If there is one team in the NHL that is a testament to good drafting and player development, that team is the Buffalo Sabres. In addition to the Sabres’ appearance in this year’s Stanley Cup finals, their farm club the Rochester Americans made the 1999 Calder Cup finals in the AHL. The roster of both of these teams is dotted with Sabre draft picks, as well as young players acquired from other organizations.
The foundation for the current organizational success was built during the John Muckler era. Prior to Muckler’s stint as GM, the Sabres lacked a cohesive drafting philosophy, instead jumping from one drafting trend to another. The result of this haphazard approach to the draft was several lean years for the Sabre organization.
Once John Muckler assumed the GMs duties, however, the Sabre organization moved from chaos to cohesion, at least with respect to their drafting philosophy. The emphasis moved from the grab-bag approach of years past, to one that emphasized the drafting of bigger and feistier players (mostly Canadian) that possessed good skating ability. This approach landed current Sabres Curtis Brown, Wayne Primeau, Erik Rasmussen and Jay McKee. Darcy Regier has since taken over the duties as Sabres’ GM, and he appears to have taken the “If-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach. Regier has taken only a slightly different tack in that the Sabres are drafting more Europeans than they had previously, but the emphasis on size, speed and character still remains.
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The 2nd year of transition has come and passed in Florida with success. After going for quick success, the Panthers started the rebuilding process in 1997 and 1998-99 looks like a success. After years of bust draft picks, traded away prospects, and terrible rookies (Washburn, for example), the Class of 1999 offers hope for the Panthers for many years to come.
The graduate class of 1999 includes the goal-scoring Mark Parrish, BIG Peter Worrell, the flashy Oleg Kvasha, and the most anonymous Czech Olympian: Jaroslav Spacek.
Here is a review of the 1999 graduates. They all performed well in certain areas, but also need a lot of work in other areas. 3 of the 4 had short AHL stints as their apprenticeship came to a completion. This is Part 1 of a 3-Part Panthers Prospects Review Series, the other 2 will come out early next month.
Mark Parrish – LW (73 games, 24g-13a-37pts 25pim).
A gifted natural goal-scorer, Mark Parrish wowed the Panthers brass with a scorching pre-season, and continued his hot streak into the regular season with a 2-goal effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning. His early season exploits also included a 4-goal game against the Blackhawks, and another 2-goal effort (Both goals in a 2-1 win) in Philadelphia.
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Calgary starts the third season in its official re-building with the 1999 Entry Draft. For a franchise suffering with a low-budget and with many long term needs to fill, drafting good players becomes a key to long term competitiveness. The Flames already have a very solid core of good young prospects, with Hockeysfuture giving the nod to the Flames as the orginization with the best group of young prospects in the NHL. Now is the time where Calgary will need a solid draft again in order to solidify its position and its talent going into the next millenium.
Best Player vs Needs
Without a doubt Calgary will draft the best player available for the early rounds of this draft. The team identified several needs in last years draft, but always selected the best player available regardless of need. The needs list from last years draft will apply once again this year.
The Flames would like to draft skill, size and character with this draft, although they have shown in recent times that size will take a back seat to skill and character. In last years draft, the Flames went with talented players that demonstrated the attitudes and leadership that they think a player requires in order to succeed at the NHL level, especially during the early rounds of the draft. Skating ability remains important to the Flames when drafting. The Flames have made mistakes in the past by drafting players whose skating was suspect and will not make that mistake again.
…and those needs are… Read more »
With the Penguins out of the playoffs and straight into bankruptcy court, Pittsburgh fans are left wondering if there will be another season of NHL hockey in Pittsburgh. Will they be moved to another city, disbanded by the league, or will they come through this for the second time in team history. With a court date not scheduled until June 24th, the Penguins future may not be known until the draft is right upon us. But, if they do survive to play another season, look for some salary cutting to occur.
The draft will be the first offseason test for the Penguins, as they will not be doing much in the way of trades and signing until the bankruptcy situation is settled. As with any team, the Penguins will probably pick the best player available with their first few picks. The speculation always seems to be that they will go to Europe, most likely the Czech Republic, with their first pick. But, I wouldn’t count on that happening. At the 18th spot, there will likely be better talent than another Czech player. Three players who should be given a serious look by the Penguins are Barrett Heisten, Jeff Jillson, and Alexander Buturlin, all three should be available at the 18th pick and are solid picks. Jillson and Heisten are both aggressive and could privide some much needed toughness, Buturlin is creative and highly skilled. The Penguins could definitely use some depth atleft wing as well as some size on the blueline.
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Dallas has the misfortune of picking at #28 of the first round this year, but they may not stay there though. Much like last year the Stars could very well move down in the draft, but they might just move up this year.
This would be a rather interesting occurrence, as the competition between Detroit and Dallas for a top five pick could be rather delicious. As for who the Stars might be moving up to get, look no farther than Jamie Lundmark-C (Moosejaw, WHL). He has the intangibles Dallas covets, and also has the skills and speed that Dallas sorely needs at the center position. Although the price to move up that high to get Jamie would be rather costly, this move could still be a very real possibility.
Since the Stars still have the #28 pick, we can only speculate as to who they might select in that particular slot. A good place to begin this speculation is with a brief look at some of the tendencies associated with a Dallas draft.
Covet These Traits
Intangibles (includes work-ethic, desire, & leadership)
Defensive Responsibilty / Two-way Play
In recent years they have shown an increased interest in European bred talent. For example, in 1997 they selected five Europeans out of a total of nine overall picks. In 1998 they selected a total of three Europeans out of a total of six overall picks. Whether this is due to the signability/re-entry issue, or a realization of the Euros higher skill level, the Stars have noticeably increased their selection of overseas player. Read more »
The last three years, the Sharks have aggressively traded on draft day to trade up for either a second pick in the first round, or an early first round pick. In 1996, the Sharks traded two second round picks to Chicago, obtaining the 21st selection in the first round, picking Marco Sturm. In 1997, the Sharks traded a second and third round pick to Carolina to pick defenseman Scott Hannan with the 23rd selection in the first round. In 1998, the Sharks traded down one spot, moving from the second to the third, and obtaining the first selection in the 2nd round, choosing Jonathan Cheechoo with the 29th overall selection in the draft.
So far, each of these trades has proven beneficial to the Sharks. Marco Sturm has proved to be one of the Sharks main players this year, proving his worth, although at the time, many San Jose fans feared another European draft, from the year before. In picking Scott Hannan, the Sharks chose a player on my top five list of underrated prospects. Swiping Hannan out from underneath teams like Colorado and Detroit very well may prove to be a great move for the Sharks. Last year, people really scratched their heads at the Sharks trading down one spot, passing up on David Legwand, and picking Brad Stuart. Now, it looks like that move may turn out best for the Sharks as well. In addition, they picked up the first pick in the second round to pick up a player who very well may turn out to be a good player in Jonathan Cheechoo, although he is a project.
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These are best case optimist choices for the 1999 draft with the hopes these guys drop in most spots.
# 4 Henrik Stefan C 6’2” 190 RH MoDo
# 23 Nick Boynton D 6’2″ 210 RD Ottawa
# 36 Evan Lindsay G 6’1” 180
(watch the name he is climbing up the charts)
# 57 Tony Samuelson LW 5’10″ 177 RH IFK
# 91 David Inman C 6’1″ 190 LH Notre Dame
#123 Konstantin Panov RW 6’0” 180 RH Kamloops (WHL)
#179 Adam Jihnson D 6’6” 220 LD Greenway, Minn (HS)
#180 Tom Kostopolous RW 6’1” 205 RH London (OHA)
#207 Michael Leighton G 6’2’ 175 SR Windsor (OHA)
#234 Andre Lakos D 6’6” 210 RD Barrie (OHA)
#235 Ivan Rachunek F 5’8” 165 LH ZPS Zlin
Why would the Blackhawks management bring in Brendl, Lundmark, and Connolly to Chicago as they did June 12th? Well, if you don’t bring them in, the other teams won’t think you are really interested in dropping unless they see you doing interviews….
Well because you may drop down if you feel that ”The GUY” is someone really rated lower. (Remember how Toronto knew this when they traded down two slots from #8 to #10 with the Bell -Antropov switch.) You could work the board and add picks by dropping one slot at a time….
You don’t know what teams might offer for #4 until right before the draft, what do you do, when and if the hawks see the FEEDING FRENZY…so what “might-could” happen?
Here are some off the wall possibilities
1)LA offers Aki Berg plus #8
2) You do trade with Isles and drop one….or
3) Or maybe Rangers are working the proposed Palffy deal with Isles and they will need to get to Hawk pick in some trade combo where they want the Hawk pick TO DEAL WITH ISLANDERS, or the palffy trade will yield picks for the Isles that may be used to get the #4 pick.
4) Or maybe the reported trade talks with Vancouver yields Mogilny and McCabe, so the Blackhawks get “respectable” instead of a potential star.
4) Hawks acquire Bryan Allen and Mogilny a more than fair return at #4
5) Hawks acquire Olhund one up for the pick. (Doubtful because he is untoucable)
6) Hawks deal the 4th for all for all Washington’s second rounders or a combo of #7 + Read more »
Before the trade deadline in this past season, the Montreal Canadiens dealt two of their top veterans: captain Vincent Damphousse, who is one of the three Canadiens left from the 1993 Stanley Cup win, and assistant captain Mark Recchi, who led the team in goals three out of the four years that he was wearing the Red, White and Blue.
Both Recchi and Damphousse were dealt for the future; Recchi to Philly for Zubrus and a draft pick, Damphousse to San Jose for a second and fifth round draft pick. However, there was a stipulation. If the Sharks made the second round in the playoffs, with Damphousse averaging at least a point per game, Montreal would get the Sharks’ first round draft pick. Also, if San Jose re-signed Damphousse, Montreal would get the Sharks’ first round pick, rather than their second. It was rumoured the San Jose Sharks were vigorously attempting to re-sign Vince Damphousse. Last night Damphousse signed with the Sharks to a four year $18 million dollar contract.
It seemed as if Montreal was finally doing what was needed: rebuilding. Hold on there; Montreal rebuilding, isn’t that an oxymoron? Not only would the fans not accept it, but more importantly, the Molsons wouldn’t get that playoff revenue. Unfortunately for the prospects wasting away in Fredericton (soon to be Quebec City), the Habs officially ended their rebuilding process once they dealt their first round pick to the New York Islanders for veteran Trevor Linden.
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This season, the Ducks have the 15th overall pick in the 1st round, followed by the 45th overall pick in the second round. The Ducks this year should obviously be looking to not only become a better team, but to have their top selection in the lineup as early as next season.
For Anaheim, their main problem is offensive help for the trio of Kariya, Selanne, and Rucchin. This year’s draft offers plenty of gifted offensive players, however, most of the pure scoring talent will likely be gone by the time the 15th pick rolls around. The Ducks, besides needing offensive help, also need a good backup goaltender to help Guy Hebert out, and also, a more pressing need, more help on the back line.
With the 15th overall pick, I believe the Ducks will try to pick up Taylor Pyatt, the left-winger from the Sudbury Wolves. Not only does Pyatt have great size (6’4″, 215lbs.) but he is not only physical, but he can score, too. Other forwards the Ducks are eyeing include Oleg Saprykine and Brett Lysak. As far as the blue line goes, defenseman Branislav Mezei and his huge 6’5″, 221lbs., frame seem to fit the mold of what the Ducks are looking for.
Although the Ducks need a backup goalie, I doubt they will pick one up until later in the draft. So, there you have it, my take on what the Ducks will do in the 1999 Entry Draft. I might be right, I might be wrong. We’ll all just have to wait till draft day to see…