Welcome to another installment of Future Watch. This feature is on
Dame recruit Neil Komadoski. Komadoski is a big, strong, physical
defenseman fresh from the National Development Program. “If I wouldn’t
gone to the NTDP I wouldn’t be where I am as a player today,” Komadoski
said. He gives a lot of credit to the great coaching, especially
strength and conditioning coach, John Hynes. Having great bloodlines
doesn’t hurt as well. Komadoski’s father spent 10 seasons playing in
NHL. Neil likes to play a style similar to Al MacInnis and Chris
Komadoski chose Notre Dame because he felt that it was the place for him
his first visit there. The coaching staff of Dave Poulin, Andy
and John Micholetto will be very beneficial to his hockey development.
feels that it is one of the best coaching staff’s in the country and a
on the rise. “I will get a great education at Notre Dame and that’s
important to me,” exclaimed Komadoski. The other schools on his mind
Michigan and Michigan State. Watch out for the Fightin’ Irish and Neil
Komadoski in college hockey next season.
This Spring, the Dallas Stars organization severed its 13-year
relationship with longstanding minor league affiliate, the Michigan
K-Wings, and began a 2 (optionally up to 4 year) deal with the Utah Grizzlies —
another IHL team from Salt Lake City. The next day Stars fans everywhere
read the headline, shrugged, told themselves “one IHL team is as good as
another”, and immediately turned over to the box scores. Few fans considered
how an interleague affiliation change could have much ramification on the development
of Stars future talent. But, though at first the
wisdom of this new relationship with the Grizzlies was not apparent in
most circles, it is definitely an improvement and a step in the right
direction for the Stars future. Here are a couple of reasons Stars fans
can look positively forward to this new affiliate:
# 1) Cold, Hard Cash
Yes, columnists have been speculating for the last 2 years that the Michigan
K-Wings no longer had the funds to support an NHL affiliate team. The IHL
began largely as a “bus league” for the Midwestern United States. In the league’s
infancy, IHL teams popped up in smaller towns and players were bussed from location to
location. As time went on, IHL began moving to bigger cities (i.e.
Chicago, Detroit) and profits began skyrocketing.
The K-Wings, however, were somewhat outpaced by the growth of the IHL. They Read more »
After pursuing it for 23 years, Coach Doris Labonte was finally able to lift the Memorial Cup over his head thanks to a 6-2 victory by his Rimouski Oceanic over the Barrie Colts. Hockey’s Future, having caught up to Coach Labonte in a place without computers, had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the past season, Brad Richards, and the Memorial Cup with him and here is what he had to say:
Hockey’s Future: How are you feeling now that you’ve finally reached the pinnacle of coaching in the Canadian Hockey League by winning the Memorial Cup?
Doris Labonte: It’s really great. It was so big before, huge during, and even bigger afterwards! Personally it’s the reward for working so many years in hockey at various levels. It’s also very important for the franchise, all of our fans, the region and the QMJHL.
HF: Going into Halifax what were the areas you thought you could attack each of the teams in and what were the things you felt you had to stop those teams from doing in order to win?
Halifax Mooseheads-Stop their powerplay and their first line. Put more pressure on their defense.
Barrie Colts-Remain disciplined at all times and match their intensity
Kootenay ICE-Stop their first line (Svoboda, Blatney), beat their defensive scheme.
HF: Did any of the teams surprise you and force you to alter your gameplan during the tourney and if so how?
Read more »
Bobby Smith is in deep trouble. With the imminent arrival of Wayne Gretzky as President of Hockey Operations, Smith is expected to be replaced by Gretzky’s agent Mike Barnett. In the meantime, Smith is beset by numerous personnel problems. His defense corps is in dire need of some physical presence. He’s in a two-year contract dispute with their number one netminder and second line center. To top this off, he has just lost several key free agents and a top line winger. The dam is about to burst for the Coyotes and Smith has attempted to cover up the damage with several short-term solutions.
In the last month, GM Bobby Smith has lost forwards Dallas Drake (expansion draft), Mikael Renberg (back to Sweden for personal reasons) and replaced them with Joe Juneau (trade for prospect Richard Wallin with the Minnesota Wild), and Brad May (trade with the Vancouver Canucks for a late pick in next years entry draft – most likely an 8th round pick). Juneau will be a welcome edition as a quarterback for the pathetic Coyotes power play. However, he is at best a Band-Aid replacement for Renberg. Renberg was a valued contributor for the Coyotes on their first line. Juneau has proved throughout his NHL career that he is at best a second line player.
Read more »
The Tampa Bay Lightning made some significant strides toward rebuilding their team in the 2000 draft. Here are the moves as they are viewed by the organization.
First, the trade for Kevin Weekes. The original plan was to add a veteran goaltender to help Dan Clouthier’s progression. This was probably a good idea at first, but considering the cost of a veteran goalie and the fact that who would really teach someone to take their job, not really feasible. Weekes came on strong at the end of last season and should be on the brink of breaking out. He is an athletic player and just needs a little seasoning. He should push Cloutier for the number spot and if nothing else is a very capable backup. The key to that trade though was actually the defenseman, Kristian Kudroc. The Lightning wanted Kudroc last year and would have selected him in the 2nd round. The Islanders traded up to get him though. Kudroc is big, tough, and has an immense upside. He is just another of the vast stable of blue liners that Tampa Bay has amassed.
Read more »
Going into the 2000 draft I wanted the Coyotes to take a gamble on
players with huge upsides. They did not disappoint as several of the
Coyote picks were made for skilled offensive players who are years away
from making any sort of impact in the NHL. They even managed to grab
two overage draft re-entries that provide the Coyote roster with some
much needed depth for the short term.
As for the draft itself, after much reflection, I have to admit I was
fairly pleased with the group of prospects they grabbed with their
selections. It is not an “A” draft by any means, but I would give the
Coyote staff a grade of a “B-“. The grade would have been higher if the
Coyotes had been able to move up in the draft or if more information
were available on second round pick Tatarinov. The Coyote drafting
strategy highlighted the need to bring players with the potential to
play on a top line. I am also biased by the selection of Ramzi Abid who
I feel will make an immediate impact for the Coyotes. It would be
fantastic if Abid could develop into the type of player that Shane Doan
has become. I think Daniel Briere could find some room to work some
magic playing in between these two behemoths. I have a feeling that
Abid will be on the NHL roster next season; especially if the Coyotes
are unable to come to terms with free agent wingers Greg Adams or Benoit
Hogue. So with apologies to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, here Read more »
MOOSE AQUIRE 3 ICE DOGS
Doug Ast was one of the three players picked up by the Manitoba Moose
with right-winger Dmitri Leonov and defenceman Dion Darling for future
considerations. The Ice Dogs left the IHL last month to begin play in
West Coast Hockey League so they put up their I-calibre players up for
at the NHL draft in Calgary.
“It was hard for them to survive in the IHL,” said Ast of the Dogs’
attendance of less than 4,000. “Basically it was a business decision. It
Ast knew he could end up almost anywhere on the continent in the IHL or
but figured it would be either independent Houston or Manitoba.
“Manitoba’s my favorite rink to play in. I grew up out here watching the
Jets play and they’ve always got good ice. I’m looking forward to
front of Canadian hockey fans,” said Ast. “The weather is something
going to have to adjust to.”
Ast, 27, scored 22 goals and 48 points in 79 games for the Ice Dogs last
season and has played 211 games for Long Beach over three seasons.
“He can perform a number of roles and has a history of putting up second
line-type numbers,” said Moose GM/head coach Randy Carlyle.
Leonov, 25, notched 17 goals and 38 points while collecting 165 penalty
minutes last season. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Chelyabinsk,
Russia, Read more »
The Capitals have already had a busy off-season, but the biggest moves are yet to come. Many of the changes so far have affected the minor league system, leaving the NHL roster intact. However, with six big-name Restricted Free Agents and the potential for some blockbuster trades very soon – the Caps could have a different look for 2000-01.
As with the rest of the league, the Capitals had to sign their 1998 draft picks by June 1st or lose the rights to them. George McPhee got things started early by signing collegiate defenseman Michael Farrell in March. Then, right at the deadline, the Caps came to terms with Krys Barch, Nathan Forster and Rastislav Stana. They are all expected to play minor pro next season, and the Caps have high hopes for all of them. This meant that the remaining 1998 draft picks: Goaltender Jomar Cruz, Forwards Blake Evans and Todd Hornung re-entered the 2000 draft. None of them were selected, and they will look for Free Agent deals during the summer.
Read more »
The Man they call “Trader Don” may have earned a new nickname in Calgary, You may soon hear
other General managers referring to the Thrasher GM as “Drafting Don”. In the weeks before the
2000 NHL Draft, Waddell told everyone that he felt the Thrashers would trade their pick for some
veteran talent. Looking back, Waddell must now be one of the happiest men in the NHL. Trading
the Thrashers number one pick may have been beneficial for the short term, but acquiring a
player of the caliber of Dany Heatley was a big plus for this club.
Heatley has been a bonafide scorer (with Size) at every level. He successfully made a
smooth transition to US collegiate hockey last year, continuing his development with the
Wisconsin Badgers. He was the man the Waddell wanted all along, after hearing no astounding
offers from any other clubs, and should be a perfect fit on a future Thrasher line centered by
last years #1 pick Patrick Stefan. The Number 1 North American in the Final CSB Rankings, as
well as number one THN draft eligible, Dany lists at 6’1″ but is more like 6’3″. He plays
agressive attacking Hockey which led to 28 Goals in 38 Games last year. His season-long growth
at Wisconsin earned him a big jump from the 20 or so mid-season CSB Rank. Scouts Liked the
scoring pop, as well as his work ethic, and think this guy can’t miss. The Thrashers do not
expect Dany to jump in Right away, but could give him a shot in Training camp. Either way, he Read more »