Though the promise was to go defense today, the Hawks did quite well at forward too. And a drop down deal today brought two additional picks.
San Jose was again this year, a willing participant in taking the #106 pick for San Jose’s #119, 186 and 216 picks.
The Hawks opened the fourth round taking RH D Brent MacLellan of Halifax, Nova Scotia with pick #104.
In talking to the 6’3″ 210 pounder, I asked the Rimouski defenseman how he thought he ended up a Blackhawk and he answered, “Good interview.” He was a likable conversationalist, who didn’t dodge my question of how he was known for his hitting and clear out abilities, but that scouts thought he didn’t make improvements this season. He answered that he thought he played the last third of the season strong and aggressively, and his “problem” early on is he started thinking he was a end rusher and scorer and forgot what got him where he was. (He usually makes the smart pass out the defensive zone.) Known to protect teammates,he was the alternate captain on team Orr at the 2001 prospects game.He will be at the Hawk camp in July and he said and knows that he can build stamina.
With pick #115, Mike Smith made his second annual western Russia pick ala Radulov last draft. It was virtual unknown Vladimir Gusev, a LHD who is 6’1″ 189 lber who played at Khabarovsk in Russia.
Pick #119 was LH Forward from the Russian superleague named Aleksey Zotkin, a 6 foot 200 lber from Magnitogorsk where he had 2 goals and 5 points in 40 games along with 34 pims. Neither was at the draft.
The fifth round is where I felt th Read more»
Fate just put me there. An innocent draft watcher just waiting for my Blackhawks to change their fate. I never thought I would be smack dab in the middle of a snafu that certainly made draft history. I just happened to be sitting in section with Chiodo entourage: Andy, his parents, friends, agent,advisors,and coach Dave Cameron. There was talk about how Atlanta had made inroads and were definitely interested in taking the young goaltender. As a new franchise they were looking for help in net and Chiodo is a young man who handles adversity well. The every fact that he had to share time in net on the Toronto St. Petes with Peter Budaj probably had already weaken his hold on a draft slot. Loss of starts means lack of showcase by NHL scouts.
As the 5th round cranked into the fourth pick, the voice at the podium blared out, “Atlanta Thrashers pick, from St. Mike’s of the OHA, Andy Chiodo.”
There was the usual celebration with the draftee, alone, making his way to the floor to meet the team’s management. Usually photos and baseball cap fittings ensued.
Not this time.
We all watched as Andy Chiodo made his way back to his seat to the bewilderment of his following. Andy returned and quietly explained why he was no longer on the hallowed draft floor. I tried hard to hear as Andy quietly repeated the story to members of his enclave. Apparently Atlanta, though interested in him, also had Colorado College’ Colin Stuart on their board. When a team decides, the name goes two places. One to the central registry which is the official pick and the other to the podium. Ap Read more»
Every team has to build somehow. General Manager Brian Burke and Assistant GM David Nonis have done an excellent job in taking the Canucks from doormats to a success story in the money-driven NHL of today is remarkable. Burke and Co have been able to build through the draft, acquiring players such as Bryan Allen, Artem Chubarov, the Sedins, Brandon Reid, and now, R.J. Umberger, and that’s only in three seasons since taking over.
The Canucks have never been a model of draft excellence. Blunders such as Shawn Antoski, Alek Stojanov, Libor Polasek, and others, have been more or less forgotten since Nonis and Burke took over a couple of years back. They have instilled a mode of confidence in the players, management, and most importantly, the fans.
Even though Bryan Allen hasn’t arrived full time, (Which can be excused because of his various injuries) Burke has had a multitude of success in developing players, and drafting the best player available, rather than picking for a need, and that strategy has served him very well, as there is nothing to suggest that the good luck won’t continue.
Burke and Company strolled up on to the Draft podium and announced that their first pick in 2001 was R.J. Umberger. Umberger, who is is power-forward type of player. He slipped to the Canucks which was probably due, in small part, to the Oilers making a reach for Ales Hemsky at number thirteen.
The one problem with Umberger, however, is that he always leaves scouts wanting more. For someone with his size, he should be invo Read more»
A summary of activity in the Maple Leafs’ Camp on the second day of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
The names, generally, are not as well known as the ones called in the earlier rounds. In many ways, however, it is the second day of the draft that really separates the successful franchises from the pretenders. The truest gauge of any organization’s scouting prowess is the ability to unearth hidden gems in rounds 5 through 9 (long after many observers have essentially lost interest in the proceedings).
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the players selected by the Maple Leafs on Day Two.
Kyle Wellwood (C – Belleville, OHL) : The 2000/2001 OHL scoring champion wouldn’t have been there for the Maple Leafs in round five if there weren’t some serious reservations about his long term pro potential. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, Wellwood certainly doesn’t have ideal NHL size and his skating is average at best. Many scouts give much of the credit for Kyle’s scoring title to line mates Randy Rowe and Branko Radivojevic, both of whom also finished in the top five. To be fair, Wellwood has a wide range of offensive skills (especially puckhandling and playmaking) and was superlative for the Bulls this season. Though drafting is largely a matter of judging a player’s potential, there should always be room to recognize outstanding performance as well.
Max Kondratiev (D – Togliatti, Russia) : Kondratiev is a swift rearguard who represented his country at the Under-18 Tournament this year. Maxim is 6-1 but u Read more»
Jason Spezza has been talked about in hockey circles for years. Ever since he was 15 years old this kid was tabbed as a future superstar. He has incredible vision and a touch with the puck. He is smooth, great touch with the puck to go with great vision and great hockey sense. He sees the ice exceptionally well and has great size to go with the package. The “Special One” as he has been tabbed, has had a much maligned hockey career since he came on the scene with the Brampton Battalion. He then moved on to the Missisauga IceDogs and possibly hindered his development with ignorant coaches and managers. Don Cherry loved this kid but didn’t make him a better player. Thus, Spezza asked for a trade, got it and with it, much criticism. He led the Windsor Spitfires to the playoffs with a 2 point a game pace almost winning the scoring title playing less games than the winner, Kyle Wellwood. Spezza played pretty well for Canada in the World Juniors, but he didn’t dominate even though he had already been through one tournament. With such a long career in the spotlight tabbed as Canada’s developmental savior, came much criticism. People started to question his work ethic and desire to succeed, as well as his skating. He is 6’3 and over 200 pounds. He is a big man and can skate. His upside is being a “one” the category consisting of only Gretzky, Lemieux and Lindros. And the downside of being a Jason Allison (90+ points a season).
For GM Marshall Johnston to pull of such a deal, getting rid of the fan’s favorite target Alexei Yashin, and receiving a future superstar in Spezz Read more»