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Top 20 Panther prospects

by Mark Fischel

Hockey’s Future is proud to announce the all new and improved updated Panthers Team Page. After countless debates, several fist-fights, the top 20 Panther prospects for the upcoming 2001-2002 season is listed below for your enjoyment.

Florida Panthers Top 20 Prospects

1.Kristian Huselius, Left Wing
Possibly the best prospect in Europe and the best player in the Swedish Elite League, the emergence of Huselius and his dominant play made it very easy to envision him on the second line of the Panthers. He has come to contract terms and will be counted on to make the adjustment to the NHL as soon as possible and provide a 2nd line scoring option.

2. Denis Shvidki, Right Wing
Quickly adjusted to the AHL and the physical play, Denis broke two AHL All-Star records and scored 24 points in 32 games in Louisville. At a late season call-up, Denis scored 7 points in his last 14 games and improved his play in all 3 zones. He is ready to play in the NHL and may not be hindered by getting reduced ice-time on the 3rd line for the next few years.

3. Stephen Weiss, Center Read more »

Hockey’s Future goes 1 on 1 with Vaclav Nedorost

by pbadmin

One of the top prospects in hockey, Vaclav Nedorost talks with Peter Baptista about what it’s like to be part of such a world-class organization, his
experiences during the NHL playoffs this year and what he thinks of Pittsburgh Penguins center Mario Lemieux .

PB: What does it feel like to be part of such a world-class organization?
VN: Colorado is a great organization. They treat the players great. I was
in Denver for playoffs and really enjoyed the city and the people in the Avalanche organization.

PB: When did the Avalanche talk to you about a contract for this season?
VN: I signed my contract in April. I am very happy with my contract.

PB: Are you playing in North America this season?

VN: Yes. Right now I am training in Edmonton and staying with my agent. I
want to get stronger and get ready for Colorado’s training camp.

PB: Do you think you could make the Avalanche out of camp?
VN: I will try my best.

PB: What is your strongest asset?
VN: I think that a have very good hockey sense and I read the game very well. That is my strongest asset.

PB: What is your weakest asset?
VN: I continually like to improve all aspects of my game. That is my goal.

PB: Who do you think is the best player on the Avalanche roster? Read more »

News on Hecht, Ustorf, Benda and the Oilers

by Oliver Janz

Hecht signed for hometeam Adler Mannheim

Forward Jochen Hecht made a surpising announcement. He signed a one year contract with his former team in germany, Adler Mannheim. The DEL-champion held a press conference and you saw Hecht with his new jersey with the number 77. Why did he sign for Mannheim? The whole story: The 24 year old center became an restricted free agent after the season. He talked to his manager and his agent and they let him know the Blues will sign him to a new multi year contract. But, Hecht went back to germany to marry his girlfriend Christina in his hometown and no one talked to him till he received a message from his agent: The Blues traded him together with Jan Horacek and Marty Reasoner to Edmonton for Doug Weight and Michel Riesen. That shocked Hecht very much. “I know that this can happen, but i don’t like it!”

Jochen Hecht is still without a NHL-contract. So, remember Petr Nedved, he played in the czech republic to set the management under pressure. The only reason fot these movements is the money. One more time Hecht: “It’s a pleasure for me to play for the Oilers, a team Gretzky and Messier played for in the past. I want to play for them and i want to sign a good contract.” Hecht will play for Read more »

Penguins Payroll Analysis

by Stephen Payne

Here is an overview of what Craig Patrick has to work with for the Penguins’
payroll this season:

Listed below are the players from last year’s team that are unrestricted free
agents that we will most likely not sign (or have already been signed by
another team):

Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary/New Team (If Signed)/New Salary for This

Josef Beranek
, 31, Forward, $770,000, None
Marc Bergevin, 35, Defense, $875,000, None
Bob Boughner, 30, Defense, $950,000, Calgary Flames, 3 years, $6.6 million
Garth Snow, 31, Goaltender, $600,000, New York Islanders, 2 years, $2.3 million

Listed below are the players that have been traded:

Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary/Salary This Year/ New Team

Jaromir Jagr
, 29, Forward, $9,482,708, $10 million, Washington Capitals
Frantisek Kucera, 33, Defense, $1.2 million, $1.2 million, Washington Capitals

Listed below are the restricted free agents that the Penguins have allowed to
sign with other teams:

Name/Age/Position/Last Year’s Salary

Rene Corbet, 28, Forward, $825,000
Steve McKenna, 27, Forward, $450,000

Listed below are Penguin players already with salaries for this year:

Name/Age/Position/This Year’s Salary

Robert Dome
, 22, Forward, $850,000
Andrew Ference, 22, Defense, $400,000
Hans Jonsson, 27, Defense, $800,000
Milan Kraft, 21, Forward, $975,000 Read more »

Rodman goes one-on-one with Hockey’s Future

by pbadmin

Bruins ninth round draft choice Marcel Rodman answers Peter Baptista’s questions about finally being drafted and the likelihood of turning pro this season.

PB: When did you find out the Bruins drafted you?
MR: I found out the good news over the internet, just about half an hour after it happened in Florida. After that I got a few calls from overseas too from my friends and my agent.

PB: Had they spoken with you before the draft?
MR: I hadn’t talked to anybody before the draft, any team at all.

PB: If not, did you think you would be drafted this year?
MR: I was hoping to get drafted, but because I hadn’t been last year I knew my chances were a lot smaller, so I had a feeling if it happens it won’t happen before the 8th round.

PB: Have the Bruins spoke to you about signing a contract, and playing in the organization next year?
MR: As far as I know they are going to give me a chance to play in Providence of course if I show them something good at the training camp, and I don’t know anything about the contract yet.

PB: What would be your preference, Providence (AHL) or returning to Peterborough (OHL) for another season? Read more »

European signings

by Lain Babcock
Kevin Lowe took a page from teams like Minnesota and Columbus by drafting and then signing three older European players, all of whom may step in next season:

G Jussi Markkanen: A 26 year old from Finland, who had a breakthrough season with Tappara of the Finnish Elite League. His record was 30-17-5, with a goals against average of 2.09. The organization is very high on him, and they hope he’ll win the job as Tommy Salo’s backup in 01-02.

D Kari Haakana: 27 years old, rock solid at 6’1 and 228 pounds, Haakana has been described by those who saw him last season (he played for Jokerit of the Finnish elite league) as a punishing hitter, and a very physical defender. The Oilers have expressed confidence that Haakana can step right into the lineup.

D Ales Pisa: 24 years old, 6’0 and 195, Pisa is described as being another solid defenseman, who got riled up enough to hit a referre and get a 15 game suspension last season (he played in the Czech elite league for Pradubice, and scored 10-13-23 in 47 games). Pisa has a hard shot from the point, and may eventually get some power play time. Pisa signed a two way deal with the Oilers, implying some time in Hamilton is possible.

In a much anticipated move, Edmonton signed RW Jani Rita, the highly touted Finnish winger that fans have been waiting to see in an Oilers uniform. Rita signed a three year deal, and has a solid shot at making the big club, although some time in Hamilton might be best for him. Rita is from the 1999 Oilers draft class (he was picked 13th overall) that also includes M Read more »

Caps add Jagr, but lose some great young talent

by Rick Davis
The Washington Capitals traded Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk, along with future considerations to Pittsburgh for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera. While this trade is great for the Caps right now, it depletes their prospect pool and may come back to haunt them when Jagr’s contract expires in two years. The Caps get a player like Jagr without giving up any current roster players.

Here’s an attempt to put into perspective what the Capitals lost and how big of a hole it puts in their system of prospects.

Kris Beech probably had the most potential upside of any Capitals prospect. He’s a great passer and he should develop into a first or second line center. He was pencilled in to Portland to play in the AHL next year, as he would probably benefit from more ice time in the AHL as opposed to limited opportunities as a rookie in the NHL.

Going in to this summer it looked like Michal Sivek would be the prospect who would make the Caps out of camp, and he could be on the Penguins next fall. If the Penguins trade Jan Hrdina or Robert Lang, Sivek has an even greater chance of making the team. However, it is likely that Michal would also benefit from a year in the AHL, perhaps two.
Read more »

Hurricanes Sign Defenseman Igor Knyazev

by Brandon LeBourveau
The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that the team has come to terms with Russian defenseman Igor Knyazev, who was selected 15th overall in the 1st Round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Knyazev signed a three year deal, including a $900,000 signing bonus, the most ever given to a Hurricanes’ 1st round entry draft pick.

“We are very pleased to sign Igor,” assistant general manager Jason Karmanos said. “This will give him the opportunity to make our team. This will also get him acclimated to North America as soon as possible.”

Since Knyazev was drafted out of Europe, he has the ability to play in the AHL at 18 years old, unlike players who were drafted out of the OHL, WHL or QMJHL. With the Hurricanes lack of depth on defense, Knyazev will have a good chance of cracking the lineup. He plays a solid all-around game, and doesn’t make many mistakes on the ice. Knyazev plays what is known as a two-way style of game, as he can rush the puck up the ice and chip in offensively while also playing very good defensively and physically in his own zone.

At only 18 years old, rushing Knyazev into the NHL may be too heavy of a burden for him at such a young age. A season or two in the minors would certainly help him get comfortable with North America and the style of game that is played over here, but we’ll have to see how he performs in training camp. With Igor Knyazev and also David Tanabe in the organization, the Hurricanes have two top-notch young defenseman that they can build their team around in the future.

Beyond the first round

by Jake Dole
The 2001 NHL entry draft was, no doubt, one of the deepest in history. With the mass of talent from all over the world, NHL General Mangers were presented with the tough task of selecting young players, relying mainly on scouting, interviews, physical characteristics and personal likings. A fair share of surprises occurred during the draft. In the first round, the Boston Bruins selected Shaone Morrisonn, a tall, lanky kid from Kamloops. Despite his obvious talents, the Bruins were criticized for taking a chance on a player who many thought was inconsistent. The New Jersey Devils, with the 28th overall pick, selected Adrian Foster, a winger from Saskatoon, WHL. The same Adrian Foster who played only 5 games during the year.
There is no question that as soon as the surefire picks are gone, the rest of the draft turns into a crapshoot. General Managers try to hit home runs by the virtue of selecting those with potential, size and some hockey sense, and hope that some day, the tools come together into a package that winds up to be a solid NHL player.
It is interesting to point out that at the draft, Russia was represented by a bundle of hockey talent. Whether in the first round, or in the ninth round, there were players that embodied an undoubtedly rich bulk of potential; maybe more than any other country. To me, it was especially vital to appreciate where the less publicized and advertised names went. The troika of Kovalchuk, Svitov and Chistov was a top 5 lock, months before the draft.
The fir Read more »

Mikael Hakansson having a better year

by Stephen J. Holodinsky


The Forgotten Man

Remember this guy? Picked in the 6th round by the Leafs in 1992, he made his debut on ‘The Rock’ last year and proceeded to net himself 50 points in 64 games including 40 assists. It’s kind of hard to take someone like Mikael Hakansson seriously amidst all of the free agent signings, trades, and prospects vying to get some time with the big club. However, the fact of the matter is, the Swede could yet be a pivotal player on Toronto’s side this year. As most know, Jonas Hoglund is on his way out of the organization and when that happens a spot will be open on the roster for a responsible winger who can bring something to the offensive party. Many assume that winger will be Jeff Farkas, but the feeling here is that Farkas needs to rip it up in St. John’s once more before he is ready for the big show. Enter Mikael Hakansson. The 27 year old winger signed with the Leafs expecting to be able to crack the starting line-up at some point last season. But as fate would have it, the decision to come overseas was made late, the forward was out of condition and ended up in the AHL where injuries made his first year in North America somewhat of a wash. This campaign though is a different story. When healthy, Hakansson showed good tenacity and two way play and as his statistics attest more than a little flair for the passing game. If Hoglund does go before Farkas is ready, a smart bettor might put a farthing or two on this ex-Djurgartens product giving Travis Green, Shayne Corson, and Gary Valk a run f Read more »

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