* The two best prospects in the Flyers system continue to be goaltenders
Maxime Oullet and Antero Niittymäki. The strong play of both youngsters
pretty much cancels out any loss of organizational goaltending depth
suffered when Jean-Marc Pelletier was traded to Carolina in the Keith
Oullet, coming off a spectacular World Junior Championships, continues to
be the best goaltender in the Quebec League. Oullet is now being widely
hyped around the hockey world as a potential franchise goalie. Arguably,
he’s the best goalie in junior hockey today, although the Finley contigent
might dispute that. The buzz around Oullet coming off the WJC is not quite
equal to the hype that surrounded Roberto Luongo but it’s arguably on par
with the excitement created by Marc Denis and Martin Biron as they
progressed at the junior ranks.
Niittymäki, selected the best goaltender in the Finnish Elite League during
the first half of the season, faltered a tad at the World Juniors
(particularly in Finland’s game against Russia) and ended up splitting time
in goal with Devils draftee Ari Ahonen. It’s also true that Niittymäki’s
teammates did not play all that well in front of him in some of their key
Niittymäki has bounced back strong upon the resumption of league play.The
rookie continues to rank #1 or #2 in most goaltending categories in the Read more »
Although just one game, the 2000 Prospect’s Game at the Air Canada Center
served as a microcosm for the scouting fraternity’s lukewarm response to this
year’s crop of CHL draft-eligibles. Complete packages are few and far between,
as players strong in one or more elements of the game leave you wanting for
more in other areas.
Trying to watch a game where everyone on the ice is a prospect can indeed be
a challenge. Sitting high behind the net in the first row of the upper deck, the
game has to be broken down into it’s most basic components. For starters,
who among the forwards can take the puck to the net on a consistent basis?
An ability to do so implies some combination of skating ability, acceleration,
stick-handling, and strength to fight off checks.
Mississauga’s LOU DICKENSON was the only player who was a consistent
threat throughout the game, utilizing his speed and acceleration to penetrate
the opposition net on several occasions. Unfortunately for Lou he came up
empty on each foray. Off this game, it would come as no surprise to anyone
that Lou showed well in the Prospect’s Skills Competition where he placed
in the top three for puck-control, the 60-foot dash, and the full lap.
Several more prospects gave a good account of themselves when the home-run
threat was dropped from the equation and other attributes were looked at.
Read more »
The importance of a strong draft can never be under-stated. The Boston Bruins have had difficulties winning in 1999-2000 and when you look at the disastrous showing of Sinden and Company in 1996, you can begin to understand why. Despite a top-10 pick and eight additional selections, the Bruins have gotten exactly zero NHL games out of the players they chose that summer. Let’s take a trip back to that fateful June of 1996 and find out what went so terribly wrong…
That year, the Bruins owned the 8th pick, compliments of the then- Hartford Whalers who had dealt their top choices from ’95-’97 to the Bruins in exchange for defenseman Glen Wesley. Boston had tabbed Kyle McLaren the year before with the Whalers’ 9th overall selection and so there was reason for Bruins fans to be excited in 1996, despite the forecast from scouts of a weak talent pool from which to choose from. The Bruins had traded their own 1st-round choice(21st) in the deal for Bill Ranford, but seemed poised to get an impact player nonetheless because of Sinden’s shrewd deal back in 1994.
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Hello and welcome to my latest Capitals Prospect Update. I will give you all the latest news and up-to-date statistics on all of the players on the top 50 list.
At the AHL All-Star game, the Capitals had three players involved. Forward Mike Peluso was a last minute substitution, while goaltender Martin Brochu and forward Alexandre Volchkov also participated. During the skills competition, Volchkov won the accuracy contest, hitting all four targets in only seven shots. Brochu was outstanding during the whole weekend, stopping all ten shots in the ambush competition, and winning the MVP for the game itself. Forward Miika Elomo, who had been previously invited, was unable to play because of injury.
The major junior leagues also held their All-Star games recently. Forward Krys Barch (London) was selected to the OHL game, and collected one assist. Forwards Kris Beech (Calgary), Blake Evans (Tri-City) and Michal Sivek (Prince Albert) were invited to participate for the WHL. During the game, Beech scored two goals and one assist, while Sivek picked up an assist. In the skills competition, Sivek finished second in the fastest skater event – completing the lap in 14.72 seconds.
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Dave Taylor is a legend to Kings fans. Everything he has done in his professional career has been done with a drive and work ethic that have made him a successful forward in the NHL for 17 seasons and now the General Manager of his beloved Kings. How has he done? It’s hard to day. You would have to compare him to his predecessor, Sam “the Disaster” McMaster.
The Disaster was forced out in 1997. Kings fans everywhere, including yours truly, called for his head and wanted our fair-haired boy DT to take over after his three year apprenticeship under the Disaster. DT was the most appealing choice to succeed the Disaster because of his lifelong dedication to the Kings. Kings fans were elated- not only to have DT as the GM, but to have the Disaster out of the organization. Well Kings fans, I have some bad news. We would not be enjoying the limited success we have if Sam was not the previous GM.
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For Andrew Raycroft, this is a season to remember. Raycroft for the first time in his 3 year OHL career was the starting goaltender in the OHL all star game. In a game of the best of the best, Andrew lived up to his current outstanding level of play stealing every scoring chance but one in the first period. All season long for the Kingston Frontenacs, Raycroft is showing he was a sleeper draft pick in the 1998 entry draft. Selected by the Boston Bruins 135th overall, Raycroft currently has a won-lost-tied record of 26-12-5 and a 2.93 goals against average. In 45 appearances this season the native of Belleville, Ontario has faced a total of 1786 shots, putting him in the lead as the OHL’s busiest goaltender. Raycroft has only allowed 125 goals this season and has an OHL and CHL leading save percentage of .930. Raycroft was selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. In 13 appearances in November Raycroft posted a 2.77 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. On December 9 Raycroft made 47 saves in a 4-1 win in Peterborough and on December 10 he turned aside 43 shots in a 4-1 win over the visiting Oshawa Generals. A highlight of Raycroft’s week was a 59 save performance in a 4-3 win in Oshawa on December 12. Raycroft’s play had helped the Frontenacs extend their undefeated streak to 11 games, and he received honors as the OHL player of the week for December 12.
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Name: Michal Rozsival
Birthdate: Sept. 3, 1978
Birthplace: Vlasim, Czech Rep.
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, fourth round (105th overall)
HF Comments: Michal started off the 99-00 season on a positive note, impressing Penguins management enough to earn himself a spot on the full-time roster. Since then he has continued to climb the latter of success. His valiant efforts have not gone unnoticed and have moved him up to the number one spot on the prospect list. As a rookie, Michal still has much to learn, but he does appear to be doing so quickly. Mid-way through the season, and one coach later, he’s not only earned the respect of his teammates, but more importantly, he has also earned the respect of his coach. Herb Brooks has admitted to being very impressed by Michal’s work ethics. He says even though Rozsival is a young defenseman, he feels as though he can trust him on a nightly basis.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Pittsburgh NHL 45 3 11 14 22
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 49 3 22 25 72
1997-98 Swift Current WHL 71 14 55 69 122
Name: Andrew Ference
Ht: 5’10″ Wt: 190
Born: March 17, 1979
Acquired: 1997 NHL Draft, eighth round selection (208th overall)
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With a mere 32 games left in the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-25-4) find themselves struggling to hang on to a playoff spot. The bright side rests with the Penguins of tomorrow.
The “Jr. Pens” left winger Robert Dome has found his scoring touch again. He had 4 goals in three games, then 2 assists in a 5-3 loss against Hartford. Another bright spot on the “Jr. Pens” roster is Alexei Kolkunov, who has four goals in his last five games after a 14-game drought. Then there is rookie defenseman Andrew Ference who has 2 goals and 6 assists in a span of 9 games.
The brightest spot in the organization however, is not a “Jr. Pen,” he is a “Raider.” Besides putting on a brilliant show on the world stage in Sweden, Milan Kraft has 44 points (18-26) in 34 games with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL).
Perhaps the best thing the Penguins can do right now is hold on to the hope of the future. If they cannot find heroes, and cannot find defenseman who truly can play a European style game, making necessary passes to those in motion, then stick to tomorrow. Try to imagine the havoc Kraft and Jagr will create playing side by side. It may take another year for this to happen, but it is a realistic goal and one to keep the Penguins optimistic.
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Kings’ Norris Winning Defenseman Rob Blake has emerged as one of the top players in the NHL ever since he came to the club. Blake as able to step in and contribute right away because he had played and excelled on the collegiate level and his experience paid immediate dividends. The Kings have a few players in the college ranks right now that may give the Kings a boost down the line. Here is a quick rundown:
The most intriguing college prospect is Noah Clarke. The Kings made the diminutive Clarke their ninth round draft pick in 1999. Noah currently plays for Colorado College of the WCHA. Clarke is the highest scoring college prospect for the Kings with 20 points in 23 games (9 goals and 11 assists). Despite being a freshman, Clarke is third on his team in scoring. The reason I am personally pulling for Clarke is that he is a California native, hailing from LaVerne and attending Claremont High School. Clarke is small in stature- he is 5’9: and 175 pounds but has shown some promise. If Jason Blake can play on the NHL level then there is hope for Clarke.
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After an impressive first half in Worcester, Marty Reasoner will get a chance to stick with the Blues. With the injury to Jochen Hecht (out 2-4 weeks with an ankle sprain) and the loss of Terry Yake to Washington on waivers, the Blues needed to add some skill to the lineup. Reasoner, fresh off his 1g., 1a. performance in the AHL all-star game, must make a consistent impact to prove he belongs. There have been rumors that Reasoner could be part of a deal that would bring immediate help to the blue note. However, this is not a showcase for other teams.
Marty has put up respectable numbers for Worcester this year. He leads the team with 20g. and 27a., good for 47 points in 38 games. The only problem Joel Quenneville will have is where to play him. The Blues are deep at center with Pierre Turgeon, Michal Handzus, Craig Conroy, and Mike Eastwood. Conroy could move to wing, as could Eastwood. Although Conroy is more effective at center than wing, a Reasoner- Conroy-Pellerin line may produce more offense from the third line. If Eastwood were to move to wing on the third line with Conroy and Pellerin, then Reasoner could center Nash and Mayers forming a fourth line with speed and skill. In any case Marty will definitely get playing time, probably playing on the second powerplay unit as well.
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