Jason Spezza has been talked about in hockey circles for years. Ever since he was 15 years old this kid was tabbed as a future superstar. He has incredible vision and a touch with the puck. He is smooth, great touch with the puck to go with great vision and great hockey sense. He sees the ice exceptionally well and has great size to go with the package. The “Special One” as he has been tabbed, has had a much maligned hockey career since he came on the scene with the Brampton Battalion. He then moved on to the Missisauga IceDogs and possibly hindered his development with ignorant coaches and managers. Don Cherry loved this kid but didn’t make him a better player. Thus, Spezza asked for a trade, got it and with it, much criticism. He led the Windsor Spitfires to the playoffs with a 2 point a game pace almost winning the scoring title playing less games than the winner, Kyle Wellwood. Spezza played pretty well for Canada in the World Juniors, but he didn’t dominate even though he had already been through one tournament. With such a long career in the spotlight tabbed as Canada’s developmental savior, came much criticism. People started to question his work ethic and desire to succeed, as well as his skating. He is 6’3 and over 200 pounds. He is a big man and can skate. His upside is being a “one” the category consisting of only Gretzky, Lemieux and Lindros. And the downside of being a Jason Allison (90+ points a season).
For GM Marshall Johnston to pull of such a deal, getting rid of the fan’s favorite target Alexei Yashin, and receiving a future superstar in Spezz Read more »
A summary of activity in the Maple Leafs’ Camp on the second day of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
The names, generally, are not as well known as the ones called in the earlier rounds. In many ways, however, it is the second day of the draft that really separates the successful franchises from the pretenders. The truest gauge of any organization’s scouting prowess is the ability to unearth hidden gems in rounds 5 through 9 (long after many observers have essentially lost interest in the proceedings).
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the players selected by the Maple Leafs on Day Two.
Kyle Wellwood (C – Belleville, OHL) : The 2000/2001 OHL scoring champion wouldn’t have been there for the Maple Leafs in round five if there weren’t some serious reservations about his long term pro potential. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, Wellwood certainly doesn’t have ideal NHL size and his skating is average at best. Many scouts give much of the credit for Kyle’s scoring title to line mates Randy Rowe and Branko Radivojevic, both of whom also finished in the top five. To be fair, Wellwood has a wide range of offensive skills (especially puckhandling and playmaking) and was superlative for the Bulls this season. Though drafting is largely a matter of judging a player’s potential, there should always be room to recognize outstanding performance as well.
Max Kondratiev (D – Togliatti, Russia) : Kondratiev is a swift rearguard who represented his country at the Under-18 Tournament this year. Maxim is 6-1 but u Read more »
Every team has to build somehow. General Manager Brian Burke and Assistant GM David Nonis have done an excellent job in taking the Canucks from doormats to a success story in the money-driven NHL of today is remarkable. Burke and Co have been able to build through the draft, acquiring players such as Bryan Allen, Artem Chubarov, the Sedins, Brandon Reid, and now, R.J. Umberger, and that’s only in three seasons since taking over.
The Canucks have never been a model of draft excellence. Blunders such as Shawn Antoski, Alek Stojanov, Libor Polasek, and others, have been more or less forgotten since Nonis and Burke took over a couple of years back. They have instilled a mode of confidence in the players, management, and most importantly, the fans.
Even though Bryan Allen hasn’t arrived full time, (Which can be excused because of his various injuries) Burke has had a multitude of success in developing players, and drafting the best player available, rather than picking for a need, and that strategy has served him very well, as there is nothing to suggest that the good luck won’t continue.
Burke and Company strolled up on to the Draft podium and announced that their first pick in 2001 was R.J. Umberger. Umberger, who is is power-forward type of player. He slipped to the Canucks which was probably due, in small part, to the Oilers making a reach for Ales Hemsky at number thirteen.
The one problem with Umberger, however, is that he always leaves scouts wanting more. For someone with his size, he should be invo Read more »
Islanders Draft Review
“Mad” Mike Milbury has done it again… Milbury has one again rolled the dice by trading highly regarded Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt for Mike Peca. The basis of the “new” Islanders nucleus has been formed today, and as custom to other Milbury drafts, there have been questions left unanswered.
Yesterday, the Islanders traded Bill Muckalt, Zdeno Chara, and the 2nd selection in the 2001 draft (Jason Spezza) for Alexie Yashin.I am very happy about this deal because it made sure that the Islanders were getting the top line center that they had lacked since the days of Pierre Turgeon. Although it was hard to see the big bruiser Chara go to Ottawa, both teams received what they needed through this deal. Yashin was very excited when he heard the news and is glad to be an Islander; something that Mike Milbury wanted his players to be.
Today, Milbury traded young guns Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly to Buffalo for Mike Peca. Peca, who is regarded as one of the top two-way centers in the game, held out last season due to a contract dispute. Peca, who grew up watching the likes of Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier, was speechless when he heard the news. Peca also spoke very highly of the Islanders, and said that with the additions of Yashin and himself, this is a new team.
The winner of these deals will depend on three players. Those players being Tim Connolly, Taylor Pyatt, and Jason Spezza. Connolly, who has the moves and the potential to be a top 20 point producer in a matter or year Read more »
For the first time in his three-year history with the Tampa Bay Lightning, General Manager Rick Dudley took the conventional route, selecting Russian Alexander Svitov third overall in the 2001 Entry Draft. In his previous two drafts with the organization, Dudley executed blockbuster draft day deals, shipping off the Lighting s first round choice in exchange for immediate help.
While Dudley entertained offers for this year’s selection, he was not intrigued enough to part with it.
Following the Draft Lottery, when Dudley learned he would have the 3rd overall pick and would likely miss out on Russian sensation Ilya Kovalchuk and CHL star Jassen Spezza, he alluded to a third player he considered equally talented. No names were ever mentioned, but it was assumed Svitov was the player Dudley coveted.
The Omsk, Russia, center is considered to be the most NHL ready player in the draft. His combination of size, skill and grit makes him a perfect fit with the Tampa Bay organization, and the perfect mold of the “Dudley player”.
Svitov is a big (6 3″, 198lbs), physical player who is a strong skater and has decent offensive ability. His biggest attribute is his defensive play. As Tampa Bay Lightning Color Analyst Bobby The Chief Taylor explained, “Defense is the biggest thing with this team. You can’t come in and not be defensively responsible. Svitov is great defensively. Offense can be learned with time.”
Svitov is expected to have an immediate impact on the struggling team. With Tampa’s face-off percentage looming barely above 40%, Svitov
A summary of activity in the Maple Leafs’ Camp on the first day of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
After securing several reinforcements (Reichel, Green and Renberg) for next season’s line-up in the days leading up to the draft, the Maple Leafs finally got around to improving their farm system on the floor of the National Car Rental Center. The Leafs arrived in Florida armed with four picks in the first three rounds and eleven selections overall. After the proceedings began, Quinn and Co. were able to further enhance this stash by sending C/W Igor Korolev to the Black Hawks in exchange for Chicago’s third round pick.
There was clearly a common element in all of the player acquisitions made by the Leafs in recent weeks – speed! This skill was also front and centre at the Entry Draft as each of the five players selected by Toronto on Day 1 possess better than average skating ability.
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the newest Maple Leafs.
Carlo Colaiacovo (D – Erie, OHL) : The Leafs were fairly certain that their first selection of the draft would be a defenseman and so it was. With Knyazev already gone and Gleason, Popovic and Woywitka still on the board, Toronto opted to take Etobicoke native Carlo Colaiacovo from the Erie Otters. Carlo (whose his surname is pronounced Colee-AKA-vo) enhanced his standing with the scouts throughout the stretch run and into the OHL playoffs by displaying lots of savvy, mobility and competitiveness. At 6-1 and 184 pounds, Colaiacova is hardly a bruiser but plays an effec Read more »
1. Anaheim, Jordan Tootoo, Winger
2. Ottawa, Ray Emery, Goalie
3. Atlanta, Brian Sipotz, Defenseman
4. Islanders, Cory Stillman, Center
5. Anaheim, Timo Parssinen, Forward
6. Minnesota, Tony Virta, Rigth Wing
7. Chicago, Brent Maclellan, Defenseman
8. Anaheim, Vladimir Korsunov, Defenseman
9. San Jose, Christian Ehroff, Goalie
10. San Jose, Dimitri Patzold, Goalie
11. Calgary, Tomi Maki, Right Winger
12. Montreal, Martti Jarventie, Defensman
13. Carolina, Rob Zepp, Goalie
14. Boston, Matti Kaltainen, Goalie
15. Atlanta, Milan Gajic, Center
16. NY Rangers, Bryce Lampman, Defenseman
17. Vancouver, Evgeny Gladskikh, Left Winger
18. Chicago, Vladimir Gusev, Defenseman
19. Los Angeles, Richard Petiot, Defenseman
20. Florida, Michael Woodford, Right Winger
21. Anaheim, Brendon Rogers, Defenseman
22. Chicago, Aleksey Zotkin, N/A
23. Pittsburgh, Tomas Surovy, Forward
24. Detroit, Drew MacIntyre, Goalie
25. St Louis, Igor Valeev, Right Winger
26. Tampa Bay, Aaron Lobb, Right Winger
27. Clagary, Egor Shastin, Forward
28. Washington, Jeff Lucky, Right Winger
29. Dallas, Daniel Volrab, Center
30. Ottawa, Christoph Schubert, N/A Read more »
1. Ny Islanders, Duslan Salficky, Goalie,
2. Edmonton, Jussi Markkane, Goalie
3. Toronto, Kyle Wellwood, Center
4. Atlanta, Colin Stuart, Cemter
5. Florida, Billy Thompson, Goalie
6. Anaheim, Joel Perreault, Center
7. Tampa Bay, Paul Lynch, Defenseman
8. NY Rangers, Shawn Collymore, Right Winger
9. San Jose, Tomas Plihal, Forward
10. Columbus, Cole Jarrett, Defenseman
11. Chicago, Tommi Jaminki, Left Wing
12. Colorado, Frantisek Skladany,Left Wing
13. Colorado, C McCormick, C/RW
14. Calgary, J Hakewill, Defenseman
15. Philadelphia, Jussi Timonen, Defenseman
16. Boston, Jiri Jakes, Right Winger
17. Phoenix, David Klema, Center
18. Colorado, Mikko Vitanen, Defenseman
19. Philadelphia, Berend Bruckler, Goalie
20. Vancouver, Kevin Bieska, Defenseman
21. Los Angeles, Terry Denike, Goalie
22. Los Angeles, Tuukka Mantyla, Defenseman
23. Edmonton, Jake Brenk, Center
24. Buffalo, Michal Vondrka, Left Winger
25. Pittsburgh, Andy Schneider, Defenseman
26. Detroit, Andread Jamtin, Right Winger
27. Philadelphia, Roman Malek, Goalie
28. St Louis, Dimitri Semin, Forward
29. Washington, Artem Ternavsky, Defense
30. Dallas, Mike Smith, Goalie Read more »
1. New York Islanders, Andy Chiodo, Goalie
2. Dallas, Michal Blazek, Defenseman
3. Toronto, Max Kondratiev, Defenseman
4. Florida, Dustin Johner, Center
5. Anaheim, Jan Tabacek, N/A
6. Montreal, Eric Himelfarb, Center
7. Philadelphia, Dennis Seidenberg, N/A
8. Columbus, Justin Aikins, Center
9. Chicago, Alexander Golvin, Left Winger
10. San Jose, Ryan Clowe, Right Winger
11. New York Rangers, Marek Zidlicky, Defenseman
12. Philadelphia, Andrei Razin, NA
13. Nashville, Anton Lavrentiev, Defenseman
14. Boston, Andrew Alberts, Defenseman
15. Phoenix, Scott Polaski, Right Winger
16. Carolina, Daniel Boisclair, Goalie
17. San Jose, Tom Cavanagh, Right Winger
18. Toronto, Jaroslav Sklenar, Forward
19. Colorado, Scott Horvath, Right Winger
20. Edmonton, Mikael Svensk, Defenseman
21. Chicago, Petr Puncochar, Defenseman
22. Columbus, Artem Vostrikov, N/A
23. Tampa Bay, Art Femenella, Defenseman
24. Atlanta, Pasi Nurminen, Goalie
25. St Louis, Brett Scheffelmaier, Defenseman
26. Washington, Zbynek Novak, Forward
27. Dallas, Jussi Jokinen, Forward
28. Ottawa, Brooks Laich, Center
29. New Jersey, James Massen, Right Winger Read more »
The Rangers headed into the 4th round with the 113th overall selection, courtesy of Carolina in the Sandy McCarthy trade last summer. With players such as Colt King and Egor Shastin on the board, the Rangers selected defenseman Bryce Lampman from Omaha of the USHL. He is a 6’1 193 pound defenseman who shoots left.
Since the Rangers traded down in the 3rd round with Minnesota, they received the Wild’s 5th round pick (139th Overall). With that pick, the Rangers selected Right Wing Shawn Collymore from the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. Collymore is 5’11 and 185 pounds. According to Hockey’s Future’s QMJHL Writer Nicolas Gaudreau-Dupuis, he says “Collymore is a crafty right-winger with magical hands and an excellent hockey-sense. He can do almost anything with the puck. Collymore has a really fast release, but his shot isnt particulary hard, however it’s really precise. Collymore’s skating is good, and it could still improve. He “slides” naturally on the ice, but his foot speed could be improved even more. Collymore’s first step is usually slow, and he dont have an explosive acceleration, something he will have to work on in order to perform at the next level. Otherwise, Collymore is a finesse player that is growing into a dedicated leader. He wont back down from physical play, but he wont look for it either.” Collymore more than doubled his production this past season from the previous year, scoring 24 goals and 43 assists in 71 games played. I’m going to be excited about seeing his potential future.
In round 6, the Rangers held the 176th Read more »