There may not be any defenseman in the 2001 draft as solid in his own
zone as Mark Popovic. The St. Mike’s defenseman is amazingly steady. He’s
always in position taking care of his man. He also is a steady offensive
player. I mean he insn’t Brian Leetch or Nick Lidstrom but he is solid in
the offensive zone as well.
At 6’1 , 195 he isn’t the biggest defenseman in
the draft , but he plays a lot bigger. He is not a goon or a tough guy , but
he certainly will bang and take the body to help out his team in any
There seems to be a different set of opinions, as to where
Popovic will go in the draft. He will be a first round pick. Yet he might go
as high as about 10 or so, or he could drop closer to 20. All depends who’s
left and who has the current picks at the present time. Yet nobody doubt’s
Popovic’s ability to play in the NHL very soon. He might be the closer to
being NHL ready then any other defenseman in the field. Someone will get
Popovic and some franchise will be very happy. Expect his steady game to be
on the blueline of a NHL franchise for a long long time.
Possible Players the Oilers Could Draft
The 2001 National Hockey League draft will definitely be a lively time for NHL teams, draft eligible players, their parents and agents. This year’s draft is considered deep by many NHL people and scouts. Every year hockey fans are guessing which players there team draft or which player they think the team should draft. There is a new draft philosophy for the Oilers now that Kevin Lowe is the GM of the team. He wants more players with grit, reliability and players who play with passion; also the Oilers need more skilled players in their system.
Based on the Oilers primary needs goaltending, offensive defenseman and skilled forwards their are players in this year’s draft that would fit the Oiler’s needs like Dan Blackburn, Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Weiss. However those players most likely are then when the Oilers turn comes up at 13.
While I was scouting a Brampton Battalion playoff game NHL scouts in attendance believed these players would not be available Jason Spezza, Stephen Weiss, Dan
Hamhius, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Svitov, Stanislav Chistov, Mikko Koivu, Tuomo Ruutu, Dan Blackburn and Mike Komisarek by the time the Oilers pick.
But in the NHL things change daily.
Here is a list of players that should be available when the Oilers pick at 13 with CSB analysis of the player is included.
1. Colby Armstrong – This is a player everyone seems to think the Oilers draft. Being a Western Canadian and born in Saskatchewan, he wou Read more »
The Phoenix Coyotes head into the 2001 Entry Draft with a lot of questions about their franchise that need to be answered. Will the Coyotes finally deal Robert Reichel and Mikael Renberg? Will Jeremy Roenick leave the franchise via free agency? Is Cliff Fletcher the right GM for this team? Etc. The list goes on. The Coyotes have been one of the more active teams in trading players and signing players over the last couple of months, as all-star netminder Nikolai Khabibulin was dished off for a package of youngsters as was all-star Keith Tkachuk. Add in the signing of big defenseman Martin Grenier, and all of a sudden the Coyotes have a solid group of young players and prospects. The Coyotes will look to strengthen their prospect pool at the Entry Draft, as the team holds the 14th overall selection (1st Round), and the 31st overall (from Islanders via Tampa Bay) and 45th overall (compensation for not signing Scott Kelman) selections, which are both 2nd rounders.
With three picks in the top 45 in an extremely deep draft, the Coyotes have the ability to add three top notch NHL players to their organization, pending upon whether they have scouted and drafted the right players. They could have also had the 24th and 44th overall picks, but New Jersey opted to take the Blues pick this year in the Scott Stevens case, so the Coyotes will get the Blues 1st rounder next year. Phoenix dealt the 44th pick to the Florida Panthers for Todd Simpson at the trade deadline. They might get a couple of other high picks, pending on whether the team trades the rights to Robert Reichel a Read more »
At the annual select-a-seat, Pierre Gauthier, President and General Manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, held a forum for season ticket holders. Here are the details from that forum.
The draft is one of the richest in the last decade and Pierre says he will not trade the #5 pick. He plans to take the best of the top 5 players and is glad he doesn’t have the 6th pick. When the name Stephen Weiss was mentioned, Pierre smiled and mentioned he met with Weiss last week. With two picks in the second round (35 and 41), Pierre plans to trade one of them, or one or more of the later round picks before or during the June 23rd draft. Gauthier and Murray both agree that the team needs more grit, emotion, and leadership, and will try to fill those needs with trades. Gauthier expects to see a great deal of dealing on the draft floor. Pierre is glad to have Shields on the team because he doesn’t feel that Giguere is ready to start 60-70 games due to his youth. Neither Shields nor Giguere will be involved in trades. Pierre reiterated that drafting well, and making smart trades is the best way to build a winning franchise. He stated Detroit, Dallas, San Jose, New Jersey, and Colorado as examples.
Regarding prospects already in the system, Pierre is high on Cincinnati center Andy McDonald (C) and Russians Alexei Smirnov (LW) and net minder Ilja Bryzgalov (G). At the same time he was disappointed in Balmochnyk and Jay Legault.
Read more »
The death of the International Hockey League has given the Manitoba Moose a new lease on life.
The Moose were among six IHL teams absorbed by the rival American Hockey League on Monday. The Winnipeg-based club announced Tuesday that they are affiliated with the NHL Vancouver Canucks.
The death of the IHL also won’t prevent backers of the Toronto Roadrunners from bringing a minor-league team to Toronto for the 2002-2003 season.
Ernie Coetzee, the Roadrunners chief operating officer, plans to apply for an AHL franchise in early July. The Roadrunners had originally planned to play in the IHL.
The addition of the six former IHL clubs increases the AHL ranks to 27 teams. Besides the Moose, IHL refugees include the Milwaukee Admirals, Utah Grizzlies, Grand Rapids Griffins, Chicago Wolves and Houston Aeros. The AHL hopes to have 30 teams by the 2002-2003 season.
“I think we’ve added great strength and great value to our league,” said David Andrews, the AHL president and CEO.
Chipman is thrilled his team is part of the AHL.
“The benefits for our organization and for those other applicants that were successful in obtaining membership in the AHL are quite obvious,” Chipman said.
“We’re delighted to be able to become a part of the rich history of the American Hockey League.”
The six new teams will pay $1 million US each over 10 years.
“Our board recognized the value these teams, and these owners, bring to our league and discounted our expansion fee,” Andrews said.
The Moose join four Canadian AHL t Read more »
The Oilers reached both highs and lows recently when they signed highly regarded free agent defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the QMJHL, but then saw Christian Chartier sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Oilers were unable to come to terms with Chartier on the June 1st deadline so he became an unrestricted free agent. You would have to assume that the Leafs were probably as good a scenario for Chartier to come too, perhaps even better than the Oilers, due to their lack of play making defencemen.
Bergeron brings an impressive resume to the Oilers, posting 42 goals and 101 points in 69 games this past season. The 42 goals were actually a single season record for goals by a defenceman. He was also a very impressive +47 and kicked in a whopping 185 minutes in penalties. His career stats were: 1997-98 to 2000-01 in the QMJHL with Shawinigan and Baie-Comeau, he scored at almost a point-per-game pace with 86-144-230 in 249 games and played in both the 1999-00 and 2000-01 QMJHL all-star Games. The signing of Bergeron temporarily gave the Oilers the best defenceman from each junior league, until Chartier chose not to sign.
Bergeron would have to be considered a top prospect in the organization now behind only Alexei Semenov. Both players will be in camp this fall to challenge for a roster spot on the blue line.
Other recent signings for the Oilers Kevin McDonald. Kevin McDonald is a tough, physical forward from Olds, AB. He has primarily played in the ECHL, and will act only to add depth to the organization.
Sergei Vyshedkevich has signed a 1 year contract with Dynamo Moscow of the Super League for next season. Vyshedkevich will participate in the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim camp this fall, but will go to Russia instead of Cincinnati if he does not make the Anaheim roster.
Sergei was aquired by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on February 10, 2001 with Scott Langkow from Atlanta for Ladislav Kohn.
Sergei is a promising offensive defenseman. He is 6’0″ 195lbs and has played well for the RiverRats (AHL) and the Solar Bears (IHL). After being traded to Anaheim and sent to play for the Ducks Cincinnati team, Vyshedkevich scored 2 goals and 1 assist in 9 games. Durring his stint in Atlanta, Sergei had 1 goal and 3 assits in 1999-2000 but in 2000-2001 he had only 1 goal and 2 assists in 23 games on a poor defense.
Sergei may fit well on the Mighty Ducks offensive style and the team is lacking depth on defense.
Whose play was so amazing during the 1999 Canada Cup Challenge Under-17 that his stick was demanded so it could be placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for the first time in the history of international hockey? Ilya Kovalchuk, that’s who! Ilya is one of the most exciting prospects, or more likely the most exciting prospect in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
(for more information, interviews, articles, photographs and etc. please
At 6’2 and 205 pounds, Ilya Kovalchuk already has the size to be a force in the NHL. As many Russian players, he will probably add more bulk after crossing over to North America. This young star has the skills to complement his great athleticism. As one scout put it “He’s big, tough and he’s got the puck all night,”. His explosive skating has been compared to that of the likes of Bure and is able to maneuver through heavy traffic. Besides being a powerful goal scorer, Ilya is also a great playmaker, possessing great puckhandling skills. Ilya’s great size would not have been as an effective asset without his great intensity. Ilya uses his size to fight for the puck and does not hesitate to get his hands dirty in a physical game, leading this season Spartak Moscow with 78 penalty minutes. Ilya is also a very feisty player, constantly getting into fights with his opponents. In an interview with the Sport Express Newspaper that is available in a link below, he explained hi Read more »
The Chatham Maroons will forever remain the final Canadian team to hoist the Turner Cup.
The International Hockey League’s long-expected announcement Monday that it was folding assured the 1949-50 Maroons of their place in history.
“I read it about a week ago and I thought, “Good God,”‘ said Albert Plouffe, one of five Maroons who moved from Timmins, Ont., to play in Chatham. “It was the reason we came down here and now it’s gone.
The IHL ceased operations after 56 years. The Maroons came aboard during its fifth year and won the championship that season, defeating the Sarnia (Ont.) Sailors in a seven-game series.
The Maroons left two years later for the OHA Senior league. They hadn’t expected to be the last Canadian champs.
“It’s sort of depressing,” said Earl Towers, another Timmins player who settled in Chatham. “It’s sort of sad. But I’m glad we did it.”
Their victory began a local IHL championship connection which continued until 1999, when Chatham’s Brian Wiseman, a former Toronto Maple Leafs’ farmhand, raised the Turner Cup with the Houston Aeros.
“It’s kind of disappointing the end result was this one,” Wiseman said, “whereas a few years back, it looked like one of the premier leagues in hockey.”
Wiseman played five years in the IHL. He was named the league MVP and won the scoring title in the 1998-99 championship season. He also played in three all-star games and was twice named an all-star in post-season voting.
A series of concussions sidelined him this season. H Read more »
Possible off-season moves that could affect the Flames depth chart.
The minor league affiliate in Saint John had a stellar season, winning the Canadian Division crown, then going on to capture the Calder Cup as league champions. The success on the farm and the failure of the NHL squad should have some sort of impact on the roster in the upcoming season. The uninspired play of many veterans may also force a shuffling of personnel. So what can we really expect between now and training camp?
Promotions, Demotions, Minor League Shuffling
On the Farm
The success for a minor league affiliate is normally great news for any NHL team. Especially when the average age on that team is 22 years of age. It usually means that the minor league team is stacked with some great talent that could help out a weak NHL squad. But the Flames are not lucky enough to fall into that category. While the team they played in the Calder Cup finals, the Wilkes Barrie-Scranton Penguins, sported young AHL scoring stars like Milan Kraft and Andrew Ference, the Saint John Flames success can be tied to their great team play. There is not a single NHL star player in development in Calgary’s farm team. There is no expected impact player to be delivered that could change the NHL team’s fortunes. But there are a few players that could help out the Flames become a better scoring team, and provide more depth and balance to the roster.
Former first round pick Daniel Tkaczuk had an amazing run after coming back from a late season concussion. He stepped in and Read more »