Heading into the morning right before the draft, the NCRC was abuzz with many rumors of trades and declarations among pontificating beat writers as to whom their team will be selecting with their picks.
Shane and myself arrived very early in the morning to scope out and claim our spot on the press table, right in the front row! Elation turned to displeasure when we found out our neighbors at the table were all really big men, reducing the space available for us to work. Sitting amongst radio media, Television media, and beat writers for every team, the early morning quickly turned into the rumor pit.
Amongst the rumors that started our day out and quickly got us out of early morning stupor, was the unconfirmed news of Alexie Yashin going to the Islanders, Michael Peca going to Florida for the #4, Doug Weight going to Chicago for Daze, McCarthy, and Mark Bell. Dominik Hasek was rumored to be going to 7 different teams, Valerie Bure going to Chicago and Florida, and finally, Eric Lindros for Federov and Aaron Ward. Of course, most of these never happened, which brings us to……
Official trades of Day 1 of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
– Ottawa trades C Alexei Yashin to the NY Islanders for the Islanders 1st round pick (2nd overall: Jason Spezza), D Zdeno Chara, and RW Bill Muckalt.
– Toronto trades C Igor Korelev to Chicago for Philadelphia’s 3rd round pick (88th overall: C Nicolas Corbeil)
– Montreal trades it 4th round pick (104th overall) to Chicago for D Stephane Quintal.
– Calgary trades its 1st round pick (11th Read more»
On Day One of the 2001 Entry Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins managed to stear clear of Europe and selected three Canadians and one American youngster.
The Pens selected Colby Armstrong in round 1, 21 overall. (Many speculated that they would target Czech’s Hemsky or Krajicek, who went 13 and 24 respectively in round one) Armstrong, a native of Lloydminster, Saskatoon played for Red Deer of the WHL in 2000/01. He is 6’1″ 180lbs. and plays the right wing.
Round 2 saw the focus shift to defense. Noah Welch was picked 54 overall. The 6’3″ 212lbs. defender hails from Brighton, Mass. and played for St. Sebastians high school last season.
Round three selections included defenseman Drew Fata, the 86 pick, from Sault St. Marie, Ontario. Fata, at 6’1″ 211lbs. skated for Tor.St. Michaels in the OHL. Picked 96 overall in round three was blue-liner Alexander Rouleau from Mont-Laurier, Quebec. Roleau, at 6’0 180lbs. suited up for Val D’or of the QMJHL this past campaign.
The Penguins confined their first four selections (of nine this year) to North Americans. They made no moves to secure a higher first round slot with a trade and in fact, Jaromir Jagr was allowed to begin his vacation in the Czech Republic. This leads many to believe that the Jagr trade will not materialize this weekend.
The Pens put an early emphasis on restocking their stable of defenseman, leading to speculation that several current prospects may see big league action sooner than later. RW Armstrong is expected to bring a little grit to the forward position.
The Rangers dealt their 3rd round pick (74th overall) to the Minnesota Wild for their 3rd rounder (79th) and their 5th rounder (139th). The Rangers proceeded to take Regina Pats C/LW Garth Murray with the 79th pick. The 5th rounder is a bonus for the Rangers, who dealt their 5th rounder to Colorado earlier in the season for Alexei Gusarov, who was then traded for Peter Smrek.
The second trade saw the Rangers ship away young defenseman Burke Henry to the Calgary Flames in return for young defenseman Chris St. Croix. St. Croix was drafted in the 4th round by the Flames in 1997. He is labeled as a two-way defenseman who plays physical in his own zone. He is a good skater and makes some good decisions on the ice. Whether he will be able to make the NHL is not known at this time, but he should see a few more years in the minors.
The ESPN2 announcers during the draft announced that it was likely the Rangers would deal Adam Graves to the San Jose Sharks for one or two prospects/minor leaguers. In this proposed deal, the Rangers would be eating about half of Adam Graves’ salary for this upcoming season. Personally, If Graves was to leave this team, I would rather see him traded and get something in return, instead of seeing him bought out and us losing nothing but money. However, either way I don’t want to see Graves traded, as he is an asset to this club in the locker room and he comes up big during the playoffs. Although, dealing him away for marginal prospects with little hope of making the NHL does not help us in any way, shape or form, in my opinion. I believe he c Read more»
The Rangers headed into the draft looking to take either Dan Blackburn or Pascal Leclaire, two goaltenders labeled as future franchise players, with the 10th overall selection. A lot of people thought that if they did happen to get one of them, it would be Pascal Leclaire. Minnesota was rumored to like Blackburn at 6th overall, and if they didn’t take him, he would be scooped up 9th overall by the Blackhawks. But the Blackhawks opted for Tuomo Ruutu, and it didn’t take long for General Manager Glen Sather and Assistant General Manager Don Maloney to walk up to the podium and select the 6’0 180 pound Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Dan Blackburn at 10th overall is a great selection. He will be a great player down the road. The Rangers filled a desperate need by drafting a goaltender in Blackburn, and they also took the best player available. The Rangers have already said they will not re-sign goaltender Kirk McLean, who is a free agent, and they have told Guy Hebert that he can talk to other teams to try and find a new home. Add in Mike Richter still recovering from a torn ACL in both knees, the goaltending for the Rangers looks shaky. Johan Holmqvist is still developing in Hartford and he could turn out to be a starter some day, and the Rangers have other goaltending prospects in Vitali Yeremeyev, Jason Labarbera, Johan Asplund and Henrik Lundqvist, but the Rangers felt Blackburn was the real deal and they proceded with the selection. Many scouts felt Blackburn was the best goaltender in the draft and would be the first Read more»
1. Atlanta Thrashers
Ilya Kovalchuk, Left Winger
After much deliberation, the Thrashers decided to keep the pick and select the clear consensus #1 pick, Ilja Kovalchuk. Destined to be a franchise player, Kovalchuk possesess all the attributes of a superstar. Blazing speed, the ability to take over a game, nastiness, Scoring touch and elite skills. On the downside, he brings with him the ego and brashness of the superstar, but at a young age.
“I understand it is a young team, but I will do the best I can to make it stronger and I understand and I want to do that.”
2. Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza, Center
Acquired the #2 pick, Bill Muckalt, and Zdeno Chara from the Islanders for Alexei Yashin. The Sens selected Jason to become the centerman of the future. Until early this year, he was the consensus #1 pick until a combination of over-analysis from scouts and the emergence of Kovalchuk knocked Spezza down to #2. Blessed with an amazing on-ice vision and top notch skill, along with great playmaking and stickhandling skills, Jason will soon become a media and fan favorite all through Canada and the rest of the NHL. But did the Islanders give up too much to get Yashin?
“I’m trying to fill the void (left by Yashin). I’ll go in there and ease my way in and try and do as much as I can. I’m pretty excited. It’s pretty awesome.”
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
Alexander Svitov, Center Read more»