SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers Assistant General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced today that the club has agreed in principle with its top two European prospects, Swedish left wing Kristian Huselius and Finnish left wing Niklas Hagman. Both players led their teams in goals last season and have represented their countries in numerous world tournaments.
Huselius, the Panthers’ second choice (47th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, led the entire Swedish League last season in goals (32), assists (35), points (67), power play goals (10), shorthanded goals (5), and game-winning goals (9) in 49 games. It marked the first time a player swept all six categories in Swedish League history and it is believed to be a first in any major European league. Playing for Vastra Frolunda, the 22-year-old (11/10/78) tied for the team lead in plus/minus (+15) and added a team-leading nine points (4-5-9) in five playoff games. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Huselius stands 6’ 1” and weighs 195 pounds. Huselius also participated in the World Championships in Germany this past year helping Sweden to a 3-2 bronze medal victory over the United States. He finished tied for seventh on his team in scoring with two goals and three assists in nine tournament games.
“Kristian is a gifted offensive player who adeptly combines excellent puck handling skills with tremendous speed,” stated Fletcher. “After an initial adjustment period to NHL-style hockey, we expect him to be a quality offensive player for our organization for years to come.”
Hagman, the Panthers’ thir Read more »
The first to go was Peter Lorentzen by the Tri City Americans with the 13th overall pick. Lorentzen played for Norwegian Elite Team Stjernen-Fredrikstad the last season and looks to make a splash in the Canadian Junior System following such Norwegians as Anders Myrvold(Laval) and Bård Sorlie(Plymouth) among others. Lorentzen a left wing is NHL Draft Eligible in 2002.
The other Norwegian taken was center Patrick Thoresen of Storhamar by Moncton with the 30th pick overall. Thoresen is also looking to make a big splash in the CHL and will be NHL Draft Eligible in 2002.
Norway making a big splash in the Canadian Juniors. Keep an eye on these kids as they may prove to be the next generation NHLers.
Nashville Predators 2nd pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (33rd Overall).
Timofei Shishkanov’s 6’1 and 203lb frame is definitely more then sufficient for the rigors of the NHL. He is a very talented player. Timofei is an excellent skater, able to blow by his opponents with great moves and fast speed. He also possesses a solid shot, though he rarely uses it and does not really have a trademark shot that he is known for. Timofei Shishkanov is also a very good puck handler, able to work it in both zones of the ice.
According to a Finnish observer from the U18 2001 World Junior Championships, Timofei had a comprable skill set to that of Kovalchuk, but “the difference between Kovalchuk and Shishkanov is the hunger, Kovalchuk wants all the time desperately [to] score goals, but Shishkanov sometimes floats around.” The observer added further that Kovalchuk shot the puck a lot more then Shishkanov, while Shishkanov seemed “meaner, more unpredictable and stronger then Kovalchuk”. The main area where Shishkanov loses to players of Kovlachuk’s class is in his hockey sense. He still has not developed that knack for making split second decisions on the ice that players of Kovalchuk’s caliber possess.
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Well, as you know, the Free-Agent frenzy has begun. Teams go to the marketplace looking for the next quick fix. Players who have great seasons are rewarded with big, fat contracts, by their own team, or by a suitor who is willing to pony up the dough.
Players who are largely considered to be average contributors to their respective teams, such as a Martin Lapointe, recieve a free-agent windfall. I hardly think one above-average season (scoring-wise) denotes that someone has a huge contract waiting for them in that off-season, but I’m just taking up dead air. My philosophy has become that of: If someone is dumb enough to pay that much, then the player should take it.
Oh well, enough with my free-agency rant. I must be just frustrated because Burke has yet to do anything. I’ve learned to set my sights low with Burke, because when I do that, he always ends up surprising me, and most of the time, it’s a good surprise.
Just getting back to Scott’s point about Steve Heinze, I think that Steve would be a wonderful addition to the Canucks, and he’d qualify as our biggest signee since Andrew Cassels, which was undoubtedly an excellent move by Burke and his cronies, but it seems unlikely, as the big American dollar signs will most likely lure Heinze ’57’ to the States, but, all’s fair in love and war.
Enough with my chatter, on to the important stuff, the prospects!
Let’s start right at the top, shall we?
1. Allen, Bryan Read more »
Here are the Montreal Canadiens’ eight draft picks in the 2001 year entry draft. This is the first draft under Andre Savard.
#7 – Mike Komisarek, 6’4″ 225 lbs.
There seems to be two Mike Komisareks out there, at least offensively. On the top pairing at Michigan with San Jose Sharks draft pick Jeff Jillson, he had 11 points in 26 games against conference rivals, not too bad for a freshman, it was against non-conference rivals that he tended to struggle scoring only 5 points. He has a commitment to finish school, it shows he isn’t just in it for the bucks, but for the game too. He is as good physically, and defensively as all the reports say, and he skates like the wind. The concern is his offence, he needs more presence in the offensive zone, but he has three years to work on his offence, and since the rest of his game is already NHL ready, he will make the team eventually.
#25 – Aleksandr Perezhogin, 5’11” 185 lbs.
Not many people have seen Perezhogin play since he wasn’t at the WJC, and like most people am basing my opinion on him solely on what scouts have had to say. He is an excellent skater, and has good vision and puck handling. But there seems to be a consensus that he needs to capitalize more on his offensive chances and show that he is capable of playing a more NHL-like physical game, since he is only 5-11, 185 lbs this could be a concern. He had a solid if not spectacular season with Avangard Omsk’s 3rd division team in 1999-00 with 23 points in 22 games, but his real attention grabber for scouts was at WJU18’s this ye Read more »
Now that Doug Weight has been traded to St. Louis the aftermath will be lessened due to Kevin Lowe’s timing. In the best interest of the team he made the deal now to allow the new members of the club to blend into the existing fold with as little turmoil as possible.Knowing that Doug Weight’s value would diminish the longer he was kept with the team it was felt that severing the ties and receiving a reasonable return and focus on the team, as a whole would serve a greater purpose.
The deal as follows has Doug Weight and Michel Riesen going to St. Louis and Jochen Hecht, Marty Reasoner and Jan Horacek returning to Edmonton. Now on the surface it may seem that the Oilers did not receive full value for Doug Weight but appearances can be deceiving. The difficulties that arose for Kevin Lowe were the facts that Doug Weight was to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and he would not be able to afford him and he requested to be traded to a contender only. Having only a few options since Weight would not have signed with a rebuilding team this was the best that could be done by Kevin Lowe. It was felt through out the organization that trading Weight now would give the time for the team to come together as a group with the new players and establish leadership roles to replace their captain.
Both forwards from St. Louis have the type of skills that the Oilers management was looking for and each could adapt to the system quickly with a full training camp. After two seasons’ with the Blues Hecht has displayed a tremendous amount of talent and it appears to Read more »
The weekend’s busy free agent round-up effected the Penguins quickly. Garth Snow was snatched up by the Islanders and Bob Boughner was obtained by the Flames.
The Pens have let Rene Corbet and Steve McKenna also field other offers. The complete list of Pen’s personnel to currently be unrestricted are as follows :
All eyes are on the Pens now, as Craig Patrick has stated that after the major name free agents were signed, the Jagr trade could finally materialize.
The following prospects are also availabe :
Boris Protsenko (see archive articles)
Sakic, Blake, Roy, Hasek, Turgeon, Weight, Robitaile, Audette, and others have contracts. The Rangers have been frantically stockpiling prospects in mini trades throughout the league and have not secured a marquee name as of yet, leading many to speculate the Jagr is still the main target.
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 »