It may be a vacation for many including players, families and many others but not quite a vacation for the likes of Larry Pleau. Pleau has been very active throughout the summer and the following is a recap of his moves thus far.
The first bit of news was the announcement to some veterans that they would not be a part of the blues future. These players included: Center Bob Bassen, Right Wing Stephane Richer, and Defensemen Dave Ellet and Rudy Poeschek. It was also made clear that minor leaguers Jim Campbell and Derek King would not be offered contracts and would become unrestricted free agents.
Next was the signing or releasing of the 98 draft picks. For junior draft picks, you retain their rights for two years after the draft, for European draft picks, you retain their rights for four years after the draft and for college players remain your rights until their college eligibility is up. In keeping with the rules, no decision had to be made at this time on defensemen Christian Backman, Andrei Trochinsky, Yvegeny Pastukh and John Pohl. For the remaining players in the system the blues elected to sign only defensemen Matt Walker of the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. For others, Maxim Linnik, Brad Voth and Brad Twordik were all released. Along with the 98 draftees, 21 year old James Desmerais was not given a contract and became a free agent, he was selected in the final round of the 99 draft.
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Nick Beverly off to the Windy City: Leafs Director of Player Development, Nick Beverly, left the team this week in pursuit of new challenges with the Blackhawks (Late note: Director of Pro Scouting, Joe Yannetti has also left to join the Hawks)… Nick is said to enjoy a very close working relationship with Chicago’s de facto General Manager, Mike Smith… Beverly, a respected executive, will be missed… perhaps more importantly, the Maple Leafs lately can’t seem to keep a management team intact for more than a year or so… expect Toronto to move slowly in securing a replacement as Pat Quinn and Bill Watters remain on hand to conduct all necessary business… 30-year-old Mark Hillier may be in line for expanded responsibilities… former Flames execs Al Coates and Nick Polano are also said to be interested in coming to Toronto… these options are all very viable ones as Hillier is widely regarded as a rising star in the Leafs’ front office and Calgary, under the guidance of Coates and Polano, has quietly built one of the league’s very best player development programs…
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With the departure of Sean O’Donnell and Steve McKenna in the expansion draft, the Kings had a glaring need for some muscle. Enter 35-year-old Stu Grimson, who signed a one-year contract last week to patrol the ice for the Kings in 2000. While this is a great PR move and gives the Kings a season with one of the toughest forwards to ever lace them up, how much of a difference can Stu make? After all, enforcers have moved a lot this offseason and a low draft pick could have given the Kings players like Oliwa, Cote or any number of young thugs. Why Grimson? The reason is twofold- Kip Brennan and potentially Brian McGratten.
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When HF originally contacted the Long Beach Ice Dogs for this interview, John Van Boxmeer was the coach/GM of that IHL franchise. What a difference a week made. By the time we were able to confirm the interview with him personally, the Ice Dogs has jumped to the WCHL and Van Boxmeer had been promoted to Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the team. In a chat that might be better called ‘Behind the Desk’ rather than ‘Behind the Bench’ the former bench boss talked with HF about the moving and shaking going on in Southern California.
Hockey’s Future: It been a very tumultuous past couple of weeks for both you and the Long Beach Ice Dogs. Let’s start with the team’s transition first. What was the reasoning behind the team switching from the IHL to the WCHL?
John Van Boxmeer: There were two reasons really one being the fact that we were isolated out here on the West Coast. Our nearest competition was 2 and a ½ hours away and our travels costs were very high. Secondly the operating budget (Players’ salaries, social benefits etc) in the WCHL were half of what they were in the IHL.
HF: How could you compare the two leagues in terms of competitiveness, philosophy, and organization?
JVB: WCHL is a step below the IHL, the former being a feeder league to the latter. As for philosophy, while we aren’t there yet, the goal in the WCHL is to be the AHL of the west coast. The organization of the WCHL is of the same quality as the IHL right now.
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All Maple Leaf fans are anxious to know who is down in St. John’s, training and honing their skills in order to become Toronto’s next star player. Well unfortunately, there weren’t many bright spots on last year’s St. John’s Maple Leafs squad. The team’s GM, Bill Watters, will have a busy summer trying to rebuild this team with young drafted players as well as with some seasoned minor league veterans.
The Baby Leafs finished dead last in the AHL this past season. The Leafs finished with only 58 points (23-49-8-4), scored a league low 202 goals for and surrendered the 4th highest number of goals in the league with 277. The Leafs also boasted the league’s worst power play (13.4%) and had the 4th worst penalty killing unit (79.5%). The two lone bright spots on the team were rookie Adam Mair and veteran goaltender Jimmy Waite. Mair was 9th in the league in rookie scoring 66-22-27-49-124, while Waite was 15th in the league in goaltending with a 3.05 GAA and a tie for the league lead in shutouts with 6. Waite led the league with 37 losses, minutes played with 3460, and saves 1815. Waite, however, did accumulate 20 wins on the season.
Needless to say the Leafs will have a new look this season – primarily with a major influx of European and graduating junior talent. The Leafs will be a younger team and may struggle in the early going. Major rebuilding is required at nearly every position on the club.
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On July 13th 1990, Capitals GM David Poile decided not to match the St. Louis Blues’ Free Agent contract offer to defenseman Scott Stevens. As compensation for their loss, the Capitals received first-round picks in 1991 through 1995. The players selected by the Capitals were: Trevor Halverson, Sergei Gonchar, Brendan Witt, Nolan Baumgartner and Miika Elomo. Now, 10 years later (and with the benefit of hindsight), it is up to us to decide if Poile made the right move.
About a month ago, I wrote an article detailing the situation and the decision that David Poile made. I asked the readers of Hockey’s Future to write in and let their opinions be known on the subject. Well, the votes are in – and an overwhelming 75% of you said that you would not trade Stevens for the five players listed above.
A lot of Capitals fans think that this “trade” is a black mark on the organization. It seems that most of the public feels the same way. Here are some of the comments against letting Stevens go:
“I would not make the deal unless I was an expansion team looking for a bunch of young blue-liners.”
“When trading a player of Stevens’ calibre, you have to get more than what essentially is two NHL starters, Witt (solid, but unspectacular) and Gonchar (second tier defensive star).”
“Poile did well to get Baumer, Gonch and Witt, but with Stevens here, he wouldn’t have needed to make at least two of those picks (Witt and Baumer).”
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Here are some of the new or enhanced features we have aded to Hockey’s Future.
1. We now have message boards for each and every team with league and country messageboards coming soon.
2. All new nav-bar at the top of every page makes it easier to navigate around Hockey’s Future.
3. Profiles for every player with players having a yellow star having a more in-depth profile.
Also, since this is a time of transition for Hockey’s Future there are bound to be some growing pains such as dead links or profiles with out stats, etc… Bear with us as we are adding new stats, profiles, and articles to the database daily. Thank you for the understanding and if you have bookmarked OLD links such as http://www.hockeysfuture.com/TeamName you need to change those to the new ones with index.cfm? etc….. Any questions on the database can be emailed to me at: email@example.com..Also to get to individual team messageboards, simply click on your favorite team, and you will see the link to the messageboard on the top right. Hope you enjoy the new features and if you have any other suggestions, let me know!! Have a GREAT day!!
There is a prospect camp being held in the southern suburbs of the capital this week. Mike Fisher will be there continuing his path to recovery, but most interesting will be the appearance of Martin Havlat and Mathieu Chouinard. Last week both players signed contracts with the Senators. Havlat was a first round pick in ’99, while Chouinard was a Senators first round pick in ’98 and a second round pick in ’00.
The President and The Convict
As you most likely know arbitrator Lawrence Holden ruled in favour of the NHL and the Ottawa Senators over Alexi Yashin. Citing a verbal agreement between the former president of the NHL John Ziegler and the disgraced founder of the NHLPA Alan Eagleson, the ruling surprised many. There are murmurs the NHL had been very unhappy with the recent string arbitrator decisions. It should be noted Holden is the same man who ruled Mike Van Ryn a free agent.
Bryden Wants Yashin Back
Rod Bryden owner of the team has invited holdout center Alexi Yashin to return the Senators. Saying the disagreement was never anything but professional, Bryden wont okay the player and still expects Yashin to fulfill his contractual obligations. The educated guess is that Bryden is merely enjoying the moment. When you make it known you are trying to move an asset, it is important not to devaluate it. Public opinion in the city seems to be strongly behind a trade as opposed to a rapprochement.
Senators 2000-2001 Budget
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The 2000 NHL entry draft saw the Boston Bruins select a Swedish-born player with their top pick for the first time in franchise history. They didn’t stop there. Using a second first-rounder acquired from the Colorado Avalanche, they drafted another Swedish player. The selections of Lars Jonsson and Martin Samuelsson were merely the tip of the iceberg, as the Bruins took a total of nine Europeans of twelve skaters drafted. Of those nine, five hailed from the countries of Finland and Sweden. Boston’s strategy marks a new direction for the team, as it clearly demonstrates an attempt to stock the organization with skill players rather than the traditional method of going after North American character types with less finesse.
For Boston, the Euro invasion didn’t really begin in earnest until the 1992 draft, when Boston chose a multitude of Russian players, beginning with its first-ever draft pick from the former Soviet Union, Dmitri Kvartalnov. Since that year, the Bruins have chosen a total of 34 Europeans. By contrast, between 1983 and 1991, covering the same amount of draft years, the total count of European players selected by Boston numbers just seven. The full integration of skaters across the Atlantic into the NHL has dictated a necessity for teams to capitalize on that premier talent, or be swept aside in the standings. The Bruins seem to have taken an active interest in recruiting players from Europe, but in particular those competing in the Swedish and Finnish Elite and Junior Leagues.
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Here is Part 2 of the Sharks draft review. If you missed Part 1, read it here: http://hockeysfuture.com/sharks91-95draftreview1.html
Again, this is an in-depth look back at every player the San Jose Sharks drafted during 1991-1995. This article will look back at the 94 and 95 drafts. At the end, there is a small recap of recent San Jose Sharks news. Enjoy!
The 1994 draft is probably the strongest the Sharks had from 91-95. It will probably go down as one of the better drafts of all-time for the Sharks (so far up there with 1997 and 1998). The Sharks were able to get a stud with the 11th pick (Jeff Friesen who could turn out to be the best player of the 94 class). The impressive part of this draft was the talent the Sharks got in the later rounds. Varada has turned into a key player in Buffalo, Korolyuk is awesome young forward who figures into the Sharks future, Nabokov is a solid goalie prospect, and Landry has NHL potential.
1994 Entry Draft
11th Jeff Friesen
37th Angel Nikolov
66th Alexei Yegorov
89th Vaclav Varada
115th Brian Swanson
141st Alexander Korolyuk
167th Sergei Gorbachev
193rd Eric Landry
219th Evegni Nabokov
240th Tomas Pisa
245th Aniket Dhadphale
271st David Beauregard
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