Alex Vasiliev a once heralded defensive prospect with the tools thought to be NHL ready attended camp unsigned and his rights were traded to the Nashville Predators for a conditional draft pick. Vasiliev showed promise in Hartford scoring 10 goals and adding 28 assists in 75 contests. Vasiliev was an early front runner to NHL promotion but then suffered a less than stellar AHL championship run for the Hartford Wolf Pack giving up many in front of the goal passes and had trouble handling the physical AHL play. This move coupled with the presence of Mike Mottau creates some excitement in the Rangers camp for the final defensive positions. Jason Doig has shown tremendous will in trying to make the team using his 6-3 225 frame and his offensive flare to accomplishing the goal of being a Rangers regular.
Mike Mottau who is in camp on a try out basis has been playing decent hockey but sitting out for so long during camp and not playing for Hartford last season during their Calder Run to the Championships in the AHL may have stunted his development but he is still closer to being a lock than Doig and enforcer Dale Purinton. Mottau played superb 2-way hockey in college and has the tools to make it at the NHL level. Although under 200 pounds he plays like a man 20 pounds heavier but just as quick.
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The Buffalo Sabres continued their exhibition slate with back-to-back games against the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sabres should be excused if they felt that their opponent seemed a little familiar, as Columbus had a total of seven former Sabres prospects/players on their training camp roster.
Those former Sabres still fighting for Columbus roster spots include D Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, RW Matt Davidson, LW Geoff Sanderson, LW Barrie Moore and RW Martin Spahnel. Two former Buffalo prospects, C Brad Moran and D Sergei Klimentiev, were assigned to the Syracuse Crunch this past week. Sanderson and Grand-Pierre are probably locks to make the Blue Jacket roster, while Davidson, Moore and Spahnel are still in the thick of the roster battle with several other players.
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A lot of questions face the London Knights as they begin the 2000-2001 season. One, where are their European imports? They are currently missing in action in Europe. It is still unknown if they will be coming over to play or not. Two, will Joel Scherban and Chris Kelly return from pro camps to play as over agers. Three, will the kids be able to respond to the extra ice time.
The Knights missed the playoffs last year, and to make matters worse, they chose not to deal any veterans at the deadline, as they hoped to make a last dash effort to make the playoffs and then make some noise. They fell short of the mark, and so now a lot of young kids are thrust into roles which time will tell if they are able to fill.
In goal, Aaron Molnar, a 19 year old Colorado draft pick is the number one man. He hasn’t played a lot in the OHL, but that will change this year. He will see the lions share of the work, and will see a lot of rubber. In the home opener he made over 40 saves in a 4-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires. He showed some nice lateral movement in making key saves on the Spitfires big line of Mather, Ott, and Kennedy. He made a lot of nice saves in scrambles, staying low and covering the holes until the Defence could move the puck out. The Knights will need a lot of nights like this from Molnar if they are going to compete.
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The Pens made 2 huge steps today in finalizing their final roster for their opening games in Japan against the Nashville Predators
The most important step was coming to terms with expected #1 starting goalie Jean-Sebastian Aubin. Terms of the contract, which was reported between periods of the Pens/Avalanche exhibition game in Hershey, were not released.
The Pens also made a number of roster moves today that cut the roster to 24 players (one less than they will take to Japan). The 2 biggest surpises were the inclusion of forward Bill Tibbetts and defenseman Josef Melichar (the Pens #4 prospect) on the “final” roster.
Tibbetts certainly has gotten much press this camp so far, little concerning his play on the ice. And the beginning of camp showed that 3 years off the ice can be brutal with regards to your skills. But apparently, he made real strides as camp progressed and will likely fill a 4th line role with the Pens.
Melichar was expected to be sent to Wilkes-Barre at the beginning of camp, but beat out the more experienced Sven Butenschon for the final spot on the roster. By all accounts, Sven had an excellent camp, but Melichar simply beat him out. Butenschon will need to clear waivers before he is sent to Wilkes-Barre.
Also making the team was Calder Trophy candidate forward Milan Kraft. While Milan didn’t have as good of a camp as last year, he was good enough to garner a spot on the roster.
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The National U18 Team is having some early troubles this year. Tonight, they couldn’t put any offense on the board as they netted only one goal. Brian McConnell got the goal on an assist from Bryan Miller. Des Moines had a balanced attact with 7 different players scoring goals. Mike Mantua played solid in the nets for the Bucs. Mantua is playing very well and looks to be one of the best goalies in the USHL this year. Tomorrow the USNTDP U18 Team takes on the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. Expect the National Team to come out of the gates flying and put some goals up on the board. They certainly have the talent, they just need to make some adjustments and everything should be fine.
Next weekend will be a big weekend for the National squad as they face Chicago and Sioux Falls in USHL action. The first week of October they will find out how much they have improved as they take on CCHA teams Michigan State and Western Michigan. This year the NTDP is playing a mixture of USHL and Division 1 and 3 teams.
Sens News and Notes for the Week of September 24
The Sens roster has been trimmed down to 30 players. You can expect the next cuts by mid-week after a game against the Oilers. The four cuts this week-end were all sent to Grand Rapids.
Mathieu Chouinard He played well throughout camp but like all young goalies requires some more seasoning. For the most part it could be said management was surprised with Chouinard’s level of play in comparison to his mediocre season of junior last year. It may only be a matter of time before he’s the Sens number one goalie.
Chris Neil With the exception of Havlat no player made more of name for himself in camp then Neil; many observers are shocked Neil didn’t make it past this round of cuts. He was fearless and always eager to please his teammates. All in all, camp was a great success and you can expect to see Neil in an Ottawa jersey sometime this season.
Konstantin Gorovikov Despite the fact coach Jacques Martin constantly referred to him as Konstantinov, Gorovikov showed promise in all the exhibition games he player. The only knock against him is the Sens prodigious depth on defence.
Derek King This year the once proud Islander will find himself playing in the IHL again and will be asked to provide veteran leadership in Grand Rapids.
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With three wins in three pre-season games, the Buffalo Sabres have won as many games as they did in the three previous pre-seasons combined. Granted, the caliber of competition consisted of two teams (Boston and Chicago x2) that will be going nowhere fast this season, but the wins have been impressive nonetheless because of the play of Buffalo’s young prospects.
The first game, a 5-3 victory over Boston, was a penalty-filled affair that saw several youngsters make the score sheet. Impressive newcomer J.P. Dumont scored a power play goal off an assist from Jeremy Adduono. Adduono and Dimitri Kalinin assisted on an Erik Rasmussen 2nd period power play goal, while Brian Campbell helped setup Doug Gilmour’s power play tally in the 3rd period. Eric Boulton, a brawler making a serious bid to land a spot on the Buffalo roster, provided some fisticuffs in a spirited 3rd period battle with Boston tough guy Ken Belanger. Boulton displayed more than just a good uppercut, however, as he has good speed and enough hockey sense to keep himself from being a liability when he is on the ice. In spite of Boulton’s inspired play, Dumont was probably the most effective prospect in this game, as he displayed the offensive instincts and skills that made him a top prospect in his draft year.
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Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Additional roster cuts announced: Prior to embarking on a pre-season tour of Western Canada, the Maple Leafs assigned several players to the St. John’s camp … sent to the “Rock” were goaltenders Vladimir Kulikov and Mike Minard, blueliners Chad Allan, David Cooper, Tyler Harlton, Hugo Marchand, and Allan Rourke and forwards Vladimir Antipov, Syl Apps, Jonathan Gagnon, Mikael Hakansson, Bobby House, Jacques Lariviere, Frantisek Mrazek, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jason Sessa, and Morgan Warren … the Leafs also sent Brad Boyes back to the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League after a most impressive showing by their 2000 first round selection …
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Starting October 4th, Hockey’s Future will be listed as an “official” Hockey site on the Florida Panther’s web page. All Florida fans looking for in-depth information about prospects and rookies will have the opportunity to learn about the prospects by visiting Hockey’s Future. In addition, for the service of the site’s long time readers, we will be able to duplicate the work from the web-site and post it here for all the Hockey’s Future readers.
These articles are from the Panther’s web-site and are sent out to their Cyber-news signups, and are posted here with permission.
One of the first features is a training camp diary of the highly touted rookie Denis Shvidki.
On how training camp is going:
The first couple of days were tough because I didn’t skate that much this
summer because of my ankle injury. My ankle was still sore too. But now I
feel a lot better. My ankle feels much better, and I’m looking forward to
playing in the exhibition games. I want to see how well I can do.
Did it upset you to miss rookie camp:
No, because I wasn’t ready to skate hard. It was good to get therapy on my
ankle. Now I have no problems. We were working on it every day with
ultrasound, ice, and special workouts. Trainer Stan Wong designed workouts
for my ankle that lasted about 20 minutes every day. One more week and
therapy should be over, but right now it feels good and it’s not bugging me.
On the ice…:
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