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Former IHL Teams to Compete in Same Division

by Andrew Bourgeois
The inclusion of the Manitoba Moose into the American Hockey League brings the league’s Canadian content to five teams, but don’t expect the Winnipeg-based team to join the Canadian Division.

The division which once included the Calder Cup champion Saint John Flames, St. John’s Maple Leafs, Quebec Citadelles and Hamilton Bulldogs might be scrapped entirely.
AHL president Dave Andrews had hoped to announce the divisional makeup and tentative schedule for next season, but last-minute differences over the proposed scheme has necessitated more talks.

It is expected, however, the former IHL teams will form their own division.

The Flames, Leafs and Citadelles are reportedly set to join a division with a number of New England teams, possibly Portland, Manchester, Worcester and Lowell, with the Bulldogs bound for another grouping. The Leafs’ schedule is dominated with 12 games each against the other Canadian-based teams, a trend that will continue next season. But while St. John’s won’t likely meet Utah, Chicago, Houston, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee, the Leafs will play the Moose at least four times.

Just as there was back in 1991 when St. John’s joined the AHL, some concern was expressed about travelling to far-off cities like Winnipeg, Houston and Salt Lake City.
However, the league has established a travel equalization fund, cost-shared equally among all clubs to the tune of about $15,000 each.

That’s good news for the Leafs, who had been paying about $65,000 per season in travel subsidies.

“If we find ourselves going to Read more »

Pens ink another young defensman

by Richard A. Plisco
The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to sign young defensive talent. They recently came to terms with 1998 draft pick Robert Scuderi. Scuderi, a New York native, is 22 and stands at 6’2″ 195lbs.

Scuderi recently completed his college career with the Boston College Eagles. He assisted that team on the way to an NCAA championship. Last season he put up 4 goals, 19 assists, and 42 PIM in 43 games. In 169 career games, Scuderi has accumulated 7 goals, 63 assists, and 96 PIM.

The fifth round pick has demonstrated his durability, missing only one game in his four college seasons.

The Thrashers draft preview

by pbadmin

by Dan Perrault

The Thrashers have a very young and bright future. In the past two drafts,
Atlanta was selecting very high in the first round. In 1999, they
obtained Patrik Stefan, who jumped into the NHL pretty quickly, and
last year, in the 2000 entry draft, Atlanta picked second and selected Dany
Heatley. This year, the Thrashers have the top pick in the draft. What
will they do? Trade it for some immediate help to the team? Or keep it
and select someone who could be helpful in the future. Let’s take a look
at some of the rumors that are going around on what the Thrashers will
do in the next week or so.

Scenario 1:
The Thrashers trade their first overall draft pick to the
2001 entry draft for a young goalie, which they need badly. The Montreal Canadiens are very interested in trading
young goalie Jose Theodore for the first pick. The Canadiens have veteran
goalie Jeff Hackett and promising goalie, Mathieu Garon. This could be
the best possible scenario for the Thrashers who have a lot of young
talent, but need a goalie.

Scenario 2:
Mike Peca. Big trade talks in the last few days between
Buffalo and Atlanta. Peca who hasn’t been getting along with the
Buffalo organization, after many disputes over contract negotiations,
could possibly make his way to the Thrashers, who are weak at center.
Peca is a great defensive forward who plays with a lot of intensity in
his game.

Scenario 3:
The Thrashers keep the draft pick.

These three players are probably players the Thrashers are really looking

1 Read more »

Hockey’s Future Interview with Lance Ward

by Mark Fischel
Hockey’s Future recently had the opportunity to speak with Lance Ward, who played 30 games as a rookie defenseman for the Florida Panthers last season. Ward was given his opportunity to play against Carolina last year, and he quickly found himself playing on the top defensive unit with veteran Robert Svehla. But just as it appeared that unit was going to be together the rest of the year, Lance came down with an unfortunate back injury which ended his season.
Ready to put all that behind him, Hockey’s Future caught up with Lance Ward while he was attending a Panthers strength camp in preparation for a training camp in Thunder Bay next month. Lance was able to reflect on his past season, the perils of re-entering the draft, his upcoming season, and the Panthers entertaining radio announcer, Randy Moller.

HF: At what point in your life did you realize that you would be able to have aspirations to play hockey on the professional level?

LW: As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved playing hockey and that’s why I still play. It’s turned into a job now, but it’s something that I love and I would be doing it even if I weren’t a professional.

HF: Was there any player that you emulated growing up?

LW: No, not really. I grew up watching the Edmonton Oilers and watched guys like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier and they were the kind of guys that I was a fan of when I was young.

HF: To this point, what has been your most cherished memory as a Hock Read more »

Maple Leafs Sign Christian Chartier

by Randy Nicholson
Doubtless many Leafs fans were mildly disappointed when the team failed to execute a contract with North Bay’s Peter Reynolds prior to the June 1st deadline. Although the 1999 second rounder had largely underachieved throughout his OHL career, Reynolds had displayed solid physical and leadership skills at the Leafs’ Rookie Camp in Kitchener last fall. Many scouts still believe that Peter’s abilities are best suited to the professional game and that he will yet carve out a significant niche for himself in the years ahead.

Sometimes disappointment can be extremely short lived. On June 5th, the Maple Leafs used the funds that had previously been ear marked for the Reynolds contract in order to ink WHL Defender-Of-The-Year Christian Chartier from the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. The former 1999 Edmonton draftee failed to sign with the Oilers prior to the deadline and was an unrestricted free agent due to the fact that he was born in 1980 (December 29th). During the 2000/2001 season, the 6-1 ft. 215 lb. defender had truly blossomed, scoring 12 goals and 68 points in 63 games while also racking up 99 PIM. CSS reports indicate that Chartier is a smooth powerful skater, an excellent passer and a highly efficient finesse-based defender. The Maple Leafs now possess arguably the two best offensive blueliners from junior hockey last season – the other being Jon Zion of the Ottawa 67’s.

Afte.r this signing, complaints that the Maple Leafs had overpaid for Chartier were quickly overheard around the NHL. This criticism should be welcome news to all Read more »

Canucks draft situation

by Scott McFarlane

The Vancouver Canucks are selecting 16th in the 2001 NHL entry draft.

With this pick they don’t have much of a chance at getting a goalie that will help them in the long run. Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire are two goalies that are highly rated and have been highly scouted. They both have promising careers in the NHL. With the Canucks selecting 16th this year, the chances of either one of them getting drafted by Brian Burke and the Canucks very unlikely.

The only way that the Canucks would have a chance at getting either one of them was if a team like the New York Rangers made a deal. Since the Rangers are in need of a young goalie in their system, this is very unlikely. The Canucks need a team that does not need a goalie to make a deal with a team that needs a young goalie. Rumors are already swirling about the possibility of Jagr going to the Rangers, but there also is the possibility that Mike Peca or one of the Sabres many good young goalies to be dealt. Anything is possible. But the chances of the Canucks getting either Blackburn or Leclaire are very unlikely.

I also think that the possibility or the Canucks trading their pick if a goalie is not available a very likely situation. The Canucks obviously lack penalty killing strength, and a point man on the power play. With the pick they have this year it is possible that the Canucks could deal it for a power forward type right winger. Someone like a Brad Isbister.


Scott McFarlane

NHL Draft Preview- Slovak Prospects

by Daniel Kysel

Short preview of Slovak players mentioned in CSB ranking:

North America - players
#33  Tomas Malec        13/05/1982  6'1"   185  D   Rimouski      QMJHL
#36  Igor Pohanka       05/07/1983  6'3"   185  C   Prince Albert WHL
#73  Marek Svatos       17/07/1982  5'9"   170  RW  Kootenay      WHL
#103 Frantisek Skladany 22/04/1982  5'11"  180  LW  Boston Univ.  HE
#117 Milan Jurcina      07/06/1983  6'4"   190  D   Halifax       QMJHL

North America - goalies
#8   Peter Budaj        18/09/1982  6'0"   200  G   Toronto       OHL
#14  Jan Chovan         07/09/1983  5'11"  178  G   Belleville    OHL

Europe - players
#21  Tomas Slovak       05/04/1983  6'1"   191  D   Kosice        Extraliga
#48  Tomas Surovy       24/09/1981  6'0"   191  C/W Poprad        Extraliga
#60  Ivan Kolozvary     16/02/1983  6'0"   169  W   Trencin Jr.   Juniors
#73  Peter Polcik       23/07/1983  6'4"   187  LW  Nitra Jr.     Juniors
#83  Michal Kolarik     08/10/1982  6'3"   196  C   Trinec Jr.    Czech Jrs.
#87  Peter Macek        13/05/1983  6'1"   165  D   B.Bystrica    Division I
#96  Lukas Srnka        25/02/1982  6'3"   176  W   Trencin Jr.   Juniors
#108 Rene Jarolin       16/09/1981  6'3"   191  C   S.N.Ves       Division I
#109 Dominik Granak     11/06/1983  5'11"  163  D   Trencin Jr.   Juniors
#113 Martin Zajac       25/10/1981  6'2"   212  D   Trencin       Extraliga
#121 Tomas Frolo        26/01/1982  6'1"   194  D   Vsetin Jr.    Czech Jrs.
#122 Karol Sloboda      16/05/1983  6'0"   172  D   Trencin Jr.   Juniors

In spi Read more »

Stars Notebook

by Keith Riskey

Big Change in Utah

A week ago, the Stars completely vaporized the Grizzlies coaching staff. Head coach Bob Bourne and assistant coach Jason Taylor were both fired, while popular assistant coach Craig Ludwig was promoted to the Dallas Stars organization as an assitant. Now, ex-Calgary Flames coach Don Hay, who is a good friend of Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, is rumored to be one of

the leading candidates to take over the job. Ex-Islanders coach Butch Goring, another member of the Islanders dynasty team,

has also been mentioned as a possibility.

More shockingly, in the wake of these events is reporting that the Stars are in the midst of dramtically scaling back

their minor league operations. The Stars are expected to share their affliate Utah Grizzlies, who have just moved from the disbanded IHL to the AHL, with the Florida Panthers.
Apparently, the Stars will join forces with Florida in running the team and stocking it with

talent next year, and Dallas is now expected to scale back the number of under-contract minor leaguers — keeping only a handful

signed for next year. The money they will save is reportedly going to be used to help Dallas sign free agents this summer

and increase the salaries of their NHL’ers. This combined with the expected 10% budget increase (around $5 million) and the money

saved on players like Hull (over $7 million), Donato, Maclean, and Ledyard should free up serious budgetary room for Gainey.

Read more »

Canucks 2001 Draft Preview

by Kirk Pedersen

The Canucks have been a very poor drafting team in their history, but they are very much a team on the rise. Since Brian Burke took over, he has been able to instill in level of confidence in the Canucks system, and despite making a few questionable trades in the past, he has a good record as the Canucks’ General Manager.

Burke’s drafting record has been very solid in his three seasons in running the Canucks. He has drafted some very good players in the first round, such as Bryan Allen, and the Sedins, and some solid hopes for the future in the later rounds, such as Rene Vydareny, Brandon Reid, and Artem Chubarov.

The Canucks, despite being the team who has the most going for them, going into this draft, are still very much a work in progress. There are still some very pressing needs which need to be addressed through immediate action (Free-Agency) or through the future. (Draft)

One position which the Canucks need some immediate help in is in net. They continue to have break hearts with poor goaltending. The Canucks haven’t drafted a goaltender since Kevin Swanson in 1999, and he has panned out just fine, but more is needed.

The Canucks are pretty deep on the wings, and rather solid on D, with prospects such as Zenith Komarniski and others down in Manitoba, who are NHL-ready. There is a lot of depth at centre in the minors, with guys like Chubarov and Holden, but this is an area of possible need.

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