The Lindros family is whining about Eric’s contract, while Dominik Hasek wrapped his sports car around an elm tree, so that can mean only one thing: NHL training camps will soon be opening!
The Buffalo Sabres will begin their formal training camp in Austria on 9/13, with select rookies and prospects travelling to Kitchener, ON for a rookie camp prior to the trip to Austria. With the opening of camp only days away, I thought it would be a good time to offer up my thoughts on the players I consider to be the top 10 prospects in the Sabre organization.
Before listing these 10 players, these are the criteria I used to decide what qualifies a player for prospect status (as opposed to veteran or has-been): · the player must have played in less than 82 NHL games, i.e. a full seasons’ worth of games · the player must be 23 or younger With regard to the game requirement, I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of drafted players that make it to the NHL complete 82 NHL games somewhere between 2-4 years after being drafted. This would put most prospects in the 22-23-age range, which is where my age criteria come into play. Basically, if a player hasn’t had much NHL experience by the time he reaches the age of 23, his chances of making it in the NHL are not very good. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking the rule of 23 holds true in most cases.
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Five swedish junior players – Christian Berglund, Jonas Elofsson and Mikael Holmkvist of Färjestad and the Sedin-twins of MoDo – are finding themselves caught in the middle of a controversy which has lost all proportions.
In mid-june, the five above-mentioned players were selected for a junior-torunament with Sweden’s National Junior Team in Lake Placid and all of them accepted. But, a couple of weeks ago they made a U-Turn and said that they wouldn’t play. Their decision was made after the coaches of their respective clubs had talked to them and said that they needed them for pre-season games which they would miss if they accepted the invitation to play for the national team.
When the coaches spoke to these five players they said something along the lines of “We want you to play all pre-season games, because we feel that you should get the chance to earn yourself a spot as a regular on the team this season”, which could be interpreted as “if you leave you’ll sit on the bench when you get home”. Since neither of these players had been regulars on their team last season, and crucial years of their development are coming up, they felt that they should stay in Sweden and play the pre-season games.
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With Cam Neely possibly making a comeback, this could leave some Bruin prospects out in the cold.
Neely is not likely to make a comeback this season, but if he does it probably would be next season. This would leave a lot of prospects wondering about their futures. Names like Cameron Mann, Randy Robitaille, and Shawn Bates would have to make a huge impact this season if they hope to get a spot on the Boston roster. To fill Neely’s shoes, it would probably take all three of those players; but if he makes a return, likely only one will make the big club and the rest will either sign with other teams or play in Providence.
Cameron Mann looks to be the brightest light of those 3, but don’t leave out Bates, Robitaille, and Joel Prpic. Many scouts are wondering whether Prpic has NHL potential but others claim he has a lot. Bates, who starred at Boston University definitely has NHL potential and Robitaille appears to be close as well. Robitaille was injured in his first game with Boston back in March 1997; he was out for the remainder of the season. He played the 1997-98 campaign in Providence where he was one of the bright spots in what was a dim season.
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Waterloo Blackhawks–PLAYERS LOST (8) Division I Scholarships- Matt
Chandler Miami of Ohio University, Mike LaRocca Quinnipiac College, Matt
Murray U of Wisconsin, Phil Osaer Ferris State University, Ben Plester U
of Wisconsin-River Falls,Mike Ritter Mankato State University, Steve
Savre U of Wisconsin-Stout, Kris SwinneyIona College
PLAYERS RETURNING(9) (goals,assits,points PIM) Keith Stanich D 2-6-8
47, Jake Tesar D 0-1-1 123, BJ Stephens F 16-15-31 36, Nick Stipech F
3-7-10 10, Chris Welch F 3-1-4 0, Travis Wood F, Nick Boileau F 10-16-26
10, Ryan Hale F 16-25-41 52, Tom Ogee F 13-18-31 50
NEW PLAYERS(20) (last years team, stats were available) Mike Bujdos D
Great Falls Americans 11-39-50 89, Cullen Flaherty D North Iowa Huskies,
Craig Florkowski D Niagra Scenic 5-7-12 35, Tom Glavin D Canterbury Prep
School 6-12-18, Nate Wright D Alexandria HS, Jeff Rose F Rhode Island
Sharks 7-15-22 78, Derek Seal F Great Northern Sno Devils, Ian
Sgambelluri F Thunder Bay Flyers 11-13024 137, Anthony
Switek F National Academy 90 goals in 70 games over two years, Joe Exter
G Erie Otters 0-4-0, Nate Nomeland G Fargo North HS, Mike Walsh G
Kimball Union Academy 26 games 2.94 gaa, Jeff Adduono F Smith Falls
Jr.A, Brain Canady F Vail AAA 65-44-109,Aaron Davis F Chicago Freeze
25-40-65 91, Rick Kisskeys F Centennial HS, Brain Knaeble F Eden Prairie
HS, Jim Murphy F St.Paul Johnson HS, Rob Plester F Osoyoos
Heat Read more »
The Plymouth Whalers’ opening preseason game September 6th in Windsor
prompted a couple of related questions:
Are the Plymouth Whalers really that good? Are the Windsor Spitfires
really that bad?
The Whalers dominated from start to finish in hammering Windsor, 8-4.
Plymouth – playing without regulars Harold Druken, Dave Legwand, Scott
Holsinger, Eric Gooldy, Paul Mara and Adam Colagiacomo – led 3-0 after twenty
minutes, 6-1 after two periods. Plymouth received two goals apiece from
Randy Fitzgerald and Rick Smith, singles from Shaun Fisher, Kris Purdy and
rookies Justin Williams and Damian Surma.
Windsor – playing with most of their regulars in the lineup – looked
dazed and confused much of the steamy afternoon.
Yes, the Spits are that bad. So much so that rumors are already flying
that Windsor general manager/head coach Tony Curtale is in trouble.
And – despite the reality that Plymouth could skate this season without
Legwand and Mara – the Whalers scouting staff has come up with some rookies
who look like they can step in and contribute right away. This means the
Whalers will battle Sarnia and London in the top of the OHL West Division.
Plymouth general manager/head coach Pete DeBoer was asked if he
instructed his scouts to come up with players that met specific needs:
“Our scouts have done a fantastic job with this year’s draft class,” Read more »
You can imagine hearing the call now, probably in the year 2001, and no, it won’t necessarily be a space oddity: “The Leafs are on the power play against the Canadians here in the first period at the Air Canada Centre…. They are down in this contest one to nothing….. Markov carries the puck up across the redline and fires it into the Canadians zone…… Antropov digs the puck free in the corner and feeds it behind the net for Sundin………. Sundin flips the puck out front for Johnson who fires from the crease!!….. Big Save for Theodore!!!!!!! Antropov fights free in front for the rebound………. He controls the puck……He shoots and scores!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Leafs tie it up on the powerplay on the goal from Antropov, assisted by Johnson and Sundin.” Is this wishful thinking or reality in waiting?
The Toronto Maple Leafs, that organization with a bit of a sordid, recent draft history pulled off a major shocker by making the forward from Kazakhstan their first round selection, 10th overall, after a trade down with Chicago from the 8th spot in the 1998 NHL entry draft. At first glance, the Leafs’ choice may appear to be a major reach, but further examination may eventually reveal it to be a major find. A consensus of opinions hold Antropov as the “sleeper of the 1998 NHL draft”.
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When talking about the depth and positioning of the Colorado Avalanche over the last 2 seasons, there is one topic that is somewhat of a touchy concern: The lack of an enforcer. 2 seasons ago, after trading disgruntled winger Chris Simon, the Avs thought that they had the replacement in former Isles defenseman Brent Severyn. When he failed to make a lasting impression on the roster, he was left to be taken by the Ducks. Last season, the Avs once again thought that they had a solution when they signed Las Vegas Thunder (IHL) and former Denver Grizzlies winger Jason Simon. When he failed to even make the Avs roster, and struggled to stay on the Hershey(AHL) roster, the Avs were forced to trade a 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh to acquire cheap-shot artist Francois Leroux, and when that failed, they traded prized Czech center Jozef Marha to Anaheim to re-acquire former Avs winger Warren Rychel. Where are these players now? Brent Severyn has recently signed with the Dallas Stars after a lackluster stay with the Ducks. Jason Simon will attend the Avs training camp in Colorado Springs and Vail, but will likely spend the rest of his contractual obligation in Hershey. Francois Leroux is an unrestricted free agent, and has not been invited to the Avs Camp. Maybe he’ll spend the 98-99 season in a religious convent, begging for Pat LaFontaine’s forgiveness. Warren Rychel will probably make the team, but only for his leadership skills.
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In early January ’98 the Saint John Flames looked in trouble. With goaltending problems in Calgary that sent Tyler Moss to the NHL and a knee injury that sidelined J-S Giguere, the flames looked in trouble. Then team scouts pulled an incredible little Russian rabbit out of their hat. That goalie was playing in the UHLs Port Huron Border Cats and was Igor Karpenko, Karpenko got his first shot, coming in after Cory Cadden was pulled with the flames in a 5-4 loss in Copps Coloseum, then the team came home and hosted the Albany River Rats (and some members of this mailing list were in attendance). Albany looked calm and had visions of stealing an easy 2 points from the home team. Then the little russian pulled his magic off, and shut out the powerful Rats and sent many fans home talking about the teams 2nd shutout of the season and some goalie from no-where. Game 2 saw the flames host the Fredericton Canadiens and Karpenko looked incredible once again, the shutout streak remained intact until there was only 8.7 seconds remaining in the 3rd period. Karpenko set an incredible shutout record for the flames at 119minutes and 51.3 seconds. He wasn’t about to leave that quickly, the next night the flames hosted the Portland Pirates and “Little Iggy” did it again shutting the Pirates out 3-0.
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Doug Gilmour bolted the New Jersey Devils as a free agent for big bucks from the Chicago Blackhawks. Obviously one reason the Devils didn’t match the Hawks offer was money, the other reason, center Brendan Morrison. Morrison is a 23 year old centerman who has been compared favorably to Gilmour. Gilmour was asked what he felt about Brendan Morrison when he spoke to reporters shortly after signing with the Blackhawks. “I think he’s a good kid. I think he can step up, but the thing with Brendan is whether he can do it over 82 games. It’s a little more physical, a little different. But one reason the Devils didn’t come harder to get me was because they had this kid. Brendan has the ability to be a bigtime scorer at this level.” Devils GM/President Lou Lamoriello was asked what he felt about Morrison now that Gilmour was no longer a Devil, his answer was short and to the point, “I feel that Brendan Morrison is an extremely elite player, this means he’ll be getting the prime time he needs.” Morrison played this past season mostly with the Albany River Rats(AHL) worked on his defense and tenacity with much success, and in 72 games scored 35 goals, had 49 assists for a total of 84 pts leading the team in scoring in his rookie season. He was recalled by the Devils for his 3rd and longest stint of the season for the final seven games of the NHL season, in the wake of a severe knee injury suffered by Gilmour and fresh off a five, thats right a FIVE goal outburst the previous game for the River Rats. Morrison ignited the stagnant Devils offense by scoring 4 goals and 4 assists in t Read more »
Well, in a flurry of off-season moves, the Penguins have paved the way for a youth movement. The financial woes of a franchise that has lost close to 20 million dollars in two years has forced it to let their captain and future Hall of Famer, Ron Francis, go to Carolina via free agency. They also stand to lose Frederick Olausson, one of the teams’ most consistent defenseman in the same manner. Unfortunately, it will take the youth in the organization some time to make up for the loss of 120 points of scoring and 29 years of NHL experience.
In June the Penguins started off by signing 1996 draftees, Craig Hillier, Michal Rozsival, and Boris Protsenko while letting Boyd Kane and Peter Bergman go back into the draft. They then dealt injury prone Ken Wregget and Dave Roche to the Calgary Flames for two Left wings, German Titov and Todd Hlushko, adding depth to a weak left side. They then dealt holdout Josef Beranek to the Oilers for Defenseman Bobby Dollas and Center Tony Hrkac, who would eventually be taken in the expansion draft by Nashville. The draft saw the Penguins add to an already long list of centers by selecting six more as well as adding two goaltenders, a left wing and a defenseman. The Penguins went to Europe again selecting Czech Milan Kraft in the first round and Russian Alexander Zevakhin in the second.
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