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The New Finn in the Island Waters: Marko Tuomainen

by Joe Muccia

Beginning in 1989, Marko played 2 years with his hometown team, KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish Elite League. Originally a 9th round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1992, Marko then moved to North America to attend Clarkson University. In four years at Clarkson, Marko accumulated 190 points in 135 games. In 1994-95, Marko was summoned to
Edmonton for a four game cup of coffee. Although he went pointless, he did show excellent defensive awareness, finishing the stint with an even plus/minus. Later in 1995, he reported to the Oilers farm team, the Cape-Breton Oilers and the year after to the Hamilton Bulldogs, all the
while posting solid numbers.

Expecting more scoring from him, the Oilers chose not to renew Marko’s entry-level contract after the 1997 season. Marko chose to return to Finland and HIFK Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League. Impressed with his defensive skills, Helsinki assigned Marko to a
checking role in which he excelled. Even though he was used in a
defensive role, he still managed to tally 50 points in 94 games over a
two-year period. Not bad for a guy that was supposed to shadow the
oppositions top players.

Early in 1999 the Los Angeles Kings, impressed with Marko’s
well-rounded game, signed him to a free agent contract through the 2001
season. Marko ended up playing right wing on the Kings third and fourth
lines. He played 63 games, logging quality minutes on the top PK unit
in addition to his regular shifts (he finished with 17 points, scoring
both on the PP and PK). In 2000, due to the Kings depth at forward
( Read more »

Jillson on cusp of making it big

by Jake Dole
It’s time to make something clear: Jeff Jillson is a legitimate Calder candidate this year. After signing a contract with the San Jose Sharks in May, 2001, Jillson skipped the senior college year in Michigan to officially turn pro. However, joining a blueline that includes Marcus Ragnarsson, Mike Rathje, Brad Stuart, Bryan Marchment, Scott Hannan and Gary Suter will not be an easy assignment. Jeff will have to show a lot of determination at camp to earn serious playing time come regular season.
But if you ask Jeff Jillson, he’ll tell you that he will not despair. Throughout his career, he has played through numerous obstacles and difficulties. Although the NHL is not at all like college, Jillson will demonstrate as much effort and endurance as he does on any ice surface. At the age of 21, he still has weaknesses and will be expected to show more consistency than in the past, but Jeff’s decision to remain in college for a sophomore year turned out to be crucial. Despite a disappointing showing for the United States at the U-20 World Junior Championships, many would agree that Jillson took a major step ahead in his development.
Jillson was first noticed as a high schooler, playing for Mount Saint Charles in Woonsocket, Main; the same team that had won 21 consecutive state titles, which contributed to the pressure already on Jeff’s shoulders. Needless to say, Jillson did not disappoint; he dominated at the high school level, and was a three-time all-state honoree. In addition, he earned the Sports Illustrated/Old Spice Athlete of the Month h Read more »

Speed to Burn: HF’s profile of Alexander Kharitonov

by Joe Muccia

Speed to Burn: Alexander Kharitonov

The Isles made a ton of noise with trades, during Draft Day weekend this year. The two more noticeable trades brought Alexei Yashin and Mike Peca. As most Islander fans know another trade was completed by Mike Milbury the
day before the draft.

On the 22nd of June the Isles acquired booming point
man Adrian Aucoin and speedster Alexander Kharitonov for Mathieu Biron and the Isles 2002 2nd round pick. Understanding the Aucoin portion of the trade
was easy. The Isles need someone to drive the puck in from the point besides Roman Hamrlik. But who is this kid Kharitonov? Is he just a throw-in? Lets look and see just what the Isles got.

The Lightning staff heavily scouted Alexander before they chose him in the 3rd round (81st overall) in the 2000 Entry Draft. In his final year with Moscow Dynamo, he tallied 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 35 games. They were impressed with his speed and poise with the puck. He later played for the Russian national team and posted 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists and 1 SHG) in the 6 games of the 2000 World Championships.

Boy can this guy fly! He has got great wheels. In addition to being exceptionally fast, he is extremely agile. He moves in and out of traffic easily. It’s a good thing he can too, because he’s small. One source had
him listed at 5’9″, 170lbs. Another had him at 5’6″, 170lbs. Whichever one is right does not matter, because he is just plain small. The reason the Lightning included him in the deal was because Bolts GM Rick Dudley stated Read more »

1997 Draft: 4 Years Later

by Brandon LeBourveau

Four years after the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, we are able to look at the players who were drafted and determine how good they will be in the NHL. If teams only knew what they know now back in 1997, then the order of selection would have been much different.

Below is an in-depth look of the players selected in the 1st Round four years ago. Included are the team that made the selection, the player drafted, the team he was drafted from, and his career stats thus far in the NHL.

1. Boston – Joe Thornton, C, Sault-Ste.-Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
289 GP, 79 G, 100 A, 179 P, 277 PIM

The Bruins struck gold by selecting Thornton with the 1st overall pick. He has played in each of the last four seasons for Boston since being drafted, and he hasn’t disappointed them thus far. With 79 goals, 100 assists, 179 points and 277 penalty minutes in 289 career games, the emergence of Thornton as a future superstar and a 1st line center has allowed the Bruins to discuss the possibility of dealing away current all-star center Jason Allison, who is currently in a contract dispute with the Bruins. It is clear that Thornton is the future for Boston, and they will look for him to improve on his breakout season this past year in which he had 37 goals, 34 assists, 71 points and 107 penalty minutes in 72 games. Thornton was definitely worth taking with the 1st overall selection.

2. San Jose – Patrick Marleau, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Read more »

Three up, three down for Canadian U-18 team

by Jeff Arnim

Team Canada exploded for five goals, including three in the first period, in their 5-1 victory over the Swedish contingent at the 2001 Six Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic on Thursday. With the win, Canada moves to a perfect 3-0 in the event.

Rick Nash (London, OHL) opened the scoring just 35 seconds into period one, and added an assist on the next goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL); Bouchard posted his second tally of the frame in its final two minutes. Maxime Talbot (Hull, QMJHL) posted a power play goal half way through the second period, and Tim Brent (Toronto, OHL) closed out the scoring early in the third.

Nash, Bouchard, Talbot and Brent all tallied two points on the day.

Maxime Daigneault was once again strong in net, stopping 24 of 25 Sweden shots on goal. His gawdy numbers for the tournament include a perfect 3-0-0 record, a 0.67 goals-against average, and a .973 save percetnage. Daigneault has stopped 72 of 74 shots faced.

From the Western Hockey League side of things, defensemen Andy Thompson and Ian White each added an assist in the game.

Read more »

Chad Alban signs with Stars

by Scott McFarlane

The Dallas Stars signed free agent goalie Chad Alban to a 1 year contract, financial terms were not released.

The 25 year old Alban split time with the Utah Grizzlies, Grand Rapids Griffins and the Idaho Steelheads who were all apart of the IHL last season.

While with the Utah Grizzlies and Grand Rapids Griffins last season, Alban posted a 4-5-4 record with a low 2.09 gaa in 13 games.

With the Idaho Steelheads, Alban posted a 14-5-1 record with a 3.00 gaa in 20 appearances.

With the acquisition of Chad Alban, the Dallas stars have more depth at the goalie position. With Ed Belfour, Marty Turco, Jason Bacashihua and now Chad Alban the Stars should be set in goal for many years to come.

Recent Hab happenings

by Chris Boucher
While most Canadiens’ fans wait for word on Brett Hull, the Habs’ prospect development camp continues in Ville St. Pierre. Recent Hab happenings include Marcel Hossa signing a 3-year deal, Vadim Tarasov and Andrei Kruchinin arriving in Montreal, and Alexander Buturlin close to signing a contract in Russia.

Marcel Hossa (1st round, 2000) signed a 3-year deal with the Canadiens. The physical commitment he showed during the off-season definitely contributed to the contract offer. Throughout the development camp the 6’1′, 211 lbs. Slovakian has consistently demonstrated his superior strength and puck-handling skills. The Canadiens feel his development will be best served by the pro game. The center turned winger has an outside chance of making the big club. But the safe bet is on Hossa starting the season in Quebec.

Last season Hossa played in 58 regular season games with Portland. He registered 90 points (34-56-90), and was +11, with 58 minutes in penalties. Fourteen of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed. He was named the WHL’s top player for the week ending October 22nd, and also for the week ending March 18th.

Playing with Slovakia during the World Junior Championship, Marcel seemed to under-achieve. He scored only 1 goal during the tournament, while adding 3 assists. He did however demonstrate some impressive play-making skills, and came away from the tournament with a +1 rating on a Slovakian team that finished in 8th place.

Although Portland played extremely well in the WHL playoffs, Hossa w Read more »

Could Blackburn make the Rangers?

by Jeff Bromley

When Dan Blackburn’s name was called
by New York Rangers GM Glen
Sather last June, you couldn’t help to
feel anything but pride and joy for the
18-year-old goaltending phenom
who in two short years had captured the
hearts of Kootenay ICE fans by
backstopping the club to a WHL title
and Memorial Cup appearance only one
year prior. It is, after all, the natural
progression of Major Junior hockey.

Budding teenage hockey prodigies
arrive, take the local club to glorious
heights, get noticed by pro scouts, are
drafted and move to the bright lights and
big cities of the NHL. In a perfect world
that would happen after four years of
yeomen service in the junior ranks.
Unfortunately in the world of Junior
hockey its fans and its burgeoning stars,
it is far from perfect.

Upon further examination of the New
Rangers roster it is enough to make you
cheer for the Canmore, Alta. native’s
chances but it is also evidence enough to
make you quietly cringe at the
realization that the ‘tender affectionately
known as ‘Blackie’ could quite possibly
be sitting on the bench for the Broadway
BlueShirts this season. Crazy talk, you
say? One look at the Rangers sheer lack
of depth in goal might make any
naysayers change their tune.

Two significant developments out of
New York this past week shed some
light on the situation. First, All-Star
goalie Mike Richter announces that he
almost certainly will be ready to resume
his place as the Ranger’s number one
goalie after recovering from blowing out
his knee back in February. His second Read more »

HF Making Changes for a Brighter Future….

by Eric Taylor
Hey there Hockey’s Future fanatics! This is our 4th+ year running
strong here at Hockey’s Future and we only look to get better with many
exciting things planned for the upcoming year. As times change, so must
Hockey’s Future. Today we unveil a brand new re-design of Hockey’s Future,
with a much more organized look and feel. Of course, since it is something
new, there are quite a bit of changes. We would love to hear your feedback
on the layout (good or bad). So send us an e-mail
and we’ll definitely be listening to the feedback you send in.

Also with the re-design of Hockey’s Future, we are now accepting advertisers who are looking for some great exposure on one of the top 20 hockey web sites online in terms of traffic. We have some great packages set up, so check out our Advertising part of the site and see if you or someone you know might be interested. This will help us grow and further our coverage of the top hockey prospects from around the world.

Now on to the BIG NEWS: The Day to Day operations of Hockey’s Future will
now be run by Mark Fischel
(Managing Editor) and Shane
(Asst. Managing Editor). We the Taylor brothers(Bryan, Eric and Craig) are forced to focus our efforts on other ventures that are a bit more profitable which allow us to keep HF open and growing. We will work closely with Shane and Mark to Read more »

Kovalchuk signs contract with Thrashers

by Jake Dole
The Atlanta Thrashers beat the midnight deadline on Wednesday to sign the first overall selection in the 2001 draft Ilya Kovalchuk. The deal is reportedly worth $3.4 million for 3 years, the maximum allowed for rookies by the NHL.
Kovalchuk, who dominated in the High League last year, amassed 42 goals in 51 games. Along with an excellent U-18 performance, Ilya virtually guaranteed himself the first-overall position months before the draft.
If Kovalchuk had not been signed, he would have returned to play in Russia, playing for Spartak of the Superleague. Now that he is signed, expect Ilya to make the Thrashers’ roster. However, making the team will not be a walk in the park. Kovalchuk is expected to battle Lubos Bartecko and Patrik Stefan for a left-wing spot on the top 2 lines. Hnat Domenichelli and Ladislav Kohn are the other two left wings battling for a roster spot with Atlanta.
If Ilya fails to make the Atlanta roster, he will play another year in Russia, competing a level higher, versus older and more physical competition.
During last year, Ilya earned a reputation for being an intimidating, physical competitor, with a bruising two-way style. Despite certain questions arising about his maturity, Thrashers GM Don Waddell has remained positive about Kovalchuk’s attitude. He stated that Ilya had exceptional work ethic and that his desire to succeed was strictly a positive for his development. Keeping in mind the Thrashers’ second half struggles last year, it might be a good idea to add a good dosage of intensity Read more »

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