The AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (affectionately referred to as
the Baby Pens) fell two victories shy of the league championship and the
Calder Cup trophy this Spring. However, along the way several Pittsburgh
Penguin prospects demonstrated enormous potential and will no doubt
challenge NHL veterans for starting jobs at training camp for the
Citing individual season stats in both the AHL and NHL (wherever
appropriate), I will list the Penguins current crop of candidates and on
what roster they can be expected to appear next season.
NOTE – Playoff
stats are the second line
These are the players that most likely will crack the Pen’s NHL ranks
MARIO’S MEN -
and have either demonstrated success in the pros or have attributes that
fill the parent team’s current weaknesses.
C Milan Kraft 6'3" 200lbs. Showed brilliant scoring touch in AHL.
AHL 40gp 21g 23a 44p NHL 42gp 7g 7a 14p
AHL 14gp 12g 7a 19p NHL 8gp 0g 0a 0p
C Toby Peterson 5'10" 193lbs. Very effective when called up to the big
AHL 73gp 26g 41a 67p NHL 12gp 2g 6a 8p
AHL 21gp 7g 6a 13p NHL 0gp
L Greg Crozier 6'0" 185lbs. Has power forward potential.
AHL 77gp 24g 36a 60p NHL 1gp 0g 0a 0p
AHL 21gp 6g 5a 11p NHL 0gp
R Billy Tibbetts 6'2" 215lbs. Gritty and not bad around the net.
AHL 38gp 14g 24a 38p 185pim NHL 29gp 1g 2a 3p 131pim
AHL 12gp 4g 6a 10p 55pim NHL 0gp
G Rich Parent 6'3" 215lbs. Was huge factor in AHL championship.
AHL 35gp 17w 12l Read more »
Here is a look at the 10 top prospects in the USHL from the defensive aspect. These are the crème of the crop, some of the best defenders, passers and hitters that there are in this league. Height, weight and age to each players profile go along with their season stats. Each player’s college destination is in parenthesis. They are in no particular order.
1. Keith Ballard – Omaha Lancers (U. of Minnesota)
Ballard is a defensive player who has it all. His size is not intimidating at 5’11” and 200 lbs, but it is definitely misleading. He accumulated 168 PIM for the Lancers this season while assisting on the offensive end with 22 goals and 29 assists. Ballard has the soft touch pass and can double as a forward if need be. In other words, he is one of the best two-way hockey players in his age group. Ballard played his first season with the US National Under 18 squad before exceeding their age limit and then joining Omaha this year. He may be the top overall defenseman in the league as he can hit, take a hit, pass, score and of course defend better than no other.
2. Jesse Baraniuk – Green Bay Gamblers (Northern Michigan U.) Read more »
On the evening that the Saint John Flames clinch the Calder Cup, with a 1-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barrie Scranton Penguins, it only makes sense to look toward the future of the Calgary Flames and where they are headed. Will the club see an influx of talent from the farm next season, and will the success in the AHL translate into success in the NHL? Will the team find that their prospects are ready to make some of the veterans expendable to the point of allowing a deal to improve the top lines? What does the future hold?
With the St. John Flames winning the AHL Championship banner it might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking minor league success translates into major league success. It was pointed out by numerous people during these play-offs, that St. John did not possess the best talent of any team in the run for the Calder Cup. They didn’t have any superstars in the making, or any grizzled veterans to carry the team to victory. What they did have was a solid team approach to playing the game, an amazing chemistry in the dressing room, and an endless supply of heart that willed the team on through out the play-offs. All of this from a team that had an average age of 22. The amazing thing was that the team was lead in the playoffs by four young players, Sergei Varlamov (22), Daniel Tkaczuk (21), Steve Begin (21) and Derrick Walser (23). The only veteran to crack the top five scorers was Marty Murray (26). These young players came to play and proved their meddle through out the play-offs. That must bode well for the Flames in the long run, right?
Read more »
After two seasons with the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers, the Tampa Bay Lightning has entered into an affiliation with the Springfield Falcon’s of the American Hockey League.
Tampa Bay will share the affiliation with Phoenix Coyotes. Each team will be allowed to send ten players to Springfield.
Phoenix General Manager Cliff Fletcher served as Senior Advisor to Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley last season. The two have maintained a good relationship, which played a part in the affiliation.
“Having Wayne Gretzky and Cliff Fletcher in Phoenix and [President & General Manager] Bruce Landon in Springfield makes us very comfortable with this shared affiliation agreement,” Dudley said in a Press Release issued by the Lightning. “For an arrangement like this to work successfully for everyone involved, it is essential to maintain strong relationships with both your NHL and your AHL partner. It is clear that the relationship we maintain with those in management in Phoenix and Springfield will make this arrangement work successfully for everyone involved.”
Many of Tampa’s prospects suffered on a hapless Detroit Viper team over the past two seasons. The Vipers only posted 45 wins during the time affiliated with Tampa Bay. With the shared affiliation, Tampa prospects will be able to play at a higher level while in the minor leagues. Player’s who should be playing at the ECHL level, will be able to do so, rather than being used to fill an affiliate roster, as we saw frequently in Detroit.
The agreement with Springfield wi Read more »
Rebellious Cup Champs
As the Red Deer Rebels were crowned
Memorial Cup champions this past week
in Regina in a thrilling overtime victory
over the Val D’or Foreurs, I was
overcome with mixed emotions. On one
hand, the WHL had won the Memorial
Cup for the first time in three years. On
the other, it was the dreaded Rebels who
were carrying the hardware, and
deservedly so after being ranked the
number one club in the country for the
last eleven weeks of the season, but I
still found it difficult to garner any
feelings of elation for the Rebels. After
the heat I took for not towing the line
and pulling for the league representative
my stance has not wavered. Call me a
poor sport or whatever, but I still
couldn’t bring myself to do it. That
being said, congratulations are in order
for the Red Deer franchise. They are the
best club in the CHL and had the
deepest, most well-rounded roster of
any of the Memorial Cup teams. They
relied on talent, hard work reminiscent
of the Coach, G.M. and owner, Brent
Sutter and the rarely wavered from the
system Sutter instituted from the very
beginning. If there was ever a model to
building a Memorial Cup winner, the
Rebels are the latest example.
I did however have lots to cheer about
the actual tournament itself. From the
casual fans’ point of view who watching
on television and perhaps not as familiar
as the dedicated fan with the junior
game and what it has to offer, the week-
long tournament did the junior game
proud in promoting itself to the masses.
The week long televi Read more »
This has been quite a season for Igor Knyazev. After first being replaced as the captain of the Russian Junior National Team and then not being picked for the 2001 U20 WJC team at all, Igor never dissapeared and once proved that he is one of the best all around defensemen in the upcoming 2001 NHL Entry Draft. After being slowed by injuries at the end of the 1999-01 season, Igor was one of the leading defensemen with Spartak Moscow, helping to lead that team into the Super League after a 2 year absense. After being ranked by the CSB 13th in the midseason report, he jumped 6 spots to the 7th place among European skaters.
(for more information, interviews, articles, photographs and etc. please
Standing at 6’1 and 196 pounds at only the age of 18, Igor definitely has the size to play in the NHL. Besides possessing the physical size, Igor uses it well to play a solid all around defensive game. Igor is an above average skater and is a solid puck carrier from the defensive zone. Igor loves playing defense and played at this position his whole life. In an interview with Moscow Hockey he himself said: “I always liked the role of the defense – to disrupt the offense of the opponent and to begin our own”. Igor is very good in this role. He is an aggressive defenseman who racks up the penalty minutes, but he also has great hockey sense. He is able to read the play well, make a quick decision and potentially Read more »
The time is quickly ticking away for the Boston Bruins to come to terms with Memorial Cup Most Valuable Player and top prospect Kyle Wanvig. The Bruins have until May 31st at midnight to sign Wanvig to a contract before he can re-enter the 2001 NHL entry draft.
Wanvig, 6’ 2”, 220-lbs., had 2-4-6 totals in the Memorial Cup en route to being named the Stafford Smythe trophy winner as the tournament’s most valuable player. Both of his goals came on the power play during the championship game against the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL.
Kyle, who was drafted in the 3rd round (89th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, had a career season for the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) this past season. In 69 games for the Rebels Wanvig scored 55 goals while adding 46 assists for 101 points while spending 202 minutes in the penalty box.
Many say Kyle could potentially skate alongside Joe Thornton on the Bruins second line next season if he signs. This would be great for the Bruins if Wanvig could step right into the NHL on the second line and play like he did this past season in the Western Hockey League. Wanvig is close to the NHL but to put that type of pressure on a rookie isn’t a good recipe for success.
While Kyle is an excellent power forward he will definitely not let Boston fans forget about Cam Neely who many say invented the power forward position. The Bruins tried Landon Wilson to help fill Neely’s shoes but didn’t work out and Wilson has since moved onto the Phoenix Coyotes where he has found a regular shift and next u Read more »
Curtis Murphy scored two goals and Norm Maracle made 18 saves as the Orlando Solar Bears beat the Chicago Wolves 5-1 to capture the IHL’s 56th and final Turner Cup championship.
Orlando, the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers, won the best-of-seven series 4-1 in the swan song for both the league and the Solar Bears.
Four IHL teams, including the runner-up Wolves, are expected to join the AHL next season and form a single developmental league for the top prospects of the NHL.
IHL TURNER CUP FINAL RECAP
Chicago Wolves 1 Read more »
Coming from Munich
Christoph Schubert, a 19 year old defenseman, who was born in the bavarian capital München (Munich). He is a eligible draft prospect for the upcoming Draft and maybe a NHL-team picked him up. Is he talented enough? Yes, Schubert are always in the first line of every bantam, midget and junior team he played for. The coaches saw his big potential and gave him many ice-time. They know, that they could have a great defender talent on their roster.
His junior days
His first junior season where he appeared the full length of the season in a junior team was 1998-99. He played for the EV Landshut junior team; their pro team spent the season in the DEL and the best juniors maybe get a shot there. Marco Sturm for example was in the same situation, but Sturm make the team in the pre-season and there wasn’t so much foreign players in the pro team. The terrific number of 18 players haven’t a german passport, so the young prospects had no chance to play. Also, Landshut had eight defenders on their roster, to hard to get a shot to play in th DEL for Schubert.
But he played a solid season in their junior team, appearing in 28 games, scoring 10 goals and recording 35 points. A good number for a def Read more »
Thank you to the people who corrected the information that I had on Danius Zubrus’s contract.
2000-01 regular season numbers – 12 games, 660 minutes, 2.45 GAA, 3 wins, 5 losses, 2 ties, .915 save %
Contract Status – signed through 2002-2003 season
Comments – Although Craig doesn’t get a lot of playing time with the Capitals, he plays very well when he is in. All signs point to him being happy as Kolzig’s backup and the Capitals being happy with him. One of the benefits of having Billington as a backup is that as a veteran, he can and does help Kolzig with positioning and confidence. I would be extremely surprised if he does not return.
2000-01 regular season numbers – 42 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, -3, 4 PIM
Contract Status – Capitals have option on 2001-2002 season
Comments – James came into last season still trying to recover from a broken leg sustained the year before, and it seemed that missing camp hurt his conditioning which in turn hurt his position with the team. Primarily a role-player and penalty-killer, James was a healthy scratch for all six Capitals playoff games. It has been reported in the Washington Post that the Capitals are leaning towards not exercising the option on James’s contract, thus making him an Unrestricted Free Agent after July 1.
Peter Bondra Read more »