Mike Van Ryn wants to be a free agent. The New Jersey Devils want Van Ryn to remain Devils’ property. Others want Van Ryn to go back into the draft.
It remains to be seen whether Van Ryn hits the jackpot. With the NHL draft right around the corner, the former University of Michigan and Sarnia Sting defenseman’s status remains in question. After playing two seasons at Michigan, Van Ryn, a 1998 first round draft choice of New Jersey, decided to play a year in the Ontario Hockey League. The young defenseman and his agent claim this path should lead to free agency.
An arbitrator still has not decided Van Ryn’s case and an answer may not be forthcoming until mid-July. However Van Ryn and his agent, Don Meehan, remain patient and hopeful.
“We have a hearing scheduled for June 13,” according to Meehan. “The arbitrator then has thirty days to hand down his decision.”
Both New Jersey and the National Hockey League are quite anxious about the final decision in this case. The Devils are concerned they could lose the rights to one of their top prospects. The NHL is worried about the precedent that could be set by this case. If Van Ryn wins, a U.S. college hockey player who is drafted in the future could attain free agent status by playing a year for a Canadian junior team.
According to Meehan, “We remain very optimistic about the results of the arbitration hearing.” The Devils, along with the NHL, can only hope the optimism of Meehan and Van Ryn is misguided.
On June 1st, the Capitals announced the signings of 1998 draft picks Krys Barch (4th round, 106th overall), Nathan Forster (7th round, 179th overall) and Rastislav Stana (7th round, 193rd overall). These signings prevented them from re-entering the 2000 entry draft. With the signings of Michael Farrell (8th round, 220th overall) after the season and Mike Siklenka (5th round, 118th overall) last off-season, the Capitals only lost three players to re-entry.
Goaltender Jomar Cruz (2nd round, 49th overall), as well as forwards Todd Hornung (3rd round, 59th overall) and Blake Evans (9th round, 251st overall) have all re-entered the 2000 draft. However, none of them are expected to be re-drafted and will try to work out free agent deals after the draft.
The Capitals also announced that they have acquired defenseman Stephen Peat from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in exchange for a 2000 fourth-round pick. Peat was unable to come to terms with the Ducks and was going to re-enter the draft. The Capitals were able to sign him before the deadline and he will attend training camp in the fall. Peat was the Ducks’ 2nd round pick in 1998 (32nd overall) and is one of the WHL’s most feared enforcers.
PART 3 OF 3
Part 2 introduced Brett Thurston and Kevin Harris, two solid defencemen. In this final part on Wheat King draft players, we’ll examine goaltender Robert McVicar.
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The Islanders luck truly is turning around. First, a solid ownership takes over the franchise, and now fortune smiled on the up and coming Islanders when they won the 2000 draft lottery. With only an 8 percent chance, the Islanders’ number came up and became the first fifth place team in draft lottery history to jump up to the No. 1 pick. The jump dramtically improves their positioning considering the players available. The Islanders will now likely select one of the two highly touted impact players, Dany Heatley or Marian Gaborik. The most likely pick would be Gaborik.
The Isles have a host of Heatley-type playes, rugged up and down players with deft goal scoring touch (Isbister, Green, Pyatt, Hunter). However Gaborik projects as a speedy game breaker, something the Isles desperatley need since the departure of Ziggy Palffy. Gaborik scored 25 goals in 50 games in the Slovak Men’s league and averaged almost a point a game. He starred at the World U-18 team with 6 goals and 8 points in 6 games for a weak Slovakian team. Heatley had solid numbers as a freshman at Wisconsin, but not overwhelming. In the past few years very few college players have made a big impact in the NHL. Throw into the mix that Heatley is actually a year older than Gaborik and the choice seems clear.
The other option of course is trading the 1st overall selection. The Islanders biggest need is a solid veteran defenseman and then another veteran forward. The 1st pick is an asset than many teams would love to have, and Mike Milbury’s phone will be very busy this June. Read more »
STEVE LAROUCHE WINS JOHN CULLEN AWARD.
Chicago Wolves’ center Steve Larouche has been selected as the International
Hockey League’s Comeback Player of the Year. He will receive the John Cullen
Award, which is given annually to the player deemed to have been a key
contributor to his team, while overcoming injury, illness or other personal
setbacks. The award was voted on by a “blue ribbon” panel of general
managers, broadcasters and beat writers.
Larouche played in only 33 games last season, posting 13 goals and 25
assists for Chicago, before suffering a season-ending knee injury on
December 29, 1998. Larouche rejoined the Wolves for the 1999-2000 season,
where he tallied 88 points (31 goals, 57 assists). He was second in league
scoring, just two points behind teammate Steve Maltais. Larouche led the
league with 57 assists, and was tied for second overall with teammate Chris
Marinucci, netting 14 power-play goals. His efforts helped his team earn the
IHL’s Western Conference Championship, and a chance to compete in the Turner
Cup Finals for the second time in three years. Larouche has played admirably
for his team in the post-season, earning 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in
13 playoff games, including two assists in three games in the Turner Cup
Larouche is in his ninth professional season and sixth in the IHL. He has Read more »
Leksand defenseman Lars Jonsson is the top rated Swede according to the Swedish correspondents at Hockey´s Future. He has achieved that by playing at a high level all season long and displaying flashes of greatness on both the Swedish national junior team and on Leksand´s junior team. Leksand officials expect Jonsson to step right in an play 30-40 of the 50 regular season games in the Elitserien next season.
The second rated player is Martin Samuelsson who was highly touted as a 16-year-old. He had to battle both injuries and inconsistency this season and his offensive output has to be considered a disappointment. A point-per-game pace in a soft league is not good enough for a potential first round pick. He added a silver lining to his poor season with a good U18 World Championship where he scored 3 goals and 5 assists in 6 games. The gifted Samuelsson, who moved from Stockholm to play for MoDo´s juniorteam, has now moved back to the Swedish capital and will suit up for Hammarby´s senior team next season. A good choice for Samuelsson who left a MoDo club where a lot of the players seemed more concerned about playing for the scouts than playing for their teammates at times. A selfish attitude won´t cut it in senior hockey, and next year will be very beneficial for him.
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Nathan Forster is a defenseman for the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) and a 1998 Washington Capitals draft pick. He just
completed his fourth season in Seattle, and should be ready to turn pro next season.
I want to thank Nathan for taking the time to answer my questions, and I would especially like to thank Peter Forster for his help
in making this possible.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a hockey player?
A: If I wasn’t playing I would be going to school and fishing and golfing everyday.
Q: What do you do during the offseason?
A: During the off-season I hit the gym everyday in the morning and have the rest of the day to fish or golf or just relax.
Q: Do you have any game day superstitions?
A: I don’t have any game day superstitions.
Q: What is the greatest moment of your career so far?
A: My greatest memory so far in my hockey career was being drafted to the Caps and also playing in the WHL finals against
Lethbridge in 1997.
Q: Did you expect to be drafted higher in 1998?
A: I didn’t expect much going into the draft because I didn’t have the best year my draft year. I was just happy to be drafted and
knew that this is only the first step to becoming a pro.
Q: What type of player do you describe yourself as?
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He had the smile of an eighteen-year old kid…partly because he had just been selected number two overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft…and party because he was eighteen years old. David Legwand…the first draft selection in Nashville Predators history. Legwand automatically became the “cornerstone of the Nashville franchise for years to come.” His blazing speed and lightning quick hands landed him a spot on the Nashville pro roster less than a year after he was drafted.
He was called the “best goaltender in the world for his age.” He was one of only a handful of goaltenders to be selected in the top ten in the history of the NHL Entry Draft. Brian Finley…chosen sixth overall in the 1999 Entry Draft. One year and an OHL MVP later, Finley is the future number one butterfly goalie for the Preds.
Now think, how many big time free agents have the Predators signed in their history? How many blockbuster trades have the Preds been a part of? If you answered zero to both of those questions, then you are correct. The Predators are using a very painstaking system of building their team into playoff contenders. However, they are using a system that has been used before.
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It’s yet again time for the future watch once again. This time it’s Brian McConnell, the bruising power forward who spent last season at the NTDP in Ann Arbor playing with the Under 17 team. McConnell, is a physical player with a mean streak and has good offensive skills but must work on his skating skills. He had a 8-11-19 line with 76 penalty minutes, he decided to leave Thayer Academy to head to Ann Arbor because he felt it was the best decision to further his hockey career. He said, “It’s been great and it’s really helped me adjust to a higher level of competition.” Having selected Boston University over Maine, Boston College, and New Hampshire because, “Coach Parker is the best coach in the country and they have such a great winning tradition.” McConnell, Ryan Whitney, and Justin Maiser have all selected Boston University and they all feel they have a great chance to win the NCAA title and are looking forward playing together for Jack Parker. He is excited about playing for new coach Mike Eaves but will miss the old coaches especially Bob Mancini. This summer McConnell is skating a few times a week and working on a strength training program to add more muscle to his 6’1” 195lb frame. McConnell is part of one of the top recruiting classes in 2001, expect big things from this power forward.
The Ottawa Senators’ forward prospects fall into two main categories. Fast,offensively gifted forwards of European nationality and two-way North Americans.
Obviously there are some exceptions to this rule. Martin Havlat, last years 26th pick over all appears to have some defensive awareness. Although Havlat turns heads with his offence there is a well-rounded game underneath the flash. Occasionally Havlat appears to
lose focus and it is the back of his game that most suffers then. At 6’1″, 178 lbs. he’s got good size which should make defensive play easier, but to make the jump to the North American game Havlat must get used to the physical grind. Second behind Havlat on the
depth chart is Russian winger Petr Schastlivy. Many people got their first glimpse of Schastlivy at the ’98 World Junior Championships in Winnipeg. He is graced with good natural speed, balance and the sort of scoring touch you can’t teach. Mid season play with Read more »