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Tomas Plekanec- 14th in the CSB European ranking

by Ivana Paulova
“And the award for the best rookie of the Czech Extraleague goes to 18 year old player of HC Vagnerplast Kladno Tomas Plekanec”

Tomas Plekanec is an amazingly talented player who seems to be rather underestimated and a bit in the background in the experts eyes even though he has already proved his qualities. He is definitely the dark horse of the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. But he has an outstanding potential.

He was born on 31st October 1982 so he is eligible for the 2001 draft. Most 82’s were drafted last year. So his age may be seen as a disadvantage. However this extra year has brought an infinite number of benefits for this player who usually wears number 14 on his jersey. Tomas is now more mature, more confident and has developed to be an extremely valuable player no matter his age.

In the under-20 Junior World Championship the Czech Republic once again surprised the whole world and gave no other team the chance to grab victory. The young Czech players brought gold medals from the Russian capital Moscow. The youngest of the Czech players was indeed this very guy of whom I speak: Tomas Plekanec. It was only 3 months after he had celebrated his 18th birthday. He played in the 3rd line there and performed quite well in the 6 games where he gained 2 points for 1 goal and 1 assist. This can be considered as his most valued success until present. That was the actual break- through in his career and mainly because Tomas had become more known to Czech fans and oversees experts. This season Tomas was the player of HC Vagnerplast Kladno the Read more »

Panthers and Vancouver swap draft picks for prospect

by Mark Fischel

SUNRISE, FL –Florida Panthers President and General Manager Bill Torrey announced today that the club has acquired two draft picks from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for G Alexander Auld who played for North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season.

The Panthers will receive the 2001 compensatory pick Vancouver was awarded for Mark Messier signing with the New York Rangers last year and also a third round selection in the 2002 Entry Draft. The position of the compensatory pick will be determined by the National Hockey League (NHL) prior to this year’s draft. It is likely to be a second round selection. Following the determination of the position of the compensatory pick, the Panthers have the option to keep that pick or exchange it for a second round 2002 Draft Pick.

Auld, the Panthers’ second choice (40th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, played in 40 games last season with North Bay registering a 22-11-5 record and a 2.54 goals against average.

The Panthers will host the 2001 NHL Entry Draft at the National Car Rental (Sunrise, FL) June 23-24.

Press Release courtesy of the Florida Panthers

Poor Drafts of the past

by Kirk Pedersen

The Canucks haven’t always been a very good team at the Draft table. They have opted a few times to go for the “safe” choice, rather than picking someone who seems to be more of a gamble, but turned out to be a better player. Hindsight is 20/20, but there have been a few blunders at the draft in the past ten or so years, which are particularly bad.

The Canucks had two first-round picks, the #2, and the #18. The consensus best player going in was Cornwall Royals forward Owen Nolan.

With their first selection, the Canucks chose Petr Nedved.

Players chosen after Nedved:
Keith Tkachuk
Martin Brodeur
Jaromir Jagr
Darryl Sydor
Keith Primeau
Derian Hatcher
Mike Ricci

Analysis: Going into the draft, the Seattle Thunderbirds forward seemed to have everything going for him, and he was taken, which in hindsight, seems erronious, when you see the calibre of players taken after him. He shattered junior scoring records with Seattle, and the big Czech forward was going to be a star in the NHL.

What went wrong: Nedved seemed like a huge gamble, being that he only played one season of major junior hockey. Nedved had two miserable seasons with the Canucks in ’90-91 and ’91-92 before finally breaking out in ’92-93, wrapping up seventy-one points. All was looking up, until a holdout sparked the end of his days in Vancouver. He could have been one of the best Canucks ever, but his attitude prevented that from happening. He only lasted 19 games in St. Louis, before becoming a Pittsburgh Penguin, where he Read more »

WBS Only Two Wins Short Of The Dream Season

by Richard A. Plisco
The AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (affectionately referred to as
the Baby Pens) fell two victories shy of the league championship and the
Calder Cup trophy this Spring. However, along the way several Pittsburgh
Penguin prospects demonstrated enormous potential and will no doubt
challenge NHL veterans for starting jobs at training camp for the
2001-02 season.

Citing individual season stats in both the AHL and NHL (wherever
appropriate), I will list the Penguins current crop of candidates and on
what roster they can be expected to appear next season.

NOTE – Playoff
stats are the second line


These are the players that most likely will crack the Pen’s NHL ranks
and have either demonstrated success in the pros or have attributes that
fill the parent team’s current weaknesses.

C Milan Kraft 6'3" 200lbs. Showed brilliant scoring touch in AHL.
AHL 40gp 21g 23a 44p	NHL 42gp 7g 7a 14p
AHL 14gp 12g   7a 19p	NHL   8gp 0g 0a   0p

C Toby Peterson 5'10" 193lbs. Very effective when called up to the big
AHL 73gp 26g 41a 67p	NHL 12gp 2g 6a 8p
AHL 21gp   7g   6a 13p	NHL   0gp

L Greg Crozier 6'0" 185lbs. Has power forward potential.
AHL 77gp 24g 36a 60p	NHL 1gp 0g 0a 0p
AHL 21gp   6g   5a 11p	NHL 0gp

R Billy Tibbetts 6'2" 215lbs. Gritty and not bad around the net.
AHL 38gp 14g 24a 38p 185pim	NHL 29gp 1g 2a 3p 131pim
AHL 12gp   4g   6a 10p   55pim	NHL  0gp

G Rich Parent 6'3" 215lbs. Was huge factor in AHL championship.
AHL 35gp 17w 12l  Read more »

2000-2001 USHL Top Prospects – Defenders of the Blueline

by Jason Shaner

Here is a look at the 10 top prospects in the USHL from the defensive aspect. These are the crème of the crop, some of the best defenders, passers and hitters that there are in this league. Height, weight and age to each players profile go along with their season stats. Each player’s college destination is in parenthesis. They are in no particular order.

1. Keith Ballard –
Omaha Lancers (U. of Minnesota)
Ballard is a defensive player who has it all. His size is not intimidating at 5’11” and 200 lbs, but it is definitely misleading. He accumulated 168 PIM for the Lancers this season while assisting on the offensive end with 22 goals and 29 assists. Ballard has the soft touch pass and can double as a forward if need be. In other words, he is one of the best two-way hockey players in his age group. Ballard played his first season with the US National Under 18 squad before exceeding their age limit and then joining Omaha this year. He may be the top overall defenseman in the league as he can hit, take a hit, pass, score and of course defend better than no other.

2. Jesse Baraniuk –
Green Bay Gamblers (Northern Michigan U.) Read more »

Will Saint John’s success carry over?

by Anthony Patrick

On the evening that the Saint John Flames clinch the Calder Cup, with a 1-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barrie Scranton Penguins, it only makes sense to look toward the future of the Calgary Flames and where they are headed. Will the club see an influx of talent from the farm next season, and will the success in the AHL translate into success in the NHL? Will the team find that their prospects are ready to make some of the veterans expendable to the point of allowing a deal to improve the top lines? What does the future hold?

With the St. John Flames winning the AHL Championship banner it might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking minor league success translates into major league success. It was pointed out by numerous people during these play-offs, that St. John did not possess the best talent of any team in the run for the Calder Cup. They didn’t have any superstars in the making, or any grizzled veterans to carry the team to victory. What they did have was a solid team approach to playing the game, an amazing chemistry in the dressing room, and an endless supply of heart that willed the team on through out the play-offs. All of this from a team that had an average age of 22. The amazing thing was that the team was lead in the playoffs by four young players, Sergei Varlamov (22), Daniel Tkaczuk (21), Steve Begin (21) and Derrick Walser (23). The only veteran to crack the top five scorers was Marty Murray (26). These young players came to play and proved their meddle through out the play-offs. That must bode well for the Flames in the long run, right?

Lightning to share affiliate with Phoenix

by Megan Sexton

After two seasons with the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers, the Tampa Bay Lightning has entered into an affiliation with the Springfield Falcon’s of the American Hockey League.

Tampa Bay will share the affiliation with Phoenix Coyotes. Each team will be allowed to send ten players to Springfield.

Phoenix General Manager Cliff Fletcher served as Senior Advisor to Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley last season. The two have maintained a good relationship, which played a part in the affiliation.

“Having Wayne Gretzky and Cliff Fletcher in Phoenix and [President & General Manager] Bruce Landon in Springfield makes us very comfortable with this shared affiliation agreement,” Dudley said in a Press Release issued by the Lightning. “For an arrangement like this to work successfully for everyone involved, it is essential to maintain strong relationships with both your NHL and your AHL partner. It is clear that the relationship we maintain with those in management in Phoenix and Springfield will make this arrangement work successfully for everyone involved.”

Many of Tampa’s prospects suffered on a hapless Detroit Viper team over the past two seasons. The Vipers only posted 45 wins during the time affiliated with Tampa Bay. With the shared affiliation, Tampa prospects will be able to play at a higher level while in the minor leagues. Player’s who should be playing at the ECHL level, will be able to do so, rather than being used to fill an affiliate roster, as we saw frequently in Detroit.

The agreement with Springfield wi Read more »

Rebellious Cup Champs

by Jeff Bromley

Rebellious Cup Champs
As the Red Deer Rebels were crowned
Memorial Cup champions this past week
in Regina in a thrilling overtime victory
over the Val D’or Foreurs, I was
overcome with mixed emotions. On one
hand, the WHL had won the Memorial
Cup for the first time in three years. On
the other, it was the dreaded Rebels who
were carrying the hardware, and
deservedly so after being ranked the
number one club in the country for the
last eleven weeks of the season, but I
still found it difficult to garner any
feelings of elation for the Rebels. After
the heat I took for not towing the line
and pulling for the league representative
my stance has not wavered. Call me a
poor sport or whatever, but I still
couldn’t bring myself to do it. That
being said, congratulations are in order
for the Red Deer franchise. They are the
best club in the CHL and had the
deepest, most well-rounded roster of
any of the Memorial Cup teams. They
relied on talent, hard work reminiscent
of the Coach, G.M. and owner, Brent
Sutter and the rarely wavered from the
system Sutter instituted from the very
beginning. If there was ever a model to
building a Memorial Cup winner, the
Rebels are the latest example.

I did however have lots to cheer about
the actual tournament itself. From the
casual fans’ point of view who watching
on television and perhaps not as familiar
as the dedicated fan with the junior
game and what it has to offer, the week-
long tournament did the junior game
proud in promoting itself to the masses.
The week long televi Read more »

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