Following a tough 3-2 Spokane Chiefs loss to the Kamloops Blazers in WHL league action, Chiefs defenseman and Colorado Avalanche prospect Kurt Sauer was kind enough to do an interview with Hockeysfuture.
Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on January 16, 1981, Kurt started playing hockey at six in used equipment and skates that were a couple sizes too big however, this hasn’t deterred the big defenseman from pursuing an NHL dream. Playing for North Iowa in the USHL during the 98-99 season, Kurt intended on attending college, but was listed by the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs. After a visit to Spokane, Kurt opted to join the Chiefs for the 99/00 season and it appears to have been a wise decision.
Kurts rookie season saw him finish eighth overall in the WHL with a +36, but it lead the western conference and all WHL rookies. Kurt was also voted as co-rookie of the year in Spokane. Following the season, Kurt entered the NHL Entry Draft and Colorado used it’s fifth pick, 88th overall to snare Kurt.
A punishing hitter and rock solid stay at home defenseman, Kurt is a top prospect in the Avalanche system and when asked about Kurt, Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz said, “he’s a quality kid both on and off the ice, just a great guy.” Players around the league praise Kurt’s punishing physical prowess by saying they avoid, “going along the wall on Kurts side of the ice if at all possible.”
When asked if he was surprised that Kurt, considered by most, along with Dan Hamhuis of Prince George, to be the elite defenseman in the WHL this season, Speltz replie Read more »
Dustin Brown has always been a sniper, but no one knew who he was until last
year. That’s when the then 15 year old broke into the OHL as a second round
pick of the Guelph Storm. But at the time of the 2000 OHL draft, Brown was
not very well known. He didn’t have the high profile of some of the other
2000 draftees like Patrick Jarrett, Rick Nash, Tim Brent, or Bryan Rodney.
In fact almost all of the OHL teams didn’t even have him ranked anywhere on
their draft lists. The story is well know now. At the 200 OHL priority
selection when Guelph GM Alan Millar called the Ithaca, New York native’s
name, everyone was stunned (much to the same effect as at the ’98 draft,
when Erie Otters GM Sherry Bassin called then little known Brad Boyes in the
1st round). Figuring it was a waste of a pick. Fast forward through last
season, and the 6’0″-193lbs right winger is an early concensus top five pick
for the 2003 NHL entry draft.
Brown combines speed and pillow soft hands to account for his almost
goal-a-game pace this season. Brown, who just turned 17 is also in
consideration for team USA, who will compete at the WJC. Although the US
team doesn’t usually take younger playerse, it would be hard to ignore Brown
is he keeps up the play he has been displaying this year.
Brown and linemate Marty St.Pierre have been ripping up the Ontario League
scoresheets this season, and the prospect of both of them being in Guelph
for another 2-3 years is great for Guelph fans and management. Brown could
stand to get a little more physical (0 fights i Read more »
Over the past several seasons, to an extent since the 1993-94 season the Rangers organization has struggled to re-stock the system for a future run at the cup whilst struggling even more to keep a most competitive veteran club on the ice. The likes of Daniel Goneau have been spotted in Rangers blue as have Johan Holmqvist and even Jason Labarbera.
As former Ranger prospects Doug Weight, Todd Marchant, Aaron Miller and more find their niches in the NHL and have blossomed into stars or solid NHLers, the Rangers for one reason or another have had a great deal of trouble bringing these kinds of players up from their own system into the NHL as Rangers, long time Rangers.
During this offseason G.M. Glen Sather did a stellar job in loading the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford with young talent such as Matt Kinch, Layne Ulmer, Mikael Samuelsson(via San Jose trade) and so on… even some have found their way to New York with the likes of Dan Blackburn via the 2001 draft and former 1st rounder (BUF) Barrett Heisten. But the age old question remains…”why are the Rangers signing journeyman veterans or former stars well past their prime and not giving the prospects a shot?”
Read more »
PLayers like the Oshawa Generals Nathan Horton, don’t come around all the
time. It’s not everyday that a sixteen year old, who is 6’3″ – 195lbs, can
play both ends of the ice like the 2001 2nd overall selection can. Horton,
who at sixteen, is already showing signs of becoming a dominant center in
the league, can indeed do it all. He can skate, shoot, pass, hit, and drop
the gloves when needed.
Most importantly be boasts a skill that not many
sixteen year old rookies do. He knows his role at both ends of the ice.
Whether it be maturity, or simply the fact that he understands that to be
the best, you have to do everything, including the little things. It’s the
little things that make Horton extremely special. The things you notice
his strapping 6’3″ frame, his beautiful long skating stride, and fantastic
But there are also things that aren’t as visible to the casual
hockey fan. Horton is a penalty kill specialist, and he is rarely caught
of position. He is blessed with many intangibles, like kicking the puck
his skate to his stick while in full stride, or the hand eye coordination
that allows him to bat pucks out of the air.
In a hat trick that he scored
earlier in the year, it was said that his three goals didn’t even begin to
tell the story, and that he absolutely dominated the game in the opponents
end, and in his teams end as well. The best thing about Horton is that
he plays well in his own end, his point a game pace, shows that his
offensive ability is very well-rounded a Read more »
By Mike Buskus
One tie and one point on the week
One point in the standings is all that the Albany River Rats have to show for their efforts this past week. On Friday, they lost to the Hershey Bears, 3-1. On Saturday, after coming from behind late in the game to take the lead, they wound up with a 5-5 tie against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
On the other hand, the top brass with the New Jersey Devils got a look at goalie Scott Clemmensen, the rookie from Boston College who has had only limited playing time behind Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. With virtually the entire Devils’ management and scouting team in attendance, on Friday Clemmensen got his first professional start. He was in the pipes as the River Rats took on the Hershey Bears.
Although the Rats lost, 3-1, not one of the three goals allowed (on 28 Hershey shots) could be called a “soft” goal. Clemmensen was the victim of a porous defense in front, as the first goal (Matt Herr of the Bears) was a rebound in front which the defense was unable to clear. The second goal was even more obviously a defensive lapse, as a Bear slid across the hash marks from right, unmolested and picked his spot. Finally, the third Hershey marker was a classic 2-on-1, with the goaltender watching the puck-carrier. Only problem was that the lone defender back did not block the pass and Jeff Daw of Hershey had an easy “shovel-in” goal.
Of the 25 saves, most were routine, but several very nifty ones were included. To date, Clemmensen (who was returned to New Jersey the next day) has not st Read more »
The Anaheim mighty ducks have had several top prospects in there system, but not many have played in the CHL, most have been europeans or college players. Chad Kilger was the only first round pick that the ducks selected from the junior ranks (maybe that’s why they haven’t tryed again). In this years entry draft the ducks selected several players from CHL, they did not howevever draft one in the first round but got one in the second, one in the third, one in the fifth,, and one in the ninth. Every junior player the ducks selected this year are averaging just around a point per game, all these players are making a statement “they were underated”.
Mark Popovic: 2/35
St. Mikes Majors (OHL)
Mark had a great training camp but was sent down to further develop his skills. Mark was injured early in the season but is now healthy and back to leading his team with his great leadership and two way play.
Joel Stepp: 3/69
Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Stepp reminds me a lot of John Madden but with better offensive potential. Stepp is a very physical forward with great skills, Stepp has the potential all he has to do is keep progressing.
Joel Perrault>: 5/137
Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Read more »
Andrei Markov -D (Drafted-98(6/162))Markov continued his strong play with 3 assists through 1 game this week. His 3 assists came during a 4-3 overtime loss to Wilkes Barre. He’s 6th in league scoring and 2nd in goals among defensemen. Overall, the Russian defenseman has played 11 games. He has 10 points (4-6-11), and is a league leading +11 with 7 minutes in penalties. One of his goals was scored on the powerplay.
Ron Hainsey -D (Drafted-00(1/13))Hainsey remains unable to play. He suffered a wrist injury on October 24th, and could return to action in 2 weeks. Overall, the 6’3″, 200-lbs defenseman has played 7 games. He has 6 points (3-3-6), and is +3 with 6 minutes in penalties. At the time of his injury, and in fact even 3 games into his time off Hainsey still led the team with 25 shots on goal.
Michael Ryder -W (Drafted-98(8/216))Ryder registered 1 assist through 1 game since our last update. He’s playing a strong 2-way game and is among the team’s top defensive forwards. Overall, the 6’1″, 195-lbs winger has played 8 games. He has 4 points (2-2-4), and is +5 with 7 shots on goal. He has been a healthy scratch for 3 games this season.
Eric Chouinard -F (Drafted-98(1/16))Chouinard has found a happy home on a line with Aaron Asham and Craig Darby. He scored 1 goal and added 1 assist through 1 game this week. Overall, the 6’3″, 207-lbs forward has played 9 games. He has 12 points (4-8-12), and is +6 with 2 minutes in penalties. He also has 26 shots on goal.
Marc-Andre Thinel -F (Draf Read more »
Beechey’s return burns the ICE
All good things must come to an end. Great movies, summer vacations and yes, even unbeaten streaks. It had to be somebody, even worse, it had to be the Calgary Hitmen and as returning player stories don’t often go, it was a familiar friend leading the charge against his former teammates.
Tyler Beechey made his triumphant return to the town he called home during hockey season for the past four years and potted two goals including the game-winner in a 5-3 defeat of the Kootenay ICE by their arch-rival, the Calgary Hitmen.
Beechey, a twenty-yr-old who was traded on September 28th to the Hitmen in exchange for nineteen-yr-old Shaun Norrie in order for the ICE to pare down their roster to the league-mandated allotment of three overage players, opened the scoring just minutes into the contest on a bullet slap-shot that went five-hole on ICE rookie netminder Bryan Bridges. And just in case anybody had forgotten how the Edmonton product can produce clutch goals as he had done so many times in an ICE uniform, Beechey lifted a rebound over a sprawling Bryan Bridges on the power-play at the 13:40 of the third frame for what turned out the eventual game-winner.
For Beechey the two goal performance and the win were a little bittersweet. “I was a little nervous coming in,” said Beechey. “Mo (former ICE teammate Lance Morrison who also returned with the Hitmen) and I talked on the bus and we were both pretty nervous but we knew after the first couple of shifts that it would turn into a normal game.”
Not overjoyed at the time Read more »
WHL’s OPEN ICE HIT-Hawks/Rockets Deal
In a deal that will probably leave a very bad taste in some Portland Winter Hawk fans’ mouths, the Hawks dealt popular defenseman Jesse Ferguson and Kevin Young to the Kelowna Rockets for defensive prospect Richie Regehr. Hello Portland fans (and I’m one of them), this is professional ice hockey. You did not lose your first born. You did not see Brenden Morrow traded for a bag of pucks and a used mouthpiece. What happened today was simply the constant motion of Western Hockey League.
Let us put this day of active trading into perspective. Portland General Manager Ken Hodge and Head Coach Mike Williamson made a decision to trade two talented men in exchange for a promising young, but not inexperienced, player. Of the three players, none have been drafted by a NHL team, exposing that their talents may be attractive to WHL teams, but not necessarily commanding high-level prospect status. On the other hand, each of the three have either been given a NHL free-agent tryout or have been in contact with a NHL team official regarding their future, thus warranting scouting respect. In the case of Kevin Young, you have an undersized rear-guard who has a tremendous knack for holding the puck in the offensive zone. Consequently, Young is also very injury prone and not always sound in his defensive end. Studying Jesse Ferguson, we find a high-scoring overage defenseman with tremendous puck-moving ability. However, Ferguson can be non-existen Read more »