With the regular season coming to a close in most leagues, many Islanders prospects put the finishing touches on strong seasons. The Isles boast top 15 scorers in all three major junior leagues as well as in the Swedish junior League.
The Isles hottest prospect has been without a doubt Taylor Pyatt. After a slow start the year he has really come on and has been on a tear to end the regular season. Pyatt posted 10 points in 3 games earning him player of the week honors and finished the season with 40 goals and 89 points in 68 games, good for 8th in the league in scoring. He also led the league in plus/minus at +47. Pyatt is showcasing all the skills that will make him an elite power forward in the NHL.
Justin Mapletoft currently stands 7th in the WHL in scoring with 3 games to play. He leads his team in every offensive category and has earned praise for his outstanding defensive play. His totals stand at 37 goals, 91 points, and 131 PIM in 69 games.
In the QMJHL, Juraj Kolnik was dominant all year. Despite missing time with a shoulder injury and to play at the WJC, Kolnik finished 15th in scoring. In only 47 games he lit the lamp 53 times and had 106 points. His shooting percentage has been around 30 percent all year and is a true sniper. His skating still needs a little work, but he has a nose for the net and a tremendous release.
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Bryce Wandler is a kid who was passed up in the NHL draft since first eligible back in ’97. He has descent size and good ability. Sometimes it takes a trade to get a kid going and in Wandler’s case his trade to the Swift Current Broncos was one that possibly set forward in motion a potential career. He does have talent but has been on a rather mediocre at best team. He is a signing that doesn’t hurt the Rangers and at the very least gives them some depth. You have to remember that Dan Cloutier was the goalie of the future and so now the Rangers are trying to get some options out there for the future.
It’s hard to say where exactly a kid like Wandler fits in. Labarbara has been good for horrible teams. Pay no attention to the win loss records or the GAA, the key is the save percentage and in the case of Labarbara it’s always been solid. Mike Richter’s numbers don’t catch the eye but everyone know how good he has been, it’s the same with Labarbara. Holmqvist has all the tools to be a number one goalie but one questions whether or not he wants to come to North America. What he does depends on how set the Rangers are in the net. McLean is a solid veteran who will serve good as an interim backup. Labbe was just a signing for the farm club, not seen as NHL material, plus he is already getting ready to turn 28. Hnilicka is already going to be 27. Both goalies are minor league types, not NHL prospects.
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The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim promised some minor deals this trade deadline and General Manager Pierre Gauthier delivered with the dealings of minor leaguers. The most notable of these players is Johan Davidsson.
The team dealt the once highly touted Davidsson to the Islanders for rookie and Euro veteran Jorgen Jonsson, the older brother of Isles captain Kenny Jonsson. The trade was a statement from Gauthier that the team needed help now not for the future as they try to squak into the playoffs.
Jonsson is having a highly productive season, scoring 11 goals in his first NHL season. He has been projected as a possible second line center down the road. For now though, the Ducks could use his skill. A strong skater and good playmaker, his abilities should add some depth overall to a team that lacks consistency.
One of the key selling points is Jonsson’s strong penalty-killing. He racked up two shorthanded goals with the Isles and since the Ducks have struggled all year shorthanded, he will be a welcomed addition. Anothe selling point is his good speed which fits in perfectly for the fleet footed Ducks team. As an added bonus, Jonsson is good defensively which is perfect for Coach Craig Harstburg who has preached team defense to his team this season.
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The Kings came away from the 2000 trading deadline with something unique to Kings’ fans- exactly what they needed.
The Kings’ acquisition of Nelson Emerson and Kelly Buchberger shows that Kings’ management thinks they can make a run in the playoffs. Two years ago, the Kings were in the hunt for the fourth seed and let the deadline go by without a move of any sort. Last season the Kings were more concerned about dumping soft players than acquiring skaters who can help.
On the surface the Kings basically gave up a promising defenseman in Frankie Kaberle and a player they were going to lose for two forwards who play hard, have the ability to score and provide grit on the forward lines. Both players have at least another year after this and with no forwards coming through the system right away, these guys are a nice fit to hold down the fort for a couple years. As for Audette, he had become so frustrated that he was ineffective on the ice and a distraction in the locker room. I am sure he will have alot of success with Atlanta or whoever he signs with next year, but he was not a good fit for the Kings and they needed some size and grit.
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Hello and welcome to my latest Capitals Prospect Update. I will give you all the latest news and
up-to-date statistics on all of the players on the top 50 list.
The Portland Pirates struggled a bit this week and stand at 39-19-9 (88 points). Hartford
(N.Y.R.) has caught them in their own division, and they now sit tied for first overall in the
AHL – with Hartford holding a game in hand. The Pirates are without Glen Metropolit and Alexei
Tezikov who are currently playing in the NHL. The Pirates also have five players assigned to
Hampton Roads (ECHL): forwards Mike Omicioli and Mike Siklenka, defensemen Gerad Adams and Dean
Stork, and goaltender Curtis Cruickshank.
The CHL regular seasons are almost over, and most of the playoff spots have been clinched
already. In the OHL, Guelph (Charlie Stephens) and London (Krys Barch) are fighting for the last
spot and it would take a miracle for London to get in. Guelph has a seven point lead with five
games to play.
It looks like all of the Capitals’ WHL prospects will be in post-season play this year. Calgary
(Kris Beech & Rastislav Stana), Swift Current (Todd Hornung), Spokane (Roman Tvrdon), Seattle
(Nathan Forster), Tri-City (Jomar Cruz & Blake Evans) and Kelowna (David Johansson & Nolan
Yonkman) have all clinched playoff spots. Red Deer (Ross Lupaschuk) and Prince Albert (Michal
Sivek) are in good shape right now, being nine and six points respectively ahead of ninth-place Read more »
Regular Season ends in Sweden
The playoffs started Sunday in Sweden and for the first time Swedish
teams are playing a best of seven series in the quarterfinals. What might
seem odd is that while the quarterfinals are best of seven, the semis and
the finals are only best of five. The idea of making the quarterfinals a
best of seven series instead of a best of five doesn’t have anything to do
with making sure that the best team wins; this format was implemented so
that clubs can get an extra home-date and make some extra money. Well, the
fans seem to enjoy the slightly altered format so best of seven is probably
here to stay.
As usual in Sweden, the season ended along with some controversy.
Frölunda coach Tommy Boustedt openly critisized the charismatic but
controversial chairman of the Swedish Hockey Association Rickard Fagerlund
saying that he scared away quality coaches from the National Team with his
way of doing business, i.e. talking to people through the media instead of
talking to them eye to eye. Boustedt certainly has a point here, and it
seems that most Elitserien coaches are supporting him in his critisism of
Fagerlund, although none had the balls to openly stand up beside him.
Elitserien Veterans to be drafted again this year
The now yearly drafting of Europeans veterans who teams think can step Read more »
The good, the bad, and the ugly… It’s the name of a good movie, and also very
appropriate for the Sharks 1999/2000 season. Certainly, this has not been a good season
for the San Jose Sharks, but there have been some bright spots. Unfortunately, this season has also had its share of bad and ugly portions for Sharks prospects.
First, I’m in a good mood, so I’ll start with the good. Clearly, it has been a very impressive rookie year for Brad Stuart. Stuart has probably been the top rookie defensemen in the NHL this year, and has consistently been around the top three in opinions for the Calder. While like any rookie he has experienced his ups and downs, he has always managed to come out of them. Stuart was named the Sharks Player of the Month for February.
Stuart has shown everything and more that he was touted as being. He has shown a great amount of offensive skill. At only 20 years old, he has quickly earned time on the special team units, and has quickly become one of their key players. While he has made a share amount of rookie mistakes, one thing that is amazing is that he has always been able to rebound from them, often nullifying the mistake before it costs his team a goal. Read more »
I had an oportunity recently to ask Brandon Wheat Kings forward Ryan Craig a few questions. This is the jist of what I got out of this interview.
The season has been for Ryan Craig, like most of his fellow Wheat King teammates, a dissapointment. Due to injuries and an overall poor team talent wise to play with, Craig has seen his stock for the June NHL entry draft fall. An enlarged spleen (brought on by a case of mononucleosis) forced him to miss the under-18 tournament in August and a shoulder injury sustained after the Top Prospects game forced him out for another three weeks. At the beginning of the season, Craig was being touted as a potential first-round pick. However the injuries, combined with lower then expected numbers on the score sheets this year, has led to Craig’s drop in the rankings.
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March 6, 2000. A day that will live in infamy. Well, not really, but for those who follow the Boston Bruins, there has been one constant over the past 21 seasons. That constant’s name? Raymond Jean Bourque. With Boston all but dead in its playoff quest, the
Bruins traded Bourque and veteran winger Dave Andreychuk to the Colorado Avalanche
for C/W Brian Rolston, C/W Samuel Pahlsson, D Martin Grenier and a first round pick in
either 2000 or 2001.
While many Bruins fans are still in shock over the deal that sent one of
Boston’s true sports icons away in the twilight of his career, all that is left to be done is to sift
through the ashes and figure out whether Boston’s risk taken on youth might pay dividends
in the future.
At face value, there is little to compensate for a player who maintained a consistent
level of excellence for so many years like Bourque did in Boston. Critics of the trade need
merely point to the Avalanche players received and compare their statistics to those of
Bourque and Andreychuk. Taking this approach, clearly, Colorado is the winner. Place
your bets, folks, because the odds of the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup are now Read more »
As much as I’ve enjoyed covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and their farm affiliates in Wilkes-Barre and Wheeling, it is now time for me to go after a dream of my own. Before I do so, I would like to take this moment and say, “Thank you,” to those of you who have followed my work and supported me. Because this dream is rather demanding, and it will take a lot of energy and dedication, I will not be able to write about the Penguins with the frequency you are used to.
You see, for the past seven years I have dedicated my life to writing about hockey, always dreaming of reaching for the impossible and doing what no other journalist has done before. The only problem with my dream was despite effort and determination it lacked a sense of direction. I may have learned a lot about this magical game throughout the journey, but was honestly miles away from “the game winning goal.” Now, after careful consideration and endless hours of research, I have decided to reach beyond the boundaries of North America and specialize in Russian hockey.
Last summer was the first big step in turning this dream into a reality. I was a little frightened and unsure, but I knew if I could find the courage to push myself, I could make anything happen. That’s when I boarded a plane at JFK in New York and headed out on a solo trip to Yaroslavl, Russia. It took ten hours by air and 4 hours by train to get there, but I eventually made it and somehow captured an interview with the management of Torpedo Yaroslavl, elite members of the Russian Hockey League.
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