View Archives:
  • News & Features

Connolly and Spezza on Long Island: Perfect Together

by Bill Bennett
In the last few weeks Islander fans in cyberspace have been treated to every possible rumor regarding who they will draft, or who they will trade the pick for.

Even the chance at moving up to draft first has been in the headlines. Mike Milbury has openly talked about what the pick could bring and has even hinted that next year’s pick could be traded as well in an interview on Wfan.

What Mike Milbury, the Islanders Owners, and the Scouting Staff should do is take a step back in the remaining time before June 23rd and look at all the players on other teams that have been drafted by this organization and understand it’s time to keep the core group of players here that began with the 1999 draft and let them finish what they started even if it means some Unrestricted Free Agents decide not to come here. NHL General Managers always talk about using the Devils as models as to how to put together a winning franchise long term, the Islanders now can do just that.

Some credit to the New Islanders owners has to be given because very quietly among the criticism for keeping Mike Milbury they have signed many of their drafted prospects in: Rick DiPietro, Juraj Kolnik, Taylor Pyatt, Raffi Torres, Branislav Mezei and now Justin Mapletoft to go with their brand new AHL franchise in Bridgeport.

I can only speak for myself in this article, but from what I have read from many fans what they want is for the franchise to stick to a plan, keep the kids and close down the Mad Mike Show on draft day. It’s old, tired, and it’s not working. It’s time for Read more »

Phoenix Signs Martin Grenier

by Brandon LeBourveau

The Phoenix Coyotes have signed defenseman Martin Grenier to a mulit year contract. Grenier became an unrestricted free agent after he failed to sign with Boston before the June 1st deadline for all 1999 draftees. The 20 year old Grenier, selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft by the Colorado Avalanche and dealt to the Bruins in the Ray Bourque deal, just completed his 4th season of junior hockey.

The 6’5 245 pound Grenier played 26 games for the Quebec Ramparts and 28 for the Victoriaville Tigres this past year. He is now one of the biggest players in the Coyotes’ organization, and they are glad to have him. He will likely see time next season in the AHL but it is possible he could crack the Coyotes’ defense during camp.

Other News: As expected the Phoenix Coyotes failed to sign Scott Kelman, the club’s 1st choice in ’99, 15th overall. Since they did not sign him, they will receive the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft as compensation. Also, Preston Mizzi was not signed as well.

Optimism about prospects

by pbadmin

Although it has been preached at nausea, the Flames do have a tremendous core of young players of which to build around. Today’s crop of prospects is very encouraging; the blueline is stacked. Calgary has one of the best young groups of D-men in the NHL. The only problem is inexperience. Robyn Regehr and Denis Gauthier are similar players who are on top of their respective games when they have a chip on their shoulder, and are playing mean, assertive hockey. They let up, however, when, their play becomes apathetic. However, with time comes experience, which will see these two blossom. Toni Lydman had a promising rookie year.

Although he was a little shaky to being the campaign, he improved greatly towards the end of the season. He played as well as could be expect from a rookie at the beginning of the year, but his defensive game really improved toward the final games when he began initiating physical contact. Also, his offensive game improved dramatically towards the end of the year. For a team that had only about 12 or so goals from the point, Lydman is god-sent. Like Gauthier and Regehr, he will only improve with time.

With these three under the tutelage of Brad ‘Sarge’ MacRimmon, they will improve. Derek Morris is the key to this group. This young man is outstanding in nearly all facets of the game. He’s responsible defensively, initiates offense, works the power play, plays physically, logs mammoth ice time, and has character. He will emerge as an all-star soon enough. However, he would have been even better had he started the year in Read more »

2001 Draft Profile: Tim Gleason

by Jonathan Litterine
There is no doubt Tim Gleason has the skills to become a very
very solid NHL defenseman. Smooth skating and quick passing are Gleason’s top
2 strengths. Yet Gleason is missing something. It might delay his arrival to
the NHL. Gleason doesn’t have the hockey smarts a NHL d-man should. Now there
are varying reports from scouts, but most feel Gleason needs to improve his
hockey smarts in order to be a successful NHL player. Stephen Weiss hands
down is the smartest player in this years draft. If Gleason had the smarts of
Weiss he would probably be a top 5 selection. Yet this will cause him to most
likely be a mid to late first round pick. At 6’0, 200 pounds Gleason is a
two way player. He has above average offensive skills and is very good in his
own zone. Sometimes he gets out of control and starts running around in his
own zone. If he can harness his ability and make quicker and smarter
decisions he can be a very very solid player. Yet between now and draft time
there isn’t any more chances to change his game. It looks like Tim Gleason
will have to develop on the pro level, which is the hardest level of all to
develop your game.

Pens ’99 pick Van Hoof dumped

by Richard A. Plisco

At the deadline, the Pittsburgh Penguins scouting staff felt that 19 year old defenseman Jeremy Van Hoof had not developed significantly enough over the past couple of seasons to warrant a contract.

It is also surmised that Van Hoof’s agent was asking for a contract dollar figure that the Pens balked at as not even close to reasonable for what the 6-2 208lbs. blueliner has showed thus far. Van Hoof anchored the Ottawa 67’s defense corp this season on it’s way to the Ontario Hockey League Championship. In 65 regular season tilts, the youngster recorded an uninspiring 1 goal and 11 assists. The physical rear guard also picked up 49 penalty minutes in those appearances.

Van Hoof, much to the dismay of his agent, will re-enter the draft pool and more than likely be picked in later rounds as is usually the case for older draft entries. Jeremy’s agent was surprised that the Pens were no longer interested in the prospect, especially since the Penguins lack size and toughness on D. The Pens cited Van Hoofs minimal improvement and inconsistent play as factors in the decision.

Earlier, the Penguins signed another ’99 pick, defenseman Darcy Robinson. Van Hoof and his agent noted that they have recieved attention from other NHL clubs.

Rest of Red Wings prospects in Europe

by Zoran Manojlovic

This is the second part in my look back on Red Wings prospects in Europé.

1. Pavel Datsyuk

Position: Center
Team: AK Bars Kazan
Born: 1978
Height: 5.11
Weight: 190
Drafted: 6th round in the 1998 draft (171 overall)
Rating: 6.5 / 10
Last season: 40 games 9 goals 17 assists 26 points 6 pim

The now 23 -year old late rounder from Sverdlovsk in Russia has emerged
as one of the best prospects in the Red Wings organization during the
past season.

He has had a career season in Russia with 26 points (9 goals and 17
assists) in 40 games. Datsyuk has played an essential role in Kazan (one
of the best clubs in Russia), he is playing on powerplay, boxplay,
everything. He has played so good that he has been a regular all year
long on the National Team. In the first tournaments with the national
team he was center on the 3rd and 4th lines, but in the WC in Germany he
played so good that he become 1st line center between Valeri Karpov
(left) and Alexei Yashin (right). He maid a terrific tournament even
dough he didn`t register a goal, he had 4 helpers in 7 games , was +5
(best on team), won 58% of the face-offs (best on team). He played a
great two-way game, lots of great passes, moves in high speed, and very
good backchecks. He didn`t behave like Russians do, but he played a very
good Russian hockey. In my opinion he was the best player on the team.

During the year he played in 19 games with the national team and
registered 2 goals and 5 assists and 2 pim.

Datsyuk is a great talent that has developed into a very good all-round
 Read more »

Jakes and Tootoo likely to be taken in Entry Draft

by Trenton Allen
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
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
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
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.

Related Articles

Win a PlayStation 4 + a copy of NHL 16 from GameRevolution and Hockey's Future! Complete one or more of the action... in Contests on LockerDome