The Thunder Bay Flyers wrapped up their 16th and what looks to be final
season over the weekend with a sweep of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Scoring
for the Flyers in there 7-4 victory on Saturday night was Aaron Grynol with
the hat trick, Pat Sharp with a pair and Murray MaGill and Jamie Young with
singles. Ken Ritson picked up what could possible be the last win in Flyers
history in the net. Thunder Bay finished with a 18-39-1 record good for 37
points and 13th place in the 14 team league. Thirty-nine losses breaks the
old club record of 33 set in 1985-86 season and the 1996-97 season. The team
leaders for the season where: Aaron Grynol 22 goals, Pat Sharp 25 assists,
Pat Sharp 55 points, Jesse Baraniuk 267 PIM to lead the USHL, Ken Ritson 4.07
gaa 0.888 save percentage, 3 shutouts.
The team is rumored to be folding and moving to Aurora, Ill for the 2001-2002
season. There is however a 60-day window of opportunity for local ownership
to step up and purchase the team. The current owner Ted Carlson is asking
$300,000 US which seems to be a steep price for any local groups. With this
said it looks like Thunder Bay has seen its final days in the United States
Thunder Bay has played in the USHL for 16 years as the only Canadian team in
the league. The Flyers captured four regular season championships and two
playoff titles in this time. The club from the Lakehead also captured two Read more »
The Philadelphia Phantoms have enjoyed a good deal of success during their
brief AHL existence. Most of their success, however, has been due to the
play of minor league veterans. Some of the minor league vets, most notably
Vaclav Prospal, Craig Darby and Mike Maneluk, were still young enough
during their Phantoms stay to still be considered of NHL prospect age.
More typically, however, the Phantoms have relied upon older, “career” minor
leaguers such as Peter White, Jim Montgomery, Shawn McCosh and Bruce
While the team has had a handful of standout rookies along the way
(Jean-Marc Pelletier and Mark Eaton come to mind), the team’s first year
players have more typically been eased slowly into the lineup by coach
Bill Barber. Before they earn steady ice time, they must show across-the-board
improvement in their game. If they do not show the all-around development
that Barber demands, the coach will not hesitate to bench them or have
them demoted to a club in a lower league; Francis Belanger being a perfect case
in point. If the young player succeeds in gaining Barber’s confidence with
his work habits and willingness to take criticism, he will see increasing
ice time over the second half of the season.
This season, the Phantoms have had two rookies (Francis Lessard and Tomas
Divisek) who almost immediately became integral parts of the hockey team
and a third (Ruslan Fedotenko) who responded very well to an early season Read more »
With players like Teemu Selanne, Keith Tkachuk, Alexei Zhamnov, the Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg
Jets franchise had at one moment assembled one of the deepest talent pools in the NHL.
Were they that adapt at drafting or did it just happen that they got lucky?
The Coyotes/Jets franchise has been unable to rebuild their franchise effectively through the draft. A lot of this lack of success can be directly attributed to their poor use of their first round selections.
After drafting Keith Tkachuk in 1990, it has a long time before the Coyotes drafted anyone of significance with their first round pick. Case and point was the Sergei Bautin fiasco back in 1993. Back in 1992 Mike Smith then GM of the Jets decided that the best player available with their 17th pick overall was the then 25 year-old Sergei Bautin a rugged defensive defenseman. Needless to say, that move backfired and within four seasons and a trade to Detroit, Sergei was out of the NHL entirely. He will go down in history for the Jets/Coyotes as the worst draft pick in franchise history (Some Jimmy Mann critics may disagree) and provides a clear example of how pathetic this team was at the draft table during the first round for much of the decade. Read more »
While the season has been a success for the Los Angeles Kings, there has been one area where the Kings may not have played their cards correctly. That is at the goaltender position.
Earlier in the season I wrote an article calling for a Jamie Storr trade. While this may not have been the best move, the alternative could not have been. Firstly, Storr has been at the heart of the Kings hot streak of late. Through Stephane Fiset’s injury, Storr has played well offering the big saves that never seem to come when Stephane Fiset is in the pipes. Jamie still has the lapses that have plagued him his entire career, but his record is much better than Fiset’s and he is much more likely to dominate a game that Stephane. Storr also remains injury prone and while he is getting better, he still is shaky handling the puck. All in all, Storr has proven himself to be the number one goalie. That may be the bad news.
Read more »
With the regular season coming to a close in most leagues, many Islanders prospects put the finishing touches on strong seasons. The Isles boast top 15 scorers in all three major junior leagues as well as in the Swedish junior League.
The Isles hottest prospect has been without a doubt Taylor Pyatt. After a slow start the year he has really come on and has been on a tear to end the regular season. Pyatt posted 10 points in 3 games earning him player of the week honors and finished the season with 40 goals and 89 points in 68 games, good for 8th in the league in scoring. He also led the league in plus/minus at +47. Pyatt is showcasing all the skills that will make him an elite power forward in the NHL.
Justin Mapletoft currently stands 7th in the WHL in scoring with 3 games to play. He leads his team in every offensive category and has earned praise for his outstanding defensive play. His totals stand at 37 goals, 91 points, and 131 PIM in 69 games.
In the QMJHL, Juraj Kolnik was dominant all year. Despite missing time with a shoulder injury and to play at the WJC, Kolnik finished 15th in scoring. In only 47 games he lit the lamp 53 times and had 106 points. His shooting percentage has been around 30 percent all year and is a true sniper. His skating still needs a little work, but he has a nose for the net and a tremendous release.
Read more »
Bryce Wandler is a kid who was passed up in the NHL draft since first eligible back in ’97. He has descent size and good ability. Sometimes it takes a trade to get a kid going and in Wandler’s case his trade to the Swift Current Broncos was one that possibly set forward in motion a potential career. He does have talent but has been on a rather mediocre at best team. He is a signing that doesn’t hurt the Rangers and at the very least gives them some depth. You have to remember that Dan Cloutier was the goalie of the future and so now the Rangers are trying to get some options out there for the future.
It’s hard to say where exactly a kid like Wandler fits in. Labarbara has been good for horrible teams. Pay no attention to the win loss records or the GAA, the key is the save percentage and in the case of Labarbara it’s always been solid. Mike Richter’s numbers don’t catch the eye but everyone know how good he has been, it’s the same with Labarbara. Holmqvist has all the tools to be a number one goalie but one questions whether or not he wants to come to North America. What he does depends on how set the Rangers are in the net. McLean is a solid veteran who will serve good as an interim backup. Labbe was just a signing for the farm club, not seen as NHL material, plus he is already getting ready to turn 28. Hnilicka is already going to be 27. Both goalies are minor league types, not NHL prospects.
Read more »
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim promised some minor deals this trade deadline and General Manager Pierre Gauthier delivered with the dealings of minor leaguers. The most notable of these players is Johan Davidsson.
The team dealt the once highly touted Davidsson to the Islanders for rookie and Euro veteran Jorgen Jonsson, the older brother of Isles captain Kenny Jonsson. The trade was a statement from Gauthier that the team needed help now not for the future as they try to squak into the playoffs.
Jonsson is having a highly productive season, scoring 11 goals in his first NHL season. He has been projected as a possible second line center down the road. For now though, the Ducks could use his skill. A strong skater and good playmaker, his abilities should add some depth overall to a team that lacks consistency.
One of the key selling points is Jonsson’s strong penalty-killing. He racked up two shorthanded goals with the Isles and since the Ducks have struggled all year shorthanded, he will be a welcomed addition. Anothe selling point is his good speed which fits in perfectly for the fleet footed Ducks team. As an added bonus, Jonsson is good defensively which is perfect for Coach Craig Harstburg who has preached team defense to his team this season.
Read more »
The Kings came away from the 2000 trading deadline with something unique to Kings’ fans- exactly what they needed.
The Kings’ acquisition of Nelson Emerson and Kelly Buchberger shows that Kings’ management thinks they can make a run in the playoffs. Two years ago, the Kings were in the hunt for the fourth seed and let the deadline go by without a move of any sort. Last season the Kings were more concerned about dumping soft players than acquiring skaters who can help.
On the surface the Kings basically gave up a promising defenseman in Frankie Kaberle and a player they were going to lose for two forwards who play hard, have the ability to score and provide grit on the forward lines. Both players have at least another year after this and with no forwards coming through the system right away, these guys are a nice fit to hold down the fort for a couple years. As for Audette, he had become so frustrated that he was ineffective on the ice and a distraction in the locker room. I am sure he will have alot of success with Atlanta or whoever he signs with next year, but he was not a good fit for the Kings and they needed some size and grit.
Read more »
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.
The Portland Pirates struggled a bit this week and stand at 39-19-9 (88 points). Hartford
(N.Y.R.) has caught them in their own division, and they now sit tied for first overall in the
AHL – with Hartford holding a game in hand. The Pirates are without Glen Metropolit and Alexei
Tezikov who are currently playing in the NHL. The Pirates also have five players assigned to
Hampton Roads (ECHL): forwards Mike Omicioli and Mike Siklenka, defensemen Gerad Adams and Dean
Stork, and goaltender Curtis Cruickshank.
The CHL regular seasons are almost over, and most of the playoff spots have been clinched
already. In the OHL, Guelph (Charlie Stephens) and London (Krys Barch) are fighting for the last
spot and it would take a miracle for London to get in. Guelph has a seven point lead with five
games to play.
It looks like all of the Capitals’ WHL prospects will be in post-season play this year. Calgary
(Kris Beech & Rastislav Stana), Swift Current (Todd Hornung), Spokane (Roman Tvrdon), Seattle
(Nathan Forster), Tri-City (Jomar Cruz & Blake Evans) and Kelowna (David Johansson & Nolan
Yonkman) have all clinched playoff spots. Red Deer (Ross Lupaschuk) and Prince Albert (Michal
Sivek) are in good shape right now, being nine and six points respectively ahead of ninth-place Read more »
Regular Season ends in Sweden
The playoffs started Sunday in Sweden and for the first time Swedish
teams are playing a best of seven series in the quarterfinals. What might
seem odd is that while the quarterfinals are best of seven, the semis and
the finals are only best of five. The idea of making the quarterfinals a
best of seven series instead of a best of five doesn’t have anything to do
with making sure that the best team wins; this format was implemented so
that clubs can get an extra home-date and make some extra money. Well, the
fans seem to enjoy the slightly altered format so best of seven is probably
here to stay.
As usual in Sweden, the season ended along with some controversy.
Frölunda coach Tommy Boustedt openly critisized the charismatic but
controversial chairman of the Swedish Hockey Association Rickard Fagerlund
saying that he scared away quality coaches from the National Team with his
way of doing business, i.e. talking to people through the media instead of
talking to them eye to eye. Boustedt certainly has a point here, and it
seems that most Elitserien coaches are supporting him in his critisism of
Fagerlund, although none had the balls to openly stand up beside him.
Elitserien Veterans to be drafted again this year
The now yearly drafting of Europeans veterans who teams think can step Read more »