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Jakes and Tootoo likely to be taken in Entry Draft

by Trenton Allen
on
At last year’s NHL Entry Draft, a number of Brandon Wheat Kings headed into the event with high hopes. The likes of Colin McRae, Ryan Craig, Brett Thurston, Mike Wirll, and even Robert McVicar sat anxiously by the phone hoping it would ring with the news that they had been drafted. Unfortunately, that season brought nothing but heartache. For only the second time in Wheat Kings history, no players off the team were selected in the draft.

Fortunately, the misery of 2000 has turned to promise for 2001. Two Wheat Kings figure prominently on the CSB lists. Jiri Jakes and Jordin Tootoo are listed in the top 65 on the CSB final lists and both have the scouts drooling. Here’s a breakdown on the players that figure to help put some shine back into the golden wheat shafts on the Wheat Kings logo.

Jiri Jakes is a 6’4, 210 Lb. right winger from Praha, Czech Republic. However, that’s the only indication that you’ll find about Jakes’s European background. Jakes’s style of play is completely opposite that of the traditional European. While most players trained on the other side of the pond tend to focus their attention on puckhandling, skating and one-on-one offensive skills, Jakes displays an obvious deficiency in these areas. Jakes plays a more up-and-down style, going into the corners, banging the body, digging for loose pucks, going to the front of the net and hoping for a rebound. He isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty or take a hit to make a play. He also has a good wrist shot, though most of his goals come of loose rebounds in fron Read more »

Penguins sign prospect Robinson

by Richard A. Plisco
on
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly come to terms with 20 year old Canadian native Darcy Robinson. Robinson, a 1999 draft pick, stands at an impressive 6’5″ 222lbs.

He played 71 regular season games with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. He posted 3 goals and 11 assists while ringing up 150 penalty minutes. His plus/minus rating was a dismal -18, the worst on the squad.

Darcy rebounded in the playoffs, recording 1 goal and 1 assist with 20 penalty minutes in 20 contests. He improved his plus/minus ratio to +3.

The specifics of the contract were not released.

Kings Kick Three More to the Curb

by Tony Calfo
on
The Kings annual right of summer, losing once-heralded draft picks because they don’t sign them, continued with two pretty significant names slipping by. In addition to J.F. Nogues, the Kings lost two promising draft picks in Cory Campbell and Brian McGrattan.

Brian McGratten was having a career year until suffering a serious injury, and that can be the only reason they would let him go. McGrattan was showing signs of a true NHL game and would complement the other prospects the Kings are grooming, but that will not be. The Kings are tight-lipped about these maneuvers, but this one raises some eyebrows.

The other move was the Cory Campbell decision. Campbell seemed to overcome some confidence issues to show some solid play this season, but that has now gone to the wayside. I guess another Jamie Storr psyche in the crease was too much of a risk for the Kings.

While I personally find these two maneuvers troubling, it is the trend that concerns me most. While the Kings are loading up on draft picks, the question is what good will they do if we never sign them? Coming off a season in which great strides were made, and a season where many Kings’ fans learned to trust Dave Taylor through what looked like some questionable moves, Kings fans are again forced to trust that management is sticking to the plan.

While this is one I don’t see, here’s hoping I am wrong. Keep your eyes out for more on this story.

Habs Sign Two of Five

by Chris Boucher
on
The June 1st deadline came, and the June 1st deadline went. Although contract offers were made to all five of the Canadiens’ draft picks affected by the deadline, only Marc-André Thinel, and Jerome Marois were actually inked to deals.

Thinel and Marois were each signed to 3-year deals. Financial terms were not disclosed. By not signing Dusty Jamieson, Matt Carkner, and Sean Dixon the Canadiens renounce all rights to these players. Jamieson and Dixon will both re-enter the draft, as they had not turned 20 by the age-deadline. Carkner however will now become a free-agent.

Alexander Buturlin, the Canadiens’ 2nd round pick in the ’99 Draft does not fall under this deadline. He is considered a European player, as he was still playing in Russia when the Canadiens drafted him. Other ’99 draftees not affected by the deadline are Matt Shasby and Chris Dyment who both play US College hockey. As well as Vadim Tarasov and Mikko Hyytia who (as of this moment) play in Europe.

The possibility still exists that the Canadiens could re-draft Jamieson or Dixon during this year’s draft. However for that to happen, either player would have to be ranked higher by Habs’ scouts than all other players still available at that point in the draft.

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments. Just click on my name at the top of this page. I am a former goaltender with writing, scouting, and coaching experience.

Islanders Get One Right: Sign Mapletoft

by Jonathan Litterine
on
The Islanders make a lot of mistakes. Last year they blew their Top draft
pick. But this week they got one right. They signed center Justin Mapletoft
to a three year deal. Yet in typical Islanders fashion, they made everyone
sweat it out. Had the Islanders not been able to reach a deal with Mapletoft, he would have had to re-enter this month’s 2001 Draft. Mapletoft who had 43
goals, 77 assists and 120 points this year lead his Red Deer Rebels to the
CHL Memorial Cup. In addition to that, Mapletoft was named the WHL’s Most
Valuable Player. Mapletoft was a 5th round selection of the Isles, 130th
overall in 1999. I wouldn’t even want to see the faces of Islanders fans if
Mike Milbury couldn’t come to terms with this kid. He is considered by many
to be the steal of the 1999 draft. Smartly the Isles paid him what he wanted
and locked him up for 3 seasons. Hopefully for most Islanders fans, You will
see Mapletoft on the Nassau Coliseum ice for a lot longer then 3 seasons.
With a guy with Mapletoft’s skill and desire it makes you wonder how all the
teams ahead of the Islanders missed Mapletoft?, Mike Milbury credits his WHL
scout Earl Ingarfield for finding this diamond in the rough. The Isles make a
lot of mistakes, and most 5th round picks turn out to be mistakes. But the
Islanders are going to be winners for a long time with this one.

IHL Ceases Operations and Folds

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

IHL NEWS

The International Hockey League announced today it was folding after 56 years of operation.
The 11-team league will immediately cease day-to-day activities but six of those teams will continue to play in the American Hockey League.

“It is with great sadness that I make this announcement,” IHL president and CEO Douglas Moss said in a statement. “With the landscape of minor-league hockey continuing to evolve, the league’s board of governors determined that this was a necessary decision.”
The governors voted to fold the league during a conference call on Friday.

For next season, the AHL will take in the Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves, Houston Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals, Utah Grizzlies and Grand Rapids Griffins from the IHL. Grand Rapids has a player development arrangement with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators while the Moose becomes the new farm club for the Vancouver Canucks.

Monday’s announcement means the IHL will not be coming to Toronto. The Toronto Roadrunners were to begin play in the 2002-03 season at a refurbished CNE Coliseum.
The IHL was founded at a meeting at the Norton Palmer Hotel in Windsor, Ont., on Dec. 5, 1945. It had just four original teams – two in Detroit and two in Windsor.
The Detroit Auto Club beat Detroit Bright’s Goodyear 2-1 in the final series to win the first Turner Cup the following spring.

The league expanded over the next 30 years, but remained mostly a regional circuit based in the U.S. midwest.
After Thomas Berry was named commissioner in 1989, the IHL, which had reached Indianapol Read more »

IHL To Fold This Week and Merge To AHL.

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
When the Orlando Solar Bears won the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup championship last Saturday, the future was missing from the celebration.

The 56-year-old IHL is expected to fold this week thus dramatically changing the landscape at the top level of minor professional hockey.

Six of the IHL’s 11 teams from the 2000-01 season, including the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Milwaukee Admirals, the Houston Aeros, the Manitoba Moose, the Utah Grizzlies and the Chicago Wolves, are expected to jump into an expanded American Hockey League for the 2001-02 season.
The AHL, always a prime development arena for the National Hockey League, would become the primary feeder system, potentially expanding into a 28-team circuit for next season.

In the dream world of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the AHL will eventually become a 30-team entity, so that each of the NHL’s 30 teams will have one top affiliate, similar to how Triple-A baseball teams act as the primary farm teams for major-league baseball clubs.

Like mergers in the corporate world, the logistics of merging two hockey leagues in a few short months have already resulted in plenty of frenzied activity. Among other things, players are worried about lost jobs, while NHL organizations are anticipating reduced costs as new alliances and situations emerge.

Consider the activity in the past two weeks:

– The Minnesota Wild cut their ties to the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL and hooked up with Houston, which also formally announced it was joining the AHL. The league, Read more »

Bruins Big Losers at Signing Deadline

by Vincent Fusaro
on

June 1st, 2001 may go down as one of the darkest days in Bruins’ history. The Bruins failed to come to terms with all four of their prospects eligible to either reenter the draft or leave for unrestricted free agency. When next season rolls around, chances are good that none of Seamus Kotyk, Kyle Wanvig, Donald Choukalos, or Martin Grenier will be wearing black and gold. Goaltender Kotyk and behemoth defenseman Grenier will become unrestricted free agents by virtue of age (both are 21, buck the 20-year-old age cutoff for North American draft-eligible players). Right wing Wanvig and goaltender Choukalos will re-enter the draft.

Of the four, Choukalos is the easiest loss to justify. While at times looking solid, the WHL Regina Pat’s netminder was far from a standout. With John Grahame, Andrew Raycroft, and Seamus Kotyk appearing to be solid prospects, the need for depth in goal wasn’t quite as urgent as at other positions.

What makes Donald’s loss painful, however, is the subsequent failure of Bruins’ management to sign Kotyk. The smallish Ottawa 67’s netminder (5 feet, 11 inches, 185 lbs.) wasn’t considered anything special coming into this season, but steadily improving play and a fantastic Memorial Cup tournament saw his value increase significantly. Many Bruins’ fans were excited over the prospect of a Kotyk-Raycroft tandem in Providence of the AHL. Alas, it will never be. While there is still an outside chance Kotyk will sign with Boston as a free agent, odds are good that another team will offer significantly more m Read more »

Stingrays Win Kelly Cup

by Wil Kirwan
on
At the start of the 1999-2000 season, The Hockey News picked the South Carolina Stingrays to win it all in the ECHL. As it turned out, they were a year off. Additions to the team like Ryan Brindley, Zach Ham, Joel Irving, and Scott Swanson proved to be the difference between the team that underachieved, and the team that over achieved to beat the Brabham Cup Champion Trenton Titans. The Stingrays saw a season that had an initially bleak outlook when the team started 1-3-1 turn into the stuff dreams are made of through a season with plenty of ups and downs.

The season for the ‘Rays was filled with call-ups, and when Leading scorer Jason Sessa was called up to St. John’s of the AHL, many writers wrote off the Stingrays as having the ability to make a run deep into the playoffs. As it turned out, the loss of Jason Sessa was not something that would slow the team down. With Jason Sessa out of the lineup, Coach Rick Adduono made a call to Chad Remackel about playing for the Stingrays. Remackel, who drives a cement truck, and wasn’t able to play with the Stingrays for the whole year because he wouldn’t be able to support his wife and children was happy to say yes.

Apparently, it was an intangible Trenton had not counted on. When Trenton played South Carolina in the final meeting before the playoffs, South Carolina was an injury-riddled team, also suffering from 5 call-ups, including Adam Calder to Norfolk, Ryan Brindley to Rochester, and Scott Swanson to Springfield. With so many Stingrays players out, Trenton humiliated the team 8-0. With t Read more »

Panthers Retain 4 Prospects at Deadline

by Mark Fischel
on

SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers President and General Manager Bill Torrey announced today contract information for several of the team’s recent draft picks.

The club submitted qualifying offers to the following four players: D Chris Eade, G Davis Parley, RW David Morisset, and LW Mathew Sommerfeld. As a result, the Panthers retain the rights to these players for one more year.

Eade played in 40 games for North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season totaling three goals and 26 assists (29 points). Parley played in 52 games for Kamloops of the Western Hockey League (WHL) earning a 27-16-3 record and a 3.46 goals against average. Morissett played 61 games for Seattle of the WHL scoing 32 goals and 36 assists (68 points). Sommerfeld registered 62 games with Swift Current of the WHL totaling five goals and five assists (10 points).

The Panthers’ have declined to offer the following five players contracts: G Jean-Francois Laniel, RW Morgan McCormick, D Brad Woods, D Rod Sarich, and C Travis Eagles. These players are now eligible to re-enter the NHL draft.

From the Panthers Press Release

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