Next year will be an interesting one for the Sharks’ primary affiliate, the Kentucky Thoroughblades. Much of the core of Kentucky will be, or is already gone from last year’s team, which was just one game shy of playing in the Calder Cup Finals.
Names that are already gone include Andrei Zyuzin, Shawn Burr, and co-leading scorer Steve Guolla-all traded in the deal that brought Nik Sundstrom to San Jose. The team’s other leading scorer, Herbert Vasiljevs (Florida prospect) was also traded, to Atlanta, for Trevor Kidd. With their two main offensive threats gone, they then found themselves without one of their starting goalies, as Sean Gauthier will not return, as he is an Unrestricted Free Agent, and is looking for playing time somewhere else. To cap it off, Dan Boyle will likely find himself playing in Florida next year. He was one of the main guys on defense last year. Other names who may not be back include: Jarrett Deuling (possible), Mike Craig (possible), Steve Lingren (gone), Peter Allen (gone).
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Part 7: Euro Draft Statistical Breakdown
Times have certainly changed in the NHL over the last quarter century. It is now truly a global league. Locker rooms commonly feature players from seven different countries and there are a smattering of players from several other lands. European talent scouting has become more crucial than ever as the league has continued to expand and more and more European-born players have come to be selected in the early phases of the NHL draft. Today, many European fans follow the NHL with equal or greater passion than they do the leagues in their own country. NHL hockey has become a global entity. So have the Philadelphia Flyers, sometimes blazing trails at the forefront, sometimes being dragged kicking and screaming.
Appendix: European Flyers by the numbers
Through 1998-99, there have been 28 European-born players who have worn a Flyers uniform, not including players who dressed only in pre-season games, such as Toni Porkka and Vladislav Boulin. Here is a county-by country breakdown:
Czech Repubic [or Czech portion of former Czechoslovakia] (8)
Russia (7) Read more »
When the Boston Bruins open training camp in early September, one name not to forget as a possible replacement to Tim Taylor is Marquis Mathieu. Mathieu a 5-foot-11, 190 pound center, spent most of last season playing on the “D Line” for the Calder Cup Champion Providence Bruins recording 15 goals, 30 points in 64 games with 166 pim. In the past 5 years, Mathieu has had stints in Wheeling, Fredericton, Raliegh, Toledo, Worcester, Johnstown, Birmingham, and Houston. Recently, Marquis held down a job at the parts counter of a Suzuki dealership in Quebec city.
Two years ago, Mathieu was recovering from abdominal surgery and worked for a Suzuki dealership. “I found out what it was like to wake up every day and have to go to work for a living. I thought there had to be a better life for me than working 9 to 5″. Realizing he wanted to give hockey another chance, Mathieu joined the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL and impressed bench boss Peter Laviolette. When Laviolette took the head coaching job in Providence last season, he convinced Bruins management to sign Mathieu to an AHL contract. By October, the Bruins liked Mathieu so much they promoted him to Boston ahead of top prospects Cameron Mann and Randy Robitaille. Mathieu signed a 1 year NHL contract with the Bruins on the airplane to his first game in Montreal for $325,000 (U.S.).
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Part VI: The Return of Bob Clarke
On June 15, 1994, Bob Clarke left his post as GM of the Florida Panthers to return to Philadelphia and once again become the Flyers General Manager. After his firing by Jay Snider in the summer of 1990, Clarke had become GM of the Minnesota North Stars. Despite having some success in Minnesota, including a surprise trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, Clarke longed to return to Philadelphia. The Flyers also wanted him back in the fold, although not in a major decision making capacity. They hired him as their “Senior Vice President,” which turned out to be a largely ceremonial title, much to Clarke’s dismay. Farwell rarely came to Clarke for any important decisions. Even Clarke’s staunchest critics would admit that he is a man who is no more comfortable taking money for nothing than he is accepting what he deems lazy effort from a player. That was Clarke’s main rationale for leaving Philadelphia to take the Florida job. Read more »
The Tampa Bay Lightning, and even myself personally, are still taking some criticism from people over the trades made on draft day. I am still of the opinion that this criticism is way off the mark. With the dust still settling from the moves made in Boston last month, they again juggled their personel. They sent Niklas Sundstrom, acquired in the draft day trades, and a 3rd round pick also acquired in the same deal, to the San Jose Sharks for four players.
The players coming to the Lightning in the deal are Billy Houlder, Shawn Burr, Andrei Zyuzin, and Steven Guolla. Houlder and Burr, both formerly with Tampa Bay, will add some needed character, experience, and depth. Guolla and Zyuzin add two more talented young players to the rebuilding Lightning.
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Part V: European Drafting in the Farwell Years
New Flyers General Manager Russ Farwell inherited a mess from Clarke in 1990. The team had a paper-thin farm system and, on the big club, little front forward talent remained, the blueline was shallow and, with Ron Hextall battling ongoing groin injuries, the goaltending was at most adequate. Farwell immediately set about a rebuilding program that he intended to be primarily accomplished at the draft table, relying on his own knowledge of Canadian junior hockey and his strong contacts in North America and overseas. Inge Hammarström was hired to revive the Flyers foundering European scouting program, including their first full-scale forays into Russia. Hammarström and North American scout Bill Dineen became two of Farwell’s most trusted advisers at the draft. Given his short preparation time, Farwell did a marvelous job at the 1990 draft, the first of several good drafts he ran. While the on-ice results were modest during Farwell’s tenure (no playoff appearances), his draft and trade moves assembled much of the nucleus of the Flyer’s revival in the middle and latter part of the 1990s. Read more »
Two of the most promising players the Sabres picked up in the 1999 draft are Buffalo’s first round selection Barrett Heisten (Left Wing, 20th overall), and one of their second round picks, Doug Janik (Defense, 55th overall). The two draft Sabre picks were both freshman standouts at the University of Maine and were cornerstones of the Black Bears’ 1999 NCAA Championship season. Heisten and Janik also played together in a National Development Program held last year.
Heisten, an Anchorage, Alaska native, seems to be a prototypical Buffalo Sabre. He turned down offers to play Major Junior so he could come to Maine. A lot of people were interested in him, as he is a player who can score and has speed, yet also possesses a nasty side. Sabres GM Darcy Regier stated that he “has some Rasmussen and Varada in him” (referring to gritty wingers Erik Rasmussen and Vaclav Varada). He stands at 6′ 1″, 191 lbs. and needs to work on his scoring; like the aforementioned Varada and Rasmussen, Heisten can score at times but can be very streaky. One has to keep in mind that the Barrett is only 18 and has time to develop. Up to this point he has tried to make up for a lack of scoring with speed, grit and tenacity and has been fairly successful at it. Heisten struggled early on in the 98-99 season but, after a strong performance at the ’99 World Junior Championships, he picked up his game tremendously and was named the Hockey East Player of the Month for his strong play during January.
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Kärpät beat Jokerit, a Finnish Elite League team, 4-2 (1-0 1-1 2-1). Goals were scored by Martin Bergeron (2), Mikko Haapakoski, and Niklas Hagman. Goals for Jokerit were scored by Jari Kauppila and Jukka Tiilikainen. The referee’s kind of spoiled the game, by giving penalties for every touch. One goal by Niklas Hagman was called back without a clear reason.
Ten prospects from these teams:
Antti Kangas (stats not available at the moment)
Comments: Big goalie, good in blocking shots and glove hand is pretty strong too.
Lasse Kukkonen (no stats available at the moment) Didn’t seen him play.
Mikko Lehtonen (junior:games 22, goals 7, assists 8, points 15, penalty minutes 51, +13, kärpät: games 2, goals 0, assists 0, points 0, penalty minutes 5, +1)
Comments:Good skater… is very aware of offense… knows when to take risk and joins the attack well. Strong defensively too… doesn’t get outplayed. He is going to be big in the future.
Jaako Niskavaara (kärpät: games 35, goals 13, assists 24, points 37, penalty minutes 48, +29)
Comments: Hard and accurate shot, very offensive defensemen, not very strong in own end. Makes too many mistakes. Has an excellent shot and is very good on the power play.
Sami Siltavirta (kärpät: games 45, goals 1, assists 6, points 7, penalty minutes 79, +17)
Comments: Big tough defensemen… No one goes around him, and he’s a really good hitter. Good in penalty killing, and strong in front of his own net.
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With the losses of Valeri Kamensky, Theo Fleury, and Sylvain Lefebvre to free agency (or should I say the Rangers?) and Billington in a trade, the Avalanche are going to have some tough decisions to make this season. As well, the loss of Forsberg for the first few months, and Hejduk throughout training camp will leave some rather large holes in the Avalanche offense. This means that the Avalanche are going to have to call on some of their highly regarded prospects to pick up the slack, if the Avs are to avoid a start like they had in 98-99.
The first void to fill is going to be at center. Forsberg is going to be rehabbing until at least December, and it would be best for all involved if Forsberg were to take his time in recovering. After seeing what he can do after playing a full season, imagine what he could do with a full tank going into the playoffs… The player most likely to step in would be Alex Tanguay.
Tanguay, who spent last season with Halifax in the QMJHL, is a highly skilled center, in the mold of Joe Sakic. Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the NHL, Tanguay scored 61 points in 30 games with the Mooseheads last season, after coming back from a concussion. These concussions are the question mark regarding Tanguay, as several careers have been cut short the past few years by concussions.
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Here is a ranking and look at some of the top prospects from the OHL who are eligible for the 2000 Entry Draft. (NOTE: A player without comments has already had an in-depth accurate profile written on them. Just click on their respective link to view their profile)
1. Darryl Bootland – Toronto St. Mike’s
2. Lou Dickenson – Mississauga
3. Chris Eade – North Bay
4. Brad Boyes – Erie
5. Dan Growden – Windsor
6. Nikita Alexeev – Erie
7. Raffi Torres – Brampton
Comments: Finished second in team and rookie scoring to phenom Jason Spezza, a
pure sniper who also likes to crash the net. A fine two-way player who is
as steady as a rock, and is difficult to knock off his skates.
8. Bobby Turner – London
9. Jared Newman – Plymouth
10. Ryan Hare – Sarnia
Comments: A center/winger, this hometown product was Sting’s first round pick in
1998. Rookie season was marred by back injury, but that still did not slow
down this road-runner. An OHL scoring champion in the making once he
11. Chris Berti – Sarnia
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