wise. Everyone knows how he likes to wheel and deal. I don’t think he should trade anyone on the team. The Canucks have a good nucleus that should not be traded away, I know Brian Burke knows this. They should keep the young nucleus of the team together. Let the core of young players grow into a powerhouse in the Western Conference for many years to come.
A route that the Canucks might go in the off season is to go out and get a free agent that can add veteran leadership and can score. This player must have a fair amount of NHL experience. This would be helpful for the young Canucks players to learn how to win in the regular season and the playoffs.
The only 2 players that have the natural position of right wing on the Canucks are Vadim Sharifjanov and Trent Klatt. Obviously Sharifjanov is not ready for the NHL and Trent Klatt has proven that he can play in the NHL. The Canucks might be looking for a player of Klatt’s caliber. A player that gives 110% every game, can hit, and can put the puck in the net.
Players mentioned that are interested in coming to Vancouver are Mike Keane of the Dallas Stars, Donald Audette of the Buffalo Sabres, and Steve Heinze also of the Buffalo Sabres. All of these players are UFA. So the Canucks would not have to give up anything to get them.
I have heard Mike Keane’s name mentioned in the paper lately. I don
With the 12th pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft the Nashville Predators
select defensemen Dan Hamhuisâ€¦the often goal-less Predators used the 12th
pick in the draft to select a defensemen.
Why, you ask? Well, he was the second best defensemen available in the
draft, the Preds do not have a blue chip defensemen in their system, and
finally all the top 10 forwards were all taken â€¦ in the top 10. So the Preds
grabbed the next best thing â€¦ Dan Hamhuis.
Dan Hamhuis is a solid two-way player. He is an offensive defensemen,
and should be a force in the near future (but not next fall near future).
Hamhuis was eight in the WHL in scoring last season scoring 13 goals and 46
assists in 62 games. Hamhuis is known as a quarterback on the power play,
with above average speed, and solid leadership skills. I would say Dan
Hamhuis could be on the Predators Pro Roster as early as 2002, but as always
the Preds won’t rush him.
Three of the next four picks for the Predators were all forwards.
Timofei Shiskanov (Russia), Tomas Slovak (Slovakia), Denis Platonov (Russia),
and Oliver Setzinger (Finland). The Preds then made an interesting move in
trading their 4th, 5th and 7th round draft choices to the Flyers for their
4th round selection. They used that pick to grab 5’8 Jordan Tootoo
(TOO-too), the 17 year old had 20 goals and 28 assists last season for
Brandon Wheat Kings. He also won the hardest shot contest at this year’s Top
Prospects Evaluation (96 MPH). Nashville had been sc Read more »
They may have thought it a wise move when they made it.
Take a chance on a German born player?
When San Jose was offering two #2 picks?
The Hawk organization in 1996 knew that they were hurting for prospects and moved out to secure two #2s used to draft Remi Royer and Geoff Peters.
With their own #2 they reached at Jeff Paul, knowing their farm ‘system” was woefully bare at defense.
Geoff Peters along with Remi Royer were the two players drafted with the Marco Sturm first rounder trade.
Sturm plays in San Jose and all three of these players will be looking elsewhere this summer. Royer was all offense and just didn’t play defense well.
Peters though good in most areas just didn’t seem to evolve to a better player.
Paul just didn’t skate well enough for the new NHL.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Trading down works if your scouting staff is competent. Montreal goaler hopefull Garon was there but Hawk’s didn’t seem interested.
The Blackhawks also purged themselves of Michel Larouque and Jeff Maud, their Norfolk goalie duo.
Though Tretiak marveled at Larouque and continued to heap praise on him, he is gone. (Or is this one of the Hall of Famer’s character chararcter flaws: always falling in love with the back-up?)
Maud had injuries and told me while he was in Chicago that he he was in awe of the speed at which the NHL game was played.
Mike Leighton will grauate and get ample chances to develop in Norfolk and Craig Andersson will not be far behind him.
To their credit, the Black Read more »
Last year was slim pickings for the Ducks; this year, they hit the
jackpot. If he finds a fifth gear to go with his Bure-like hands,
small-but-deadly winger Stan Tchistov (5-9, 165) could team up with Paul
Kariya to form the top scoring tandem in the league. If he doesn’t,
he’s still a can’t-miss electrifying talent. Defenseman Mark Popovic
(35th overall) is as reliable as they come, and could soon find himself
paired with Vitaly Vishnevski on the top unit. Joel Stepp, with speed
and grit, was a good third round pick.
Looking at Patrik Stefan after two years, it’s understandable why the
Thrashers were nervous about having the #1 pick again this year. But
they played it safe, refrained from making a hasty trade, and took the
best 18-year old hockey player in the world. Ilya Kovalchuk is head and
shoulders above Stefan, clearly the top talent this year. He should
make the roster this fall, and he could be an 80-point player by age
21. Little to shout about in the later rounds, though. Defenseman
Brian Sipotz was a nice pick at #100, he’s huge (6-7, 230), sturdy, and
could be a solid defensive defenseman down the road.
Boston B Read more »
The 2001 NHL Entry Draft is now history. It was also historical for the Czech hockey. It was
for the first time that 31 players have heard their names selected. It is doubtful that
everyone of this crop will ever play in the NHL, but there are some, who can turn into the
stars of the future. The last successes of the Czech hockey also helped the overage players
to a chance to play in the big league.
As projected, three Czech players were taken in the
first round of the draft. But especially the lower rounds were rich on Czech picks.
Now I will try to comment every Czech pick, round by round,
with a bigger comment on players not included in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft preview.
No. 13 Ales Hemsky – Edmonton Oilers
Position: right wing
Team: Hull Olympiques, QMJHL
Born: August, 13th, 1983
Height: 6’1” Read more »
The Hurricanes have had a few draft follies. In the last four drafts, only five players, David Tanabe, Tommy Westlund, Niclas Wallin, Josef Vasicek, and breakthrough rookie Shane Willis, have made the NHL.
The Hurricanes are coming off a very positive season, where they made the playoffs, and took the defending champion New Jersey Devils to six games, in a very hard-fought series, and in no small part left their own imprint on the 2001 playoffs, as one of the harder-working teams. Backed by the goaltending of Arturs ‘Archie’ Irbe, the Hurricanes have a franchise goaltender, but he’ll need help in the future, as nobody is ageless. The defense, anchored by David Tanabe and Sandis Ozolinsh, could use a bit of re-tooling, but is solid as an overall unit. The forwards, who are led by cornerstone Jeff O’Neill and nearly-ageless Ronnie Francis, look to be in good shape, as well. A solid, if unspectacular unit overall.
The Hurricanes were in need of another defensive prospect, with Nikos Tselios being their only decent D prospect, and he hasn’t scratched the surface of the NHL thus far.
With the number fifteen selection in the Draft, the ‘Canes selected Russian Defenseman Igor Knyazev.
Knyazev, a solid two-way defenseman, has the body to be a solid D-man on both sides of the puck. He has a good shot from the point, and good overall offensive instincts. Even though his statistics may not dictate that he is offensively-oriented, young defenders in Russian hockey are geared towards solid defensive play first. He was named Captain of the Russian Natio Read more »
FLORIDA PANTHERS ANNOUNCE CONTRACT OFFERS
SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers President and General Manager Bill Torrey announced contract information today regarding several Panthers players.
The club offered qualifying contracts to nine players: defenseman Dan Boyle, recently acquired right wing Valeri Bure, defenseman John Jakopin, center Olli Jokinen, goaltender Roberto Luongo, left wing Marcus Nilson, right wing Joey Tetarenko, right wing Rocky Thompson, and defenseman Lance Ward. All of these players are considered Group 2 Free Agents.
By giving these players qualifying offers, the club maintains the right to match any contract offer they may receive, and the Panthers can receive draft pick compensation if there is a signing with another club. If a player is above the league’s average salary, the qualifying offer is the same as last year’s salary. If a player is below the league’s average salary, than a qualifying offer is a one-year contract with a ten-percent raise from last season’s salary.
The Panthers also picked up the option for the 2001-02 season on the contract of center Vaclav Prospal.
In addition, the Panthers did not make contract offers to defenseman Chris Allen, center Len Barrie, defenseman Anders Eriksson, center Andej Podkonicky, defenseman Peter Ratchuk, defenseman Remi Royer, and defenseman Mike Wilson. All of those players will become unrestricted free agents as of July 1, 2001. Also becoming unrestricted free agents are: left wing Greg Adams, right wing Paul Brousseau, defenseman Yan Golubovsky, goa Read more »