The first three roster cuts are complete and the remaining Nashville Predators prospects are entering the most important weekend of their careers. Nashville plays three games in as many nights and the trio of contests will offer the final chance for most prospects to earn roster spots. Here is the second of two reports that will provide updates on all the notable prospects who have participated in the Predators rookie camp and NHL training camp …
Ed Hill (6)
During the Nashville rookie camp, Ed Hill showed that he has the basic tools to be a successful NHL defenseman. He has a solid all-around game and is a smooth skater with good passing ability. He does not have any glaring weaknesses, but he will need to step up his game in the near future. He will return to the Barrie Colts of the OHL this season, where he is a teammate of fellow Predators prospect Brian Finley. If Hill can raise the level of his game over the next couple of years, he could develop into a very good prospect.
Karlis Skrastins (6)
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Numerous factors must go into a young person’s decision to make a change in his or her life. Is it best to stay close to home? Where will I have the best chance to succeed? How do I find out all that I need to know? When is it the best time to make the big changes?
Confusing questions to anyone, but imagine then having to make a change which requires you to move halfway around the world to a foreign country when you are just 17 years old. Konstantin Kalmikov, who hails from the Ukraine, made such a decision when he came over to North America to play in the Colonial Hockey League in the 1995-96 season.
“The hockey system is not very well organized in the Ukraine. I felt that to best develop my game, a move to North America would be helpful”, states the soft-spoken Kalmikov.
Following a 4-goal, 13-assist season split between Flint and Detroit in the CHL in the 1995-96 season, the Maple Leafs drafted Konstantin in the 3rd round of the 1996 NHL entry draft with the 68th overall selection. He moved to Sudbury of the OHL for the 1996-97 season, scoring 22 goals and adding 34 assists in 66 games. His second year with Sudbury saw a rise in his production to 32 goals and 32 assists during the 1997-98 season.
“While in Europe, we constantly worked on our skating, so I felt pretty good about that part of my game. My last two years I have worked more on my shot, trying to quicken my release and increase the power. That part of my game has improved a lot, but I have a ways to go”, states Kalmikov.
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It’s September 12, 1999, many young faces to the world of professional hockey are tying up their skates for the first time. They are preparing to step on the ice carrying an NHL crest on their jersey and knowing that they have a chance to become a professional hockey player one day.
Coach Crawford is telling his players to go out there and have fun and that’s all the game is about. The team races out with new faces in Steve Kariya and Jarkko Ruutu. However, Crawford and Burke, who have seen Kariya playing with intensity all week in Kamloops, have been caught saying some good words on the 5-foot-7 speedy gonzalez on ice.
By far Kariya has been the most productive player at camp this season and it is no doubt he will crack the lineup with the Canucks this season.
The Canucks have the Sedin twins wrapped up, now what if they were able to land Paul Kariya with Steve? Of course it probably won’t ever happen, what’s wrong with bringing more family love onto the Canucks? Other notable players at camp all week include Artem Chubarov, Lubomir Vaic and even Matt Cooke is stepping up for a job. Of course Cooke has stated several times to media he never wants to go back to Syracuse. If Josh Holden wants to ever see the dawn of day for more then a few games with the Canucks then he better pull out of the bag what he is projected to do or else players like Matt Cooke may rub 1st round pick all over Josh’s face in the next year.
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The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have had a wonderful off sesaon. They have made some new acquistions, watched prospects mature and for once, they had a relatively quiet off season unlike the past which was full of contract squabbles, ego trips, coaching changes and the occassional front office swap. The only problems this year stem from the possible sale of the Ducks by Disney to the billionaires Henry, other wise known as Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli. The Ducks dont seem to care about what happens up top, instead they are focusing on the future and getting ready for the season.
The Ducks’ training camp motto is “Take the Next Step”. Apparently the fans are ready. A capacity crowd showed up at Disney ICE when camp opened bringing plenty of energy to camp. Heres a look at those trying to take the next step and make the big club and those who are on the verge of being there this time around. And a note for those wondering the “borderline” monikers, etc, it is only meant as their chances of making the team out of camp this year, not in the future or their future as an NHLer.
Niclas Havelid, D
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One of the most interesting match-ups of the year, if you are a prospects fans, is between these two talented teams.
Kloten is building on young players. As they are still playing with only 2 foreign players, one more roster spot is kept for a young player until the 3rd man arrives (it will most likely be Sergei Brylin, if he fails to make the NJ Devils roster).
Swiss Champ Lugano has the deepest roster in the league, but still has quite a few good talents under contract.
Andrew McKim, Martin Plüss, Adrian Wichser
Sébastien Reuille, Tomas Strandberg, André Rufener
Felix Hollenstein, Matthias Schenkel, Sven Helfenstein
Thomas Widmer, Sven Lindemann, Christian Wohlwend
Martin Bruderer, Benjamin Winkler
Samuel Balmer, Arne Ramholt
Martin Höhener, Marco Klöti
Oskar Szczepaniec, Mattias Wüst
Reto Pavoni (backup Christian Wepf)
Injured: Thomas Heldner (out until February)
Phillipe Bozon, Christian Dubé, Marcel Jenni
Misko Antisin, Gian-Marco Crameri, Régis Fuchs
Gilbert Flüeler, Igor Fedulov, Trevor Meier
Andy Näser, Jean-Jaques Aeschlimann, André Doll
Sandro Bertaggia, Peter Andersson
Julien Vauclair, Marc Astley
Olivier Keller, Rick Tschumi
Lars Weibel (backup Christobal Huet)
Injured: Marc-Pierre Tschudy, Geoffrey Vauclair
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I authored an earlier article dealing with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s drafting of Sheldon Keefe in this summers draft. In that article I mentioned that there were a few rumors swirling around Sheldon that had affected his draft position. I also pointed out that most, if not all, of those rumors had been deemed by the Lightning’s management as either false or not worthy of worrying about. They decided to take a chance on the young Mr. Keefe and have not been disappointed so far. Here is a short interview I had with Sheldon during the first week of training camp.
RH – Sheldon, I have to ask you about the draft and some of the things that were said about you before it. I know that it’s now been proven the rumors surrounding you and Mr.Frost were inaccurate and you would rather put that whole fiasco behind you, so I won’t ask you about him. I would like to know though what was your reaction to dropping so far in the draft.
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All in all, the Sharks are looking much more like a cohesive unit this year. The Sharks are famous for slow starts, look for that trend to end this year if they can maintain the momentum.
1: Johan Hedberg: Looking solid, but clearly AHL material for now. Given that he’s already 26, and will be fighting for time in Kentucky, don’t look for him to be anything more than a team’s 3rd goalie.
3: Bob Rouse: Actually looking pretty strong, better than last year. I’m hoping the Sharks can use him in a situation where he only plays perhaps every other or every 3rd game to keep him fresh. Although with smaller rosters now, not sure if that will be possible. May be odd man out if rookies earn a spot.
5: Jeff Norton: Looking better defensively than offensively which is opposite of what I expected. Haven’t really seen much on offense, but has made several very nice defensive plays.
8: Jarrod Skalde: Haven’t really seen much one way or another about him. Solid play on both ends, no big mistakes.
10: Marcus Ragnarson: A jammed ankle has slowed him a little bit, but has looked solid paired with Mike Rathje again. He’ll be back in time for when they count.
11: Owen Nolan: Miracle of miracles, I have not seen him go postal yet. When last year he was hitting posts and missing all together, he’s right on this year. Looking sharp around the net during practices. Haven’t seen him much in scrimmage or games yet though.
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The first three roster cuts are complete and the remaining Nashville Predators prospects are entering the most important weekend of their careers. Nashville plays three games in as many nights and the trio of contests will offer the final chance for most prospects to earn roster spots. Here is the first of two reports that will provide updates on all the notable prospects who have participated in the Predators rookie camp and NHL training camp …
David Legwand (8.5)
Believe it or not, David Legwand is already at a crossroads in his career. After a quiet season in the OHL, Nashville expects Legwand to show the intangibles that he focused on at the expense of his offensive production last year. According to Legwand, his statistics suffered last season because he focused on improving his defense, physical play and faceoff ability. As a continuation of that effort, Legwand spent much of the off-season working with a strength and conditioning coach in Nashville, after the organization made it clear that he needs to add muscle and get stronger.
Legwand will definitely make the Nashville roster this season and will likely play on a checking line to start the year. That would give him an opportunity to prove that his work on the intangibles has been worthwhile. It would also allow him to start his NHL career gradually, much like Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier did with their respective teams. A conservative approach is probably best for Legwand, who is not yet ready to be a star player.
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Forty-two Hurricanes and hopefuls gathered in Cary, North Carolina on September 5th for physicals and photos. From there they flew to Ft. Myers, Florida for the opening of Carolina Hurricanes training camp. Veterans and rookies took the ice at the TECO Arena on September 6th. Twenty-four returning Canes from 1998-1999, three NHL’ers signed over the summer, four players from juniors, two collegiate players, and nine minor leaguers practiced on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the squad split to play an intrasquad game. The Hurricanes White team defeated the Red 2-1 in overtime. Jaroslav Svoboda and Jeff Heerema scored regulation goals, while Kent Manderville netted the winner during an overtime using the NHL’s new four on four format.
On Saturday the preseason schedule began with the Hurricanes hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canes fans were treated to physical play and a Carolina 2-1 victory. Arturs Irbe played all sixty minutes. Ron Francis, Robert Kron, and Gary Roberts each tallied for the home squad. The following night, Tampa Bay hosted the Hurricanes. This time the Hurricanes came up on the short end of a 2-1 score.
Camp was set to leave Florida after a September 14th game versus the Florida Panthers. However, an uninvited hurricane, Floyd, threatened the state and the game was canceled. Before returning home, the Canes returned Jeff Heerema to Sarnia, Jaroslav Svoboda to Kootenay, and Josef Vasicek to Sault Ste. Marie in the Juniors.
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Note: Not all tryouts are included on this list.
Goaltenders: Christian Brosnard, Tim Keyes, Alfie Michaud, Garth Snow, Kevin Swanson, Mike Valley, Kevin Weekes.
Defensemen: Chad Allan, Bryan Allen, Murray Baron, Rick Bertran, Doug Bodger, Ryan Bonni, Clint Cabana, Regan Darby, Darrell Hay, Kevin Kellett, Zenith Komarniski, Kevin Mackie, Mattias Ohlund, Chris O’Sullivan, Ryan Shannon, Brent Sopel, Jason Strudwick, Rene Vydarney, Greg Hadwood, Peter Allen.
Centers: Steward Bodtker, Andrew Cassels, Artem Chubarov, Matt Cooke, Harold Druken, Darby Hendrickson, Josh Holden, Mark Messier, Reggie Savage, Steve Shrum, Jarred Smithson, Lubomir Vaic, Harry York.
Left Wings: Todd Bertuzzi, Donald Brashear, Mike Brown, Marcus Gustaffson, Steve Kariya, Brad May, Ryan Ready, Randy Rowe, Peter Schaefer, Jonas Soling, Ryan Thorpe.
Right Wings: Paul Ferone, Martin Gendron, Pat Kavanagh, Trent Klatt, Mike Lee, Brad Leeb, Vince Malts, Alex Mogilny, Bill Muckalt, Rob Pearson, Larry Shapely, Jarkko Ruutu, Markus Naslund.
U of Maine UFA signee Steve Kariya impresses. He’s got that great speed. He was always buzzing around the puck. Looked very very tiny.
Bryan Allen and Doug Bodger were paired. Allen was pretty much invisible.
Greg Hawgood, IHL megastar, returns to the NHL to replace Adrian Aucoin to QB the VC power play.
Derek Diener, a tryout from Burnaby, got a broken arm when he crashed into the boards. Read more »