Welcome to a new series here at Hockeys Future. We will take a look at some of the top high school, prep, and top players out in Ann Arbor at the National Development Program. The first player of the series is Justin Maiser.
Maiser is one of the top players for his age in the country. He spent the majority of the season with the U-17 team. He was second on the team in scoring with a 11-20-31 line. Maiser also played 13 games with the U-18 team, netting 8 points. Maiser has recently committed to Boston University. The other schools he was looking at where Michigan, Minnesota, Boston College, and Wisconsin. He was sold on Boston University though. He will be playing with his buddies Brian McConnel and Ryan Whitney. They have one of the top recruiting classes for 2001 with those three. As for the firings that recently happened, Maiser said, “I was shocked, I’ve learned a lot from both of them especially Mancini.” He thinks that Mike Eaves will be a strong addition to the program and he is looking forward to next season. Right now he and fellow teammates are strength training three times a week and playing other sports such as football or basketball on other days. Maiser said, “I get chills and it feels great knowing that you are representing the USA.” All and all Maiser is a top notch hockey player with NHL potential. He is a gritty forward who isn’t afraid to muck it up in the corners and has great offensive skills. Maiser will be expected to be a top scorer for the U-18 team. Keep an eye out for him, as he’s one of the top young players in the USA.
The 99-00 season didn’t offer a lot of roster spots to Panthers prospects and rookies because during the 1998-99 season the Panthers had 4 rookies play
complete seasons (Parrish, Worrell, Spacek, and Kvasha), and they all earned full-time roster spots that year. In addition, this
year saw the surprising resurrection of Cam Stewart, and the signing of veteran Ray Sheppard for a bargain basement price.
Add all of these factors together, combined with the AHL Louisville Panthers needing a full roster of prospects, and it didn’t give much chance for a
young player to earn a spot on the big club and make a noticeable contribution, ala Scott Gomez, Maxim Afigenenov, Brad
Stuart, or Michael York.
Read more »
What does the team in need of help at each position do when they draft at #10
and #11 ? Where the Hawks go at these picks seems a minuscule problem in comparison to
the others this soiled Original Six club has to overcome.
When an NHL club doesn’t have an AHL developmental team, or a head coach, or
a true scouting staff at either the amateur or professional level except for
your new General Manager, or a playoff berth for four years, the draft seems
like a drop into a bucket.
Nonetheless it is a place to start to look for talent to turnaround a 39 year
tailspin away from Lord Stanley’s Cup. I speak here as possibly the biggest
wannabe GM who has been around all of those years. So much of my speculating
will involve what neo GM Mike Smith may do, but mostly what pozer GM Wiz
would do. I have not been silent through the other drafts, letting the
entire Blackhawk family, the radio audiences, and every fan in an earshot
from my seat know exactly who I wanted in each draft.. In 1986, I wanted Adam
Graves. They took Everett Sanipass. In ‘94, I wanted Wanye Primeau. They
took Ethan Moreau. In 97’s second round, I wanted Kristian Huselius; they
took Jeremy Reich. In ‘97, we did agree on Dan Cleary, but I think we all see
he is still far from an NHL top two line player. In 1990, we also agreed on Karl Dykhuis
over Keith Tkachuk, but what do we know, eh?
Read more »
Edmonton Oiler goaltending prospect Mike Minard was named man of the year in the American Hockey League, receiving the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award for his contributions in the community of Hamilton. This Hamilton Bulldog is an example of the good will and charity that hockey players sometime do not get credit for in this era of high salaries and larger ego’s. Mini Munchkin’s is one of the many programs that Mike is involved in where he has purchased a block of tickets for the childrens hospital so the families can attend the games together.
As well as being a honorary captian and spokesman for the Nike/American Hockey League Streetdogs program that helps children to learn more about the game of hockey, he has help raise $20,000 as a spokesperson and poster player for the Toronto Dominion Bank’s “smiles on ice”. With Bill Ranford retiring this season Mike has a chance at being the back up goaltender to Tommy Salo especially with his performance in the last game of the season against the Calgary Flames in Calgary where he made a strong showing in the second and third period to preserve the victory.
The city of Edmonton will be very fortunate have a player such as Mike Minard with his contributions on and off the ice, if he plays anything like his boyhood hero Grant Fuhr. The Oilers could have another fine goalie to add to their storied history.
I Wanna be like Mike!
Possibly in the near future the Oilers success could be in the hand’s of Mike or the Mike’s. With Michel Riesen, Micheal Henrich, Mike Comrie a Read more »
For some hockey players, the postseason brings out the best in them. John Grahame is one of those guys.
The Providence Bruins, defending American Hockey League Champs, suffered their share of adversity this season and barely squeezed into the playoffs after injuries and call-ups took their toll forcing coach Peter Laviolette to play an AHL-record 70 players throughout the course of the year. But this is where the story gets interesting. Enter Grahame.
He is already the answer to several great trivia questions, but “JG” as he likes to be called, has been keeping the puck out of the net all year whether playing for the moribund Boston Bruins, or the in-over-their-heads P-Bruins of the AHL regular season. John has made no bones about the fact that he would rather play in the NHL than on the farm any day of the week and twice on Sunday. After all, who wouldn’t? But when the ’99-’00 Boston Bruins season ended without a postseason berth for the second time in four years
(at no fault of Grahame’s by the way,) the parent club sent him and a large portion of the cast that brought you the 1999 Calder Cup, back down to Rhode Island’s capital city.
You see, John Grahame is rapidly proving that he is one of those rare athletes who actually thrives when the competition is toughest. Last year, he went 15-4 with a 2.38 GAA and .912 save percentage. He out-performed other netminders who were supposedly much Read more »
In the latest installment of my look into the past, present and future of the Capitals’
prospects, I take on the daunting task of dissecting the defensemen.
Alexei Tezikov – Portland Pirates (AHL)
This was not the season that everyone expected for Alexei after showing so much promise at the
end of last year. He put up good numbers and proved that he can play in the big leagues, but was
blocked at the NHL level by a veteran defense corps. Making things worse was a broken foot that
caused him to miss the playoffs, which could have been a chance to showcase himself. Even though
he is still somewhat inexperienced, he is being counted on to play full time in Washington next
season. The Caps will make room for him as they badly want to establish another young defenseman
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 53 6 9 15 65 12
Washington (NHL) 23 1 1 2 2 -2
Ross Lupaschuk – Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
This has been an eventful season for Ross, as he has moved around a bit. He was invited to try
out for Canada’s National Junior Team, but was a late cut. He started the season playing in
Prince Albert but was traded to Red Deer mid-season in a blockbuster deal, giving him a chance
to be a number one defenseman. He flourished on the Rebels, finishing third in scoring and Read more »
1. Maxime Ouellet:
1999 First rounder was the best goalie in the QMJHL this season and a
standout at the World Junior Championships. The expectations for Ouellet,
while not quite equal to the buzz that has surrounded Roberto Luongo, are
nevertheless quite lofty. Most expect him to be a good- and maybe elite-
NHL starter in the future. The Flyers plan to have him play one more
season at the junior level before promoting him.
2. Antero Niittymäki:
Finnish Elite League rookie of the year had an eye-opening rookie season
for TPS Turku, leading them to the Finnish championship. He had an up and
down World Junior Championship performance, however. Fast glove and quick
reflexes. He’d be the top goaltending prospect in many organizations, but
is stuck behind Boucher and Oullet in the Flyers organization. The Flyers
have said that he is ready for AHL play after just one SM-Liiga season.
3. Mikhail Chernov:
Seemed to take a step backward early in the season. Perhaps he was still
reeling from the tragic boating accident in Kelowna that took the life of
Dmitri Tertyshny. As the season wore on, Chernov bounced back very nicely
and had a strong second half. Can play aggressively but still sometimes
gets mesmerized by the puck. Still a bit turnover prone but improving. Good
all around abilities are starting to become refined. Also has a heavy shot Read more »
Another day, another group of players to be picked apart. This time we will look at the right
wingers in the Capitals organization as we try to determine what the future holds for the Caps.
Matthew Herr – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Matt spent the entire season in Portland after shuffling back and forth between the NHL and AHL
in his rookie year. He had a good offensive year -scoring 22 goals – but more importantly, he
had the time to work on rounding out his game. He will be given the opportunity to win a job in
training camp next year, and should be able to secure a third or fourth line winger spot. Matt
is an RFA this summer, but because of his limited NHL experience, he won’t get many significant
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 77 22 21 43 51 12
AHL PLAYOFFS 4 1 1 2 4 -4
Roman Tvrdon – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Roman is quite possibly the biggest surprise of the season among the Capitals’ prospects. He
was a complete unknown on draft day and was assigned to Spokane to start the year. Not only did
he play outstanding two-way hockey, but he won the WHL rookie scoring race. His success is
carrying into the post-season as the Chiefs have made it to the WHL finals. Depending on the
direction the Capitals take in the off-season, Roman could get a chance to compete for a NHL job
in training camp.
Read more »
Expansion Protected List
With the expansion draft quickly approaching the Oilers are going to protect 9 forwards, 5 defenseman and Tommy Salo, which will give a few players in Hamilton a great chance at a permanent roster spot. This is the list most likely to happen due to players age and salaries and to allow space for younger players to showcase their abilities.
1. (C) Doug Weight
2. (C) Todd Marchant
3. (LW) Dan Cleary
4. (LW) Ryan Symth
5. (LW) Ethan Moreau
6. (LW) Boyd Devereaux
7. (RW) Bill Guerin
8. (RW) Mike Grier
9. (RW) Georges Laraque
1. Roman Hamrlik
2. Janni Niinimaa
3. Tom Poti
4. Jason Smith
5. Sean Brown
1. Tommy Salo
Left unprotected are forwards (RW) Alexander Selivanov, (LW) German Read more »
Today, I continue my analysis of the Capitals’ prospects with a look at the left wingers. Each
day this week I will bring you my take on the Caps depth chart position-by-position.
Miika Elomo – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Miika finally decided to stay in North America this season after moving back and forth to
Finland the past few years. The new dedication paid off, with a fast start to the season,
leading the AHL in goals for a while and getting the call for his first NHL game. Injuries
bothered him throughout the year and caused him to miss the All-Star Game – which he had been
selected to play in – and the playoffs. Miika made enough progress this season to be considered
for an NHL job next year.
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 59 21 14 35 48 -9
Washington (NHL) 2 0 1 1 2 1
Jeff Toms – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Jeff continued his act of Jekyll & Hyde this season, showing flashes of brilliance, but
disappearing just when you thought he had turned it around. He bounced back and forth between
Portland and Washington, putting up big numbers in the AHL but struggling when called up to D.C.
With the Capitals starting to amass depth at the forward positions, Jeff is slipping further and
further away from a full-time NHL job. He will be a free agent in the off-season, and may get Read more »