“Espen Knutsen will be a very important player for us, and will do all for him to have success. He is an extremely fast, technical and intelligent player. These qualities compensate for his size (5-10)” said Head Coach Dave King to Norway`s Dagbladet Newspaper.
“Already 9 years ago I said that Espen Knutsen while in Norway would come to be very special” added Coach King. “I saw him in the winter 7-8 times, he had tremendous success on Sweden`s best team and he was the most exciting player in the entire Swedish Elite League. That told me a lot about him, we needed to get him signed” -Dave King to Dagbladet.
Espen is one of the first players signed for the expansion Blue Jackets. The Jackets had taken notice of Knutsen`s success at Swedish Champion Djurgården where Knutsen broke Peter Forsberg`s playoff points record in the 2000 playoffs.
Some of the questions asked to Dave King regarded Knutsen`s last journey to the NHL, 3 years back. In simple Knutsen has matured both talentwise and mentally since that debacle in Anaheim.
King also commented that Knutsen was never really given any real chance during his time. In Columbus he will receive a lot of ice time to do what he does best. It is important that he can play without the media on his back (other than the Norwegian press) and actually suffer through some down games which will allow him to mature.
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Within the last hot days of the summer you can find a number of Czech-born prospects aboard the planes heading North America. They left their families, friends and Czech style of hockey to take the first step on their way to their dream, by playing in the CHL first.
Whether their decision was a good one or not is sometimes questionable. When they come to North America early, they learn the language and they get used to a smaller rink and a different style of play even before they hear their names selected at the NHL Entry Draft. There is no doubt that this is an advantage. But on the other hand there may be a chance to play in the Czech Elite league and the Czech junior national team. At the age of 17 Elite league games help your development more than the CHL games. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to the player which way he chooses. Most agents would like to see their players cross the sea and they have a big influence on the players and their parents. Leaving home helped future Czech NHL stars like Pavel Brendl, Martin Skoula or Rostislav Klesla to make a name for themselves in the Canadian junior ranks. Martin Havlat stayed at home, played for Trinec in the ELH and won both WJC and WHC championship titles. Now he comes to the Senators camp more mature than he would be if he spent that year in the CHL. Well, lets get through this years CHL Import Draft list with some comments about the players drafted.
1. Ivan Huml (CHL:Val d’Or, QMJHL; Czech:Kladno)
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After years of believing it to be a contradiction in terms to mention the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospects in the same sentence things are beginning to change. Gone is the Harold “Draft ‘em, pay ‘em, play ‘em” Ballard era in which so many promising youngsters washed out after being thrown to the wolves. Gone as well is the Cliff “Draft, schmaft” Fletcher in which any chances of having youth to begin with was squandered on veteran role players. Now a new age is dawning. The Buds are finally getting their act together and spending serious time and resources on scouting and player development. Read more »
Now that the bevies of rookies have
moved on to make room for returning
veterans and up and comers looking to
make their mark on the 2000 edition of
the Kootenay ICE, one thing has
become abundantly clear – there isn’t
much room at the Kootenay ICE inn.
About 50 players will hit the pond at
Cranbrook’s Memorial Arena over the
weekend, including five holdovers from
Rookie camp who earned a longer look
from ICE brass at the Main camp held
Sept 1-4. Joining the Main camp is local
products Alex Staudt (Cranbrook),
Brayden Snopek (Cranbrook), Ryan
Mcleod (Fernie) along with Travis
Featherstone (Calgary) and Zac Fisher
(Trail). Although all five of these
prospects are considered longshots to
make the club, the experience will no
doubt help their development for future
ICE training camps.
Rookies- The one enduring quality of a
club that could be returning possibly 18
- 20 WHL veterans is that with a 24-
man limit to the teams’ roster, it pares
down dramatically the decision making
process that must be made in assessing
the 2-3 rookies (16 yr old’s) that the
club will in all likelihood carry with them
this season. North Delta B.C. product
Andy Thompson (6’3″ – 205lbs) and
Courtenay, B.C. native Adam Taylor
(6’0″ – 180lbs) are two names that you
should probably familiarize yourself with
as the two highly touted 1st and 2nd (7th
and 25th overall) 1999 Bantam Draft Read more »
As the 2000/01 approaches, the Sharks have question marks ranging from who will make it, who will be signed, and who will be thrust into action sooner than expected.
With the number of potential holdouts, it would not be inconceivable to see faces like Jim Montgomery, Shawn Heins, Robert Jindrich and Jarrett Deuling to see action, where otherwise, they would almost assuredly be in Kentucky of the AHL. They are combined with the possible debuts of Mark Smith and Matt Bradley, which adds up to some very interesting, and frightening possibilities for the Sharks.
The first hurdle the Sharks are faced with is signing many of their young players. There are still eight players who are restricted free agents, including the team’s identity, Owen Nolan, their goaltender, Steve Shields, and their possible future in Patrick Marleau. Also on the list are Yevgeni Nabokov, Marcus Ragnarsson, Marco Sturm, Todd Harvey and Alex Korolyuk. Read more »
The annual Maple Leafs Rookie Camp and Tournament will start soon in Kitchener. This is an incredibly significant event, as it is the ultimate realization of Ken Dryden’s stated promise to build a team that will contend for the Stanley Cup every season.
The best thing about Cliff Fletcher’s time as the Maple Leafs’ boss was that the club became so startlingly successful in such a relatively short period of time. But in many respects, this was also the worst thing about Fletcher’s reign in Toronto. Sudden play-off success encouraged the club to take a “win now” approach and make several trades involving the young players/picks who should have been there to take over when Gilmour, Clark, Ellett, Andreychuk and the other core veterans collectively ran out of steam. As a result, the club that Dryden inherited following the 1996-1997 season had one of the thinnest collection of prospects in the entire league.
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The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds held their first ever Bantam mini-camp on Monday August 28th and Tuesday August 29th. The camp was for all players selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft or in the 2000 OHL Priority draft who were of Bantam age. In total 23 players attended the 2 day camp.
10 players from the Bantam camp are eligible to attend the Greyhounds main camp and compete for a spot on the Greyhounds roster when the team opens up the full camp on August 30th. Those 10 players include defensemen Chris Martin, Dustin Van Ballegooie, Tyler Campbell, and Jeremy Swanson, centres Brent Crawford, Cliff Miller and Craig Meredith as well as wingers Mike Melinko, Tyler Barath and Brett Trudell. Swanson and Trudell were the Greyhounds top 2 selections in the 2000 OHL draft. Swanson was selected in the 1st round (16th overall) while Trudell was selected in the 2nd round (36th overall). The other 8 players were selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft.
By the looks of things the Greyhounds may be in for another successful season. Four players in particular, all defensemen, used this 2 day mini-camp to showcase themselves to Greyhounds management. They include Dustin Van Ballegooie, Jeremy Swanson, Chris Martin and Tyler Campbell. Read more »
When I saw someone had written an opening day roster
for the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates I
resist wondering what the Saint John Flames would look
on paper come early October. Now I work for the team,
many of the players’ attitudes and work ethics, so
all taken into account when I try to decide who will
won’t make the big team. So here it goes…
The Flames will be coached this season by IHL veteran
Jim Playfair, formerly of the Michigan K-Wings.
GM Craig Button and Playfair are believed to have a
relationship having worked for the same organization
Stars) for many seasons. Mr. Playfair has already
as saying Button is very understanding as to the needs
a prospect needs to develop and that’s veterans to
Therefore you can expect a few names that have kicked
the fringe of the NHL for quite awhile to play under
and his assistant coach, former St.Louis Blue Ron
At forward, the Calgary Flames already have 10
starters and they all have one-way contacts; therefore
cannot be demoted without clearing waivers first.
Cory Stillman (LW)
Bill Lindsay (LW)
Dave Lowry (LW)
Andrei Nazarov (LW)
Jason Weimer (C/LW) Read more »
To All of you at Hockeysfuture,
I want to thank all of you at hockeysfuture, particularly Bryan and Eric Taylor, for your support and generous comments on my
writing for this great website over the past 2 1/2 years. Thank you Bryan, for giving me the latitude as the Maple Leafs’ editor.
From time to time, we must venture out and take a chance and that is what I’ve decided to do. Over the past year, I have closely
followed the Maple Leafs across a good portion of North America. I have interviewed most of their European and North
American prospects and spent countless hours conversing with each Maple Leafs’ player and reviewing every Maple Leafs
game over the 99-00 season. I have had the great opportunity to see, speak with or talk with a Leafs’ official or scout in
reference to almost every player in the Toronto organization. I have been able to obtain a behind the scenes viewpoint of the
team in action. I have been able to touch upon the underlying philosophy which permeates the organization on largely a firsthand
This work has resulted in the formation of a yearbook style magazine called “The Blue and White Report”. This hockey annual is
now available for the “serious Maple Leafs fan”. It will provide you, as the reader, with a unique look at all of the Toronto
players, often delving into their own analysis, goals and philosophies of play. Each Leafs’ player has an extensive scouting
report/profile and seasonal projections which you just might enjoy. Read more »