The New York Rangers have one of the deepest group of talented goaltending prospects, rivaling only a few teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into developing potential NHL goalies. Although the current goaltending for the Rangers in the NHL is questionable, with Mike Richter rehabbing a second torn ACL and no current back, their are not many doubts about the prospects playing all over the world between the pipes for the Rangers.
When the Rangers selected goaltender Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL 10th Overall this past draft, it left many Rangers’ fans shaking their heads. “Why another goaltender?” was a common phrase that was being used. But, in today’s NHL, you can never have enough goaltending. Goaltending wins championships, and if you don’t have an excellent goalie between the pipes, don’t expect your team to go far. The selection of Blackburn reminded me of the situation with the New Jersey Devils two years ago. With Martin Brodeur in his prime and the fact the team just drafted goaltender JF Damphousse in the 1st Round of the 1997 Entry Draft, the Devils selected goaltender Ari Ahonen from Finland in the 1st round of the 1999 Draft. This move puzzled many fans as well.
Now a little more than two years later, the selection is looking like a great one for the Devils. Martin Brodeur’s play has clearly been slipping over the last year and a half, and Ahonen is arguably one of the top goalt Read more»
Of all the players drafted this year, Stephen Weiss might have been the most complete and well-rounded of the top players. Blessed with natural offensive instincts and a solid scoring touch around the net, Stephen makes his teammates better due to his unselfish play and very good hockey sense. Former Whalers Asst. Coach Steve Spott on his star center “Stephen Competes very hard, He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions on the ice, he is very intelligent that way.” To go with the natural instincts, Weiss is an effortless skater with excellent speed, acceleration and can outskate and outplay his opponents in one-on-one situations.
Stephen’s smaller stature might have been the only thing keeping him back from going higher in the draft, but Stephen doesn’t let his average size hold him back in all ends of the ice “The offensive Stuff is god-given, and he (Stephen) can do that anyways, but he has made a conscious decision to play well defensively, and that is why he is such a complete player.” This effort to play in all zones and be considered a threat whenever he is on the ice, is what made Stephen stand out to the Panthers as well. Stephen is a good fore-checker and will put the team ahead of personal statistics.
While he excelled in the OHL in faceoffs, it becomes a different skill altogether in the NHL, According to Steve Spott “In junior hockey, sometimes, you get in a habit where the importance of faceoffs aren’t stressed enough. That is something he will have to continue to work on and technically he is very good, but along with his s Read more»
1. Peter Forsberg- (Avalanche) While missing around 10 games last year
due to injuries, Forsberg still managed to put up very good numbers (62
assists, 89 points). An injury-free year could mean a career year for
Forsberg, who could possibly win the scoring title.
2. Mario Lemieux- (Penguins) After coming out of retirement last season
to help the struggling Penguins, Lemieux jump started the Penguins and
led them to the playoffs. The talented Lemieux will put up points, but
he will take games off to rest and might miss the absence of one of the
world’s most talented players, Jaromir Jagr, more than he might think.
3. Joe Sakic- (Avalanche) The league’s Most Valuable Player last season
showed no signs of slowing down. If Sakic can stay healthy he
could once again challenge for the scoring title. With the help of the
high-powered Avalanche offence Sakic should have a 50 goal 50 assist
4. Doug Weight- (Blues) Weight, who was traded to the Blues during the
summer, will find joy in playing with Keith Tckchuk and Pavol Demitra.
A change of scenery was something that Weight needed, and he could have
a 90-point season, but only 25 of those points being goals.
5. Jason Allison- (Bruins) Allison, who had a career year last year,
will probably not be in Boston by season’s start. After a 95-point
season last year, there are not many reasons why he should not repeat
that total, besides the fact that he might be playing on a weak team or
holding-out. Allison could finish the season in th Read more»
The Coyotes’ 1st Round pick in the 2000 Draft, center Krystofer Kolanos from Boston College, is telling the team he would like to sign a contract and leave school for the pro ranks. Although Kolanos has not hired an agent yet, he said with the transition period the Coyotes are going through and the influx of young players they are bringing in, the time is right to leave school. NCAA rules strictly state that while attending college, players can not hire agents nor participate in training camp with any teams. Kolanos is going to try and work out a contract with the Coyotes without the help of an agent, so if the deal falls through, he can still remain with BC.
If Kolanos is signed to a deal, he has the talent to make this team right out of training camp. He capped off an excellent season with Boston College, registering 25 goals and 25 assists in 41 games. Being cut from the Canadian team for the 2001 World Junior Championships was a huge disappointment for Krys, but he capped off his excellent season in dynamic fashion by scoring the game winning goal against North Dakota on a nifty deke in overtime to win the NCAA Championship for Boston College. A season in the minors would definitely help him get accustomed to the faster-paced NHL game, but coming out of college Kolanos has an advantage over players in junior hockey, as college players play against older competition in 24 and 25 year olds, while also playing responsibly defensively, since there is no red-line in college hockey, meaning teams can make two-line passes leading to lots of breakaways. It will b Read more»
The Canadiens opened their annual rookie development camp on Monday. Unlike last year, when the team chose to invite mostly signed, or drafted prospects, the Habs chose instead to invite fifteen non-property invitees (16 if we include Dusty Jamieson) to go along with sixteen prospects who are already considered Montreal property.
Here’s a quick look at the three goalies, seven defensemen, and five forwards who the Habs hope to have a solid look at during the 11-day camp.
The top goaltender in the CIAU last season. He recorded a 1.91 GAA, and a .931 save percentage to go along with 5 shutouts in 18 games. He finished with a 15-0-2 record, and led UQTR to the CIAU Men’s Championship.
An 18 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 3.25 GAA, and a .891 save percentage in 35 games with Acadie-Bathurst. Finished with a 15-13-2 record.
A 17 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 2.96 GAA, and a .882 save percentage in 21 games with Shawinigan. Finished with a 12-4-4 record.
Jeff Beatch (6’5″, 188 lbs.)
The 20 year-old defenseman recorded 11 points (2-9-11) in 71 games with Seattle of the WHL. He finished the season +1, with 67 minutes in penalties.
Mike Colgan (6’3″, 204 lbs.)
The 21 year-old defenseman recorded 13 points (1-12-13) in 41 games during his senior season with Colorado College of the WCHA. He finished the season with 20 minutes in penalties.
Kevin Dallman (5’11”, Read more»