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The Other Ka-Chuck: An Update On Blues’ Prospect Daniel Tkaczuk

by Larry Deutsch
As the 2001 NHL trade deadline drew near, a call to action was issued by St. Louis Blues fans to oft-maligned general manager, Larry Pleau. From the online forums, to the call-in radio programs, and even to Pleau’s e-mail inbox, their message was overwhelming, “Get us Tkachuk or get out of town!” And he managed to land the big fish, outbidding several suitors so fans could see Captain Coyote don the Blue Note. On the eve of the NHL entry draft, Pleau acquired center Daniel (also pronounced “ka-chuk”) from Calgary in a deal that sent stumbling netminder Roman Turek charging toward the Stampede City. In a matter of just three months, the Blues went from being utterly “ka-chuck”-less to cornering the market on the NHL’s active “ka-chucks.”

The latter Tkaczuk, who turns 22 in October, hails from the Toronto
suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. He played his junior hockey for the Barrie Colts, and at the age of 17 was the OHL’s youngest captain during the 97-98 season. He currently holds the Colt franchise records for total career points, goals, assists, short-handers, and game-winners. Chosen sixth overall in the 97 draft, Daniel felt plenty of pressure to step in quicky for the Flames and lead them back into the postseason. Tkaczuk confused the Calgary brass with his flashes of brilliance at the lower levels tempered by mediocre showings during his many call-ups. Frustrated with his lack of production at the NHL level, this cerebral center kept a positive outlook toward his relegation to the minors. Bouncing back from a late season concussion, Dan was absolu Read more »

Sabres Report: Buffalo’s Top 15 Prospects for 2000-01

by Ken McKenna

While there has recently been more attention paid to some of the new blood in the Buffalo organization, such as newly-acquired forwards Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, this is also a good time to recognize the work of the Sabres’ prospects who were with the organization throughout the 2000-01 season.

The purpose of this article is to present a final ranking of the top 15 prospects in the organization as of June 2nd, 2001. This would exclude players such as Barrett Heisten, Mike Zigomanis and some of the other prospects who weren’t signed at the June 1st signing deadline. Also excluded from this list are the 2001 draft choices, as the focus of this article will be strictly those players who were Buffalo property through the 00-01 campaign.

G Mika Noronen

began the year as Buffalo’s top-rated prospect, and, despite a somewhat shaky start to his 2000-01 season, he remains atop the final rankings for this season. G Ryan Miller made a strong push to grab the top spot, but Mika gets the nod due to the fact that he plays against tougher competition. D Brian Campbell, RW Norm Milley and D Henrik Tallinder round out the top 5.

The Top 15 for 2000-01

  • Mika Noronen, Goaltender
  • Mika had a brief taste of the NHL at the beginning of the season, but was returned to Rochester to continue his development. Mika struggled upon his return to the AHL, but, by season’s end, he regained the MVP form that he displayed d Read more »

    Jean-Philippe Cote has intangibles

    by Stephen J. Holodinsky

    Cote’s One for the Gene Pool

    Talking to Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Coach Pascal Vincent about blueliner Jean-Philippe Cote, the two things that stick out in his mind about his defenseman are “leadership and work ethic.” Vincent can’t say enough about his player when it comes to intangibles. He “puts his mistakes behind him” on those rare occasions that he does make one and is more or less the glue that holds the team together. Proof of this, the coach points out, can be seen in the fact that in the two games his Captain missed last year due to injury, the Screaming Eagles were outscored 14-2.
    While some of this is to be expected seeing as he is the son of former NHLer, Alain Cote, Vincent nonetheless applauds Cote for his dedication to the game especially in the off-season.

    That said, all of the dedication in the world does not an NHL player make if he has nothing else, but the coach, who first saw him when he was the bench boss for the U-17 National Team, knows there is more to him than that. “90% of the time he makes the right decision when he passes the puck” and his passes are “usually on the tape.” What’s more, the defenseman knows enough to trail the play after making that pass and has demonstrated “good decision-making when it comes to the pinch.” While Vincent admits that Cote “is not an elegant skater” he rates his speed above average and his lateral movement as excellent stating that “he rarely gets beat one on one”. While his pivot easily makes the grade in the Q though, he feels that Cote will have to speed Read more »

    2001-02 Season Previews: Bryan Allen and Artem Chubarov

    by Kirk Pedersen

    Thoughts and forcasts for my top two prospects, a preview of the upcoming seasons for Bryan Allen and Artem Chubarov.

    Bryan Allen was the Canucks’ top pick in 1998, the #4 pick overall, and, despite numerous injuries in his second season of junior, was expected to step right in, and help a poor defense, which had decliners in Dave Babych and Dana Murzyn, but had two young rays of hope, in Bryan McCabe and Mattias Ohlund. (McCabe being obtained toward the end of the season, along with Todd Bertuzzi, in exchange for Captain and team leader Trevor Linden)

    Allen was not looked at as an offensive player, but as a stay-at-home type, who could provide some toughness when needed. He was badgered with comparisons to current NHL’ers, such as Derian Hatcher, which would scare most youngsters, but the cool, confident Allen was unshaken by this. All he needed to do was play his own game, and, despite a lack of offense, he’d be a very good NHL Defenseman.

    To this day, however, Allen’s promise remains unfulfilled. After missing almost the entire 1999-2000 season due to injuries, he came on strong in ’00-01, spending the entire season injury-free, something he hadn’t done since his rookie season with the Oshawa Generals in 1996-97. He racked up 25 points (5g, 20a), and nearly hit the century mark in penalty minutes in his first full pro season. He began to show why he was such a high draft pick, and was one of the top vote-getters for the IHL’s final Rookie of the Year award, which ended up going to Atlanta property Brian Pothier. He also recieved Read more »

    Questions from readers

    by Michael Theodore
    The past four seasons have all started with the same glimmer of hope, an improved roster and the long awaited end to the Rangers playoff layoff. This year however there is no big name signing, no huge blockbuster trade, and importantly no lofty expectations. There is however something that is at least partially refreshing, the first legitimate chance to phase in some prospects without the fear that they were being rushed.

    Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl have both graduated from Juniors and both will once again get long looks in camp. Lundmark is stronger then ever and so far in rookie camp has looked extremely sharp and poised to make it to the show this season, whether it is straight out of the gate or as a call up later will remain to be seen. The swift skating center checked into the rookie camp at muscular 195 pounds, most of which was concentrated in his upper body. Jamie’s body has finally matured enough for him to carry the extra weight without slowing down any or drastically changing his game. Still {as predicted} his eventual playing weight figures to be in the 200 pound region as it would best serve him as a big league center. Jamie didn’t wait for the rookie camp to get into shape and it’s paid off, he’s the best conditioned prospect there and figures to possibly even challenge for the team fitness award as well.

    Pavel Brendl on the other hand figures to need the rookie camp just to get ready for the regular camp. The enigmatic winger is exactly the type of player the camp was developed for. Brendl probably will never be a fitness champion Read more »

    A Change of Events… SC Bern says “NO” to Myrvold

    by Evan Andriopoulos

    “It is meaningless” Anders Myrvold was quoted as saying to Norwegian daily VG. “Now I am just pissed off and irritated!”. Wednesday Myrvold decided against the New York Islanders as the contract was greater from SC Bern, however with the offer pulled Myrvold now has to look back across the pond at perhaps the Montreal Canadiens who he was also dealing with just before the SC Bern agreement or to other Swiss and or German clubs.

    Myrvold was to receive about 175000 USD in payment after tax along with a car and apartment. The SC Bern club ended up selected a Swedish player instead. Myrvold has the possibility of opening new discussions with the Islanders and Canadiens as well as a host of other NHL and Internation Clubs.

    Schastlivy gets opportunity to redeem himself

    by Jake Dole
    When Petr Schastlivy was drafted 101st overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1998 draft, word got around that the Sens selected a steal. The young left winger was known as an exceptionally talented goal-scoring sniper with great puck-control ability. Drafted out of Torpedo-Yaroslavl, Petr was drawing raves from the Ottawa scouts, who were convinced that they had the potential to develop into a future NHL star.
    After another year of development in Russia, Schastlivy moved on to North America and got his first taste of the game in the foreign continent. Starting off in the prospects camp at Hull, Schastlivy was easily one of the best players there. Despite certain defensive deficiencies, Petr stood out with his excellent 1 on 1 ability. Soon enough, he got the call to try out for the Senators at the team’s training camp.
    When it came to first impressions, it is safe to say that Petr did not disappoint. In fact, in the seven games of camp, he tied the team lead in points with 6 in 7 games, Marian Hossa being the other to draw even. However, despite his performance, the 20-year old was cut, mainly because of the team’s depth of speed and skill. As a result, Schastlivy spent most of the year in the IHL, playing for the Grand Rapids Griffiths.
    The training camp was not the only highlight of his career to that point. In fact, Schastlivy was the member of the 1999 Russian U-18 gold medal winning team in Winnipeg. There, he performed admirably with the likes of Maxim Balmochnykh, Maxim Afinogenov and Vitaly Vishnevksy.
    A sol Read more »

    The future in the Leafs net

    by Stephen J. Holodinsky

    On Beyond Cujo

    As with the last three years, Curtis Joseph will be the main man between the pipes for the Maple Leafs but after that, the picture gets a bit fuzzy. Granted, with a new contract in his pocket, SEL All-Star Mikael Tellqvist is the odds on favourite to be the back-up, and barring a serious injury or a horrendous camp will probably get the job. However, how will the rest of the organization’s goaltending shake out? With Jimmy Waite now in Europe it looks like Mike Minard is pencilled in as the starter with an outside chance of swapping places with Tellqvist on the big team. But behind him, there are a few different choices.

    Sebastien Centomo

    , an undrafted backstop signed with Toronto a couple of years ago after impressing them in rookie camp. While he has made steady progress playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL, at this stage in his career he is still more of a suspect than a prospect having yet to post a save percentage above .900.

    Jamie Hodson

    , 21 and three years removed from his selection in the third round by the Buds has had a difficult junior career. After a promising start he ran into major knee problems and really hasn’t been the same since. At this point it’s not so much a medical concern as it is a psychological one. Hodson’s confidence fell so low last season that he ended up splitting time with Robert McVicar and Geoff McIntosh.

    Vladimir Kulkov

    , came, saw, and conquered in rookie camp after Toronto took a flyer on him in the eighth round of the 1999 Entry Draft, and th Read more »

    Kings Prospect Rankings and Notes

    by Tony Calfo

    The Los Angeles' Kings draft, rated among the best by the Sporting News, has given the Kings an influx of new blood in their system. With that, the HF Kings' Page has updated its rankings. Here are some notes:

    At the top is Yanick Lehoux. Lehoux had a solid Prospect Camp and showed some of the skill that lead to his huge point totals in Juniors. Whether or not he cracks the big club this season, Lehoux seems to have more skill and skating ability than the players Kings' fans fear he will become – Pavel Rosa. As a result, Lehoux seems like he will be special.

    Jared Aulin turned alot of heads at Prospects camp and his evolution makes Dave Taylor look like even more of a genius. Now the Kings leave the Blake trade with two major prospects and two top contributors. As someone who was the first to knock the trade, it appears to be a great deal. Aulin may well make this team this season.

    Alexander Frolov still appears to be among the top prospects in the Kings' system, but he was not at the Prospect's camp. Frolov is evolving overseas, but the Kings need to get him to America and see how he plays in the North American leagues.

    Steckel is ahead of Jens Karlsson as a testament to Steckel's potential. Steckel is huge and is still young. His skating and offense are still a ways from NHL level, but he will likely be a top line center for the Kings. At nearly 6'6, that would give the Kings the size in the middle they have coveted for so long.

    Among the movers from last season are Alexey Volkov who has tumbled from the Read more »

    Ducks have two very important decisions to make at camp this year

    by Jamie Randolph
    The Mighty Ducks have two very important decisions to make at training camp this fall. Where will their two top prospects play this season?

    Stanislav Chistov, the Ducks first pick (fifth overall) in this year’s NHL Entry Draft has four options.

    He could make the NHL straight out of camp which is a possibility as he has the skill to do so, but I think another year of development would do him good.

    The Ontario Hockey League’s, London Knights drafted Chistov in last years import draft. It’s an option but in my opinion for a player like Chistov it’s not a good move because he already played junior A hockey in Canada and in California. It’s not like he has to learn a new language or grow accustom to North Amrerican culture. If fellow Mighty Duck prospect Maxim Rybin who is 5’9″ can become a sniper in the OHL, when he is not nearly as talented as Chistov, imagine what Chistov could do. Dominating the OHL will not help him with his problem of cutting across the middle of the ice so that is not the best option. Chistov needs to learn how to avoid checks and injury. A higher level would suit him better.

    There is the Russian Super League which I think is the worst option. Chistov skills are NHL ready, he just needs to grow accustom to the physical style of the NHL so going back to Russia isn’t a great choice.

    Read more »

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