1. Peter Forsberg– (Avalanche) While missing around 10 games last year
due to injuries, Forsberg still managed to put up very good numbers (62
assists, 89 points). An injury-free year could mean a career year for
Forsberg, who could possibly win the scoring title.
2. Mario Lemieux– (Penguins) After coming out of retirement last season
to help the struggling Penguins, Lemieux jump started the Penguins and
led them to the playoffs. The talented Lemieux will put up points, but
he will take games off to rest and might miss the absence of one of the
world’s most talented players, Jaromir Jagr, more than he might think.
3. Joe Sakic– (Avalanche) The league’s Most Valuable Player last season
showed no signs of slowing down. If Sakic can stay healthy he
could once again challenge for the scoring title. With the help of the
high-powered Avalanche offence Sakic should have a 50 goal 50 assist
4. Doug Weight– (Blues) Weight, who was traded to the Blues during the
summer, will find joy in playing with Keith Tckchuk and Pavol Demitra.
A change of scenery was something that Weight needed, and he could have
a 90-point season, but only 25 of those points being goals.
5. Jason Allison– (Bruins) Allison, who had a career year last year,
will probably not be in Boston by season’s start. After a 95-point
season last year, there are not many reasons why he should not repeat
that total, besides the fact that he might be playing on a weak team or
holding-out. Allison could finish the season in th Read more »
Of all the players drafted this year, Stephen Weiss might have been the most complete and well-rounded of the top players. Blessed with natural offensive instincts and a solid scoring touch around the net, Stephen makes his teammates better due to his unselfish play and very good hockey sense. Former Whalers Asst. Coach Steve Spott on his star center “Stephen Competes very hard, He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions on the ice, he is very intelligent that way.” To go with the natural instincts, Weiss is an effortless skater with excellent speed, acceleration and can outskate and outplay his opponents in one-on-one situations.
Stephen’s smaller stature might have been the only thing keeping him back from going higher in the draft, but Stephen doesn’t let his average size hold him back in all ends of the ice “The offensive Stuff is god-given, and he (Stephen) can do that anyways, but he has made a conscious decision to play well defensively, and that is why he is such a complete player.” This effort to play in all zones and be considered a threat whenever he is on the ice, is what made Stephen stand out to the Panthers as well. Stephen is a good fore-checker and will put the team ahead of personal statistics.
While he excelled in the OHL in faceoffs, it becomes a different skill altogether in the NHL, According to Steve Spott “In junior hockey, sometimes, you get in a habit where the importance of faceoffs aren’t stressed enough. That is something he will have to continue to work on and technically he is very good, but along with his s Read more »
The Canadiens opened their annual rookie development camp on Monday. Unlike last year, when the team chose to invite mostly signed, or drafted prospects, the Habs chose instead to invite fifteen non-property invitees (16 if we include Dusty Jamieson) to go along with sixteen prospects who are already considered Montreal property.Here’s a quick look at the three goalies, seven defensemen, and five forwards who the Habs hope to have a solid look at during the 11-day camp.
Luc BelangerThe top goaltender in the CIAU last season. He recorded a 1.91 GAA, and a .931 save percentage to go along with 5 shutouts in 18 games. He finished with a 15-0-2 record, and led UQTR to the CIAU Men’s Championship.
Adam RussoAn 18 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 3.25 GAA, and a .891 save percentage in 35 games with Acadie-Bathurst. Finished with a 15-13-2 record.
Olivier MichaudA 17 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 2.96 GAA, and a .882 save percentage in 21 games with Shawinigan. Finished with a 12-4-4 record.
Jeff Beatch (6’5″, 188 lbs.)The 20 year-old defenseman recorded 11 points (2-9-11) in 71 games with Seattle of the WHL. He finished the season +1, with 67 minutes in penalties.
Mike Colgan (6’3″, 204 lbs.)The 21 year-old defenseman recorded 13 points (1-12-13) in 41 games during his senior season with Colorado College of the WCHA. He finished the season with 20 minutes in penalties.
Kevin Dallman (5’11”, Read more »
The Coyotes’ 1st Round pick in the 2000 Draft, center Krystofer Kolanos from Boston College, is telling the team he would like to sign a contract and leave school for the pro ranks. Although Kolanos has not hired an agent yet, he said with the transition period the Coyotes are going through and the influx of young players they are bringing in, the time is right to leave school. NCAA rules strictly state that while attending college, players can not hire agents nor participate in training camp with any teams. Kolanos is going to try and work out a contract with the Coyotes without the help of an agent, so if the deal falls through, he can still remain with BC.If Kolanos is signed to a deal, he has the talent to make this team right out of training camp. He capped off an excellent season with Boston College, registering 25 goals and 25 assists in 41 games. Being cut from the Canadian team for the 2001 World Junior Championships was a huge disappointment for Krys, but he capped off his excellent season in dynamic fashion by scoring the game winning goal against North Dakota on a nifty deke in overtime to win the NCAA Championship for Boston College. A season in the minors would definitely help him get accustomed to the faster-paced NHL game, but coming out of college Kolanos has an advantage over players in junior hockey, as college players play against older competition in 24 and 25 year olds, while also playing responsibly defensively, since there is no red-line in college hockey, meaning teams can make two-line passes leading to lots of breakaways. It will b Read more »
For more information please vitit http://www.russianprospects.com
Andrei Taratukhin will not blow you away with his average and unimpressive 6’0 and 190lb size. He does, however, more then make up for it with his other qualities. Andrei is a type of player who will not stand out with his individual feats but is an irreplaceable component that makes his partners look like super stars. He possesses excellent hockey sense and uses it well as a team player. According to a Finnish observer at the 2001 U18 World Junior Championships, he “seems to be a good (smart) team player, makes those little screens (obstructions) and “holding opponents sticks”, so his teammates could take a good shot or make a move”. Andrei is also an excellent passer. His determination and great work ethic should also be added to his resume. He is a kind of a player who coach’s love to have – is not intimidated by a couple of hits and continues to work hard no matter what. According to the Finnish observer, “Taratuhin is a good, diligent puck digger, and he knows what to do with the puck when he gets it.” Hockey News also added that Andrei is “noticed for willingness to play in traffic…is good down low”. Andrei’s “average” nature in some categories is his main impediment. Andrei Taratukhin has an average shot and is only an average skater. If you consider this along with his average size, he could face possible problems in the more physical North American hockey.
Back In Russia:
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Below is the 1999 NHL Entry Draft 1st Round. It gives a overview of the selections two seasons later and what to expect from these prospects in the near future.
1. Atlanta Thrashers – Patrik Stefan (C)
It is way too early to say the Thrashers blew there first ever draft selection. Yet the production of the concussion prone Stefan is not where the Thrashers want it to be. He needs to have a much stronger season. In 2001-2002 he will be entering his 3rd NHL season.
2. Vancouver Canucks – Daniel Sedin (LW)
After spending 99-00 at home in Sweden playing for MoDo of the Swedish Elite League Daniel and brother Henrik made the trek to Vancouver. Tallied 20 goals and 34 points in 75 games. Also had 3 points in 3 playoff matches. Will be expected to put up bigger numbers this year for Vancouver.
3. Vancouver Canucks – Henrik Sedin (C)
Henrik took the same trip as brother Daniel and had a very similar season to his twin brother. Henrik had 29 points in his first NHL season and skated in all 82 games. He also added 4 points in 4 playoff games. Same thing goes here , Vancouver needs him to step up this season.
4. New York Rangers – Pavel Brendl (RW) Read more »
Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Todd Marchant, Shawn Horcoff. What do these players have in common. They all played and graduated in NCAA schools. In the 1990’s more and more NHL teams drafted players from the NCAA. Today’s NHL is getting more and more international and with the league being diluted, players from every league are being drafted and this includes the NCAA.While many NHL teams draft players from the CHL or Finland, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Sweden, more NHL teams are also drafting and scouting the NCAA for talent.Barry Fraser, who was the chief scout of the Edmonton Oilers from 1979 until 2000 was the person who decided the Oilers should go in this direction. Even though he had his up’s and down’s in scouting, one of his great legacies for the Oilers was the drafting and use of NCAA players.The NCAA is of great benefit for NHL teams. Some of the advantages of players playing for NCAA schools areDevelopment. A player will play almost 3-4 years for there school and there development will come faster as they spend more time in school and play against older players rather then junior players in the CHL
NCAA players are not rushed as NHL clubs respect the player’s decision to stay in school and finish school
NCAA players are drafted as 19 year olds as NHL clubs get a better handle on players
NHL clubs are not in any hurry to sign NCAA players since they finish out there school career
Many Canadians and Americans are using the NCAA route in order to play hockey and secure an education. Scholarships Read more »
In 1999, if you were to ask me which position were the San Jose Sharks
weakest at I would have easily answered goaltending. With Miikka
Kiprusoff still in Europe and Evgeni Nabokov a serious question mark, it
was a concern.Now fast-forwarding to 2001, one can make an easy case that the Sharks
are most comfortable between the pipes. With Nabokov winning the Calder
Trophy as the league’s best rookie in 2001 and Kiprusoff who is
considered one of the best young goalies in the game, the Sharks have
two young goaltenders considered at the top of their position among
young players. In addition, they have Vesa Toskala who will be the next
starting goaltender next season in Cleveland, the Sharks’ new AHL
affiliate, and Nolan Schaefer who is quickly turning heads at Providence
College.When a team drafts a player in the ninth round they hope that he will
make it to their AHL team. If he can make any kind of impact in the
AHL, that pick is considered a success. Rarely does a ninth round pick
make a serious impact in the NHL, in fact, most fans would be hard
pressed to name ten players currently making an impact in the NHL chosen
so late. However, Shark fans can easily name two, center Mark Smith
chosen in 1997, and Nabokov chosen with the 194th pick in 1994.For a long time Nabokov was considered to be a typical ninth round
selection-a player who would struggle for a while and once he did make
it to Kentucky of the AHL, in all likelihood only make it as a backup.
He struggled immensely in his first season with Kentucky Read more »
The New York Rangers have some very good forward prospects in their organization. Although the overall depth at forward is not spectacular, it is solid to say the least. Most of the good young forwards in the Rangers’ organization are already playing in the NHL, in players such as Radek Dvorak, Jan Hlavac, Mike York and Manny Malhotra, but there are still the crown jewels in Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl waiting in the wings, and other players with NHL potential.Whether or not any rookies at forward make the Rangers this season remains to be seen. Everyone who participates in training camp will be given an equal opportunity to make the team. If a certain player steps up and shows that he is ready for the NHL and can contribute to the team, Glen Sather and the New York Rangers staff will not hold that player back. Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl are heading into their 3rd training camp, and hopefully for the Rangers the saying “Three’s a charm” comes true.Well, with that, I will now take a look at the forward prospects for the New York Rangers. (Note: Excluded from this article are Jay Dardis, Petter Henning, Brandon Dietrich and Alexei Bulatov, simply because I have not seen enough of them to give a fair assessment.)
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A total of 8 Russian players were picked in the 1st round of the 2000 draft. After several below-average draft years for Russia, the country had an abundance of rare talent to exhibit. In a draft year that deemed to be unpredictable, trying to foresee the draft positions of the higher touted Russians come June seemed like flipping a coin.Despite an unquestionably rich flock of players, there was no consensus #1, nor a clear view of the true potential of the players available. The Russian prospects characterized talent, hope, potential, ability but also a great deal of unpredictability. For a whole bundle of the hockey season, the players’ stocks seemed to either rise or fall considerably. The year exemplified certain highly touted names grossly underachieve, while others with lower expectations unexpectedly entered the draft scene.Alexei Smirnov’s apparent battle with Marian Gaborik for the clear-cut leader of the parade lasted for about half a year. While Gaborik surged, Smirnov’s questionable attitude, lackluster dedication to the sport and inconsistency came up as the draft day loomed. Smirnov wound up going 12th overall, while Gaborik dropped as well to the 3rd position of the podium. Two unexpected names led the way for Russia at the 2000 NHL draft: Going 8th to the Tampa Bay Lightning was Nikita Alexeev, while going 10th to the Chicago Blackhawks was Mikhail Yakubov. These were a couple of names that gradually rose in value during the year and ended up going high for particular reasons that will be discussed later on.Right now, a Read more »