The 2000 NHL entry draft is right around the corner and I am back as I promised in my previous article. I will now focus on Slovak players who might be picked in this draft. I divided these players into four categories. The first category includes hot prospects who are ranked in the top 40 of the North American and European CSB lists. The second category includes kids who are ranked in the top 100. The third category mentions junior prospects who were not ranked. The fourth and final category specifies over-aged players who are in my opinion really solid prospects not only for the top European Elites but also for the NHL, even though they are not 18 or 19.
No doubt that Marián Gáborík (CSB Euro #4, 02-14-1982, 6’1″ 183 lb., LW, Trencín – Extraliga, 50GP 25G-22A-47Pts +1 34PIM) is the top Slovak and European prospect. He has a real chance to be the #1 pick. While CSB ranks him at #4 on the European list, a lot of scouts, GM’s, journalists, and fans do not dispute that he is the best prospect. It does not matter whether Marián will be selected as #1 or 2 or 3. He has all the potential to start in the best hockey league next season and prove his obvious talent. In the last two seasons he refused more serious offers from IHL and QMJHL (where he was picked in the import draft) and stayed to play in the Slovak Elite – Extraliga. However, next season will be a big challenge for him and he will make the account of that.
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After two years of building the franchise and laying the foundation for success in the NHL, the Nashville Predators will participate in their third Entry Draft on June 24 and 25 in Calgary. The Predators will select sixth overall, barring a trade to move up or down in the first round order. Rumors and speculation about possible trades have been circulating for several weeks, especially in the wake of the New York Islanders winning the draft lottery and moving up to the top overall pick. What the Predators do in the first round will likely be determined by those potential deals, whether Nashville is involved in them or not.
Lately, Nashville GM David Poile has talked about trading down, especially if there is no one the team is excited about at the sixth pick. Poile has indicated that the team might use its “time out” option when its pick comes up in the draft, to allow more time for trade negotiations. If another team wants a player badly enough at the sixth pick and is willing to pay the price in order to move up, Poile would love to make the kind of trade that Tampa Bay did last year, when the Lightning acquired Dan Cloutier and Niklas Sundstrom, along with first and third round draft picks in 2000 in exchange for the fourth overall selection in 1999. The chances of that kind of deal emerging are very slim, but Nashville will definitely listen to all offers on draft day.
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IHL ROOKIE PROFILE
Player: Nikos Tselios
Birthdate: January 20, 1979
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 187 lbs
YEAR TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM
1995-96 Chicago Midgets 27 5 8 13 40
1996-97 Belleville OHL 64 9 37 46 61
1997-98 Belleville OHL 20 2 10 12 16
Plymouth OHL 41 8 20 28 27
1998-99 Plymouth OHL 60 21 39 60 60
1999-00 Cincinnati IHL 80 3 19 22 75
Nikos was selected in the first round (22 overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Nikos was assigned to the Cincinnati
Cyclones by the Hurricanes on September 12, 1999. Last season Nikos led the team in points by a defenceman and placed 8th in leading scoring
by a defenceman in the OHL with 60 points on 21 goals and 39 assists. Had 12 points in 11 playoff games last year for Plymouth. Nikos cousin is
Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios. Nikos is an exciting defenceman to watch and he has a smooth stride and a powerful point shot. Moves the puck
quickly and efficiently. On the ice Nikos communicates well with his teammates and sees the entire ice well especially in traffic.
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The expansion draft, free agency, and the entry draft are all fast approaching and for a team looking to rebuild and re-evaluate under new management the Rangers time is now.
First and foremost should be the hiring of a coach. Glen Sather is expected to announce the hiring of Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL Champions) coach John Paddock to take over the duties of NY bench boss. Paddock is a well respected team coach who uses a philosophy which balances respect, toughness, and motivation to win over his players. Other candidates include the banished Ted Nolan and Rangers assistant John Tortorella. Tortorella may assume the duties of Paddock in Hartford. However, Sather believes he is a capable drafter of talent without a coach, none the less the time is now.
With the upcoming draft the Rangers have several options available even without a first rounder, which went to Tampa for the rights to Pavel Brendl. Disgruntled Stephane Quintal may be included in a package for a 1st rounder, or in fact for anything at all. Another option would be to sit on the 2nd pick and look for a 2nd round gem. This player may turn out to be one of the few players the Rangers have been analyzing such as Brett Nowak who is a projected 2nd Rounder after a non existent World Juniors Tourney, but he would help fill the void up front. Thatcher Bell is another player who should be available but at 175 pounds may not be big enough for the Rangers needs. Of course disgruntled Randy Copley, 1998 draftee of New York, re-enters and may be a return product.
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The more things change, the more they stay the same. That certainly proves
true for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Like in past drafts, the Ducks are
looking for hard working forwards who can put up big numbers. That’s easier
said than done. The Ducks still lack pure scorers in their system and more
importantly, lack character players with strong skills.
The obvious need is for a power forward. Jay Legault is yet to blossom in
the AHL and other potential power forward candidates have been
disappointments. Mike Leclerc had an inconsistent first NHL year and Peter
Leboutillier and Jeremy Stevenson might have worn out their welcomes. The
forwards who do score for the Ducks have been criticized for a lack of hard
work. Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne are fine scorers but they aren’t the
type to battle in the corners or lead by example.
The Ducks have had relatively successful drafts the last few years. They
have taken players out of relative obscurity and found legitimate prospects.
Others have become potential steals like that of college standout Jordan
Leopold. The Ducks are expected to focus on a group of European forwards
POTENTIAL FORWARD CHOICES:
Martin Samuelsson -
Samuelsson would fit in perfectly with the Ducks. The Ducks have a fetish
for Swedish players and Samuelsson is one of the best in the draft. His Read more »
The Blackhawks needs are many. The organization has deteriorated due to poor player evaluation at every level, and the newest messiah, GM Smith has a large cupboard to refill. There is a need for a developmental goaltender who actually can really end up as a major leaguer over time. The goalie position has only a few candidates, none whom have displayed the solid skills needed to be a regular NHL goaltender. At least one goalie will be picked possibly in the first three picks.
This team needs a speedy scorer. This team needs a #1 centre. This team needs faster big forwards who will sacrifice themselves along the boards, make it back on defense. This team needs transition defenseman and hard rock defensemen capable of making excellent passes out of their zone and also
being quick out of their own end, if they are not quarterback types. This team needs team guys that won’t quit.
The seats in Chicago have seen less fans as the team swan dived a second year Read more »
by Derek Cheng
Boston Bruins defenseman Hal Gill stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 240 pounds. Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr once proclaimed him to be the toughest one-on-one rearguard in the National Hockey League.
Martin Grenier stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. He has yet to make his first appearance in a Bruins’ uniform, but fans and management can already feel the impact he could make.
Now imagine these two young giants (Gill, 25 and Grenier 20) standing across Boston’s blueline. It is enough to make every Bruins fan smile and any opponents fearful.
Martin Grenier was orginally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche (45th overall) in the ’99 Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Bruins along with Swedish prospect Samuel Pahlsson and veteran forward Brian Rolston on March 6, 2000. Grenier has some big skates to fill, as he was the only defenseman acquired for Bruins legend Ray Bourque. Grenier had been pegged as a first round pick in ’99, but some scouts felt he lacked discipline and that his skating was sub-par. He improved his game considerably in ’99-’00, but many feel that he is still a wildcard in the trade for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.
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IHL PLAYER PROFILE
Birthdate: July 16, 1976
Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Weight: 195 lbs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
1993-94 Newmarket Royals OHL 55 11 4 15 69
1994-95 Sarnia Sting OHL 58 24 25 49 103
1995-96 Sarnia Sting OHL 48 36 32 68 93
1996-97 South-Carolina Stingrays ECHL 12 3 6 9 28
1996-97 St.-John's Maple Leafs AHL 9 1 4 5 8
1997-98 Kentucky Thoroughblades AHL 64 8 14 22 172
1998-99 Kansas-City Blades IHL 69 11 21 32 163
1999-00 Kansas-City Blades IHL 61 13 19 32 139
Just 23 years old, Yarema finished his third year as a pro when the Blades
finished the 1999-2000. He established career-highs with Kansas City in
1998-99 and in 1999-2000 totaling 32 points in both seasons. He finished
second to Dody Wood in penalty minutes with 163 in 98-99.
A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Yarema spent the 1997-98 season with
the American League’s Kentucky Thoroughblades where he registered 22 points
(8 goals, 14 assists) to go with 172 penalty minutes in 64 games. The year
before that, the six-foot, 195-pound center/left wing assisted in the South
Carolina Stingrays run to the East Coast League’s Kelly Cup title.
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On June 24 and 25, the NHL will gather in Calgary for the 2000 Entry Draft. Armed with three picks in the first sixty, Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford and Sheldon Ferguson, Director of Amateur Scouting, will take a dip into the amateur pool to restock the Canes farm system.
The Hurricanes will be picking 14, 44 and 58, in the first two rounds. the first two picks are theirs, while the 58 pick is from Philadelphia, in the Primeau/Brind’Amour-Pelletier trade.
The Canes have hung onto their drafted players the last few years. They learned their lesson the hard way. In 1995, the then Hartford Whalers, traded future Hart and Norris Trophy winner Chris Pronger to the St. Louis Blues. The blossoming of Pronger after leaving the franchise, showed the team to give their young players a chance to develop. In the last two seasons, Carolina has traded just two drafted players. Both of them were defensemen and both were traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. In 1998, the Canes shipped NHL’er Adam Burt and in 1999, the sent QMJHL’er Francis Lessard.
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