Mike Jones left Bowling Green University for his first professional season of hockey with high hopes. Unfortunately, rather than getting what he hoped for, he ended up spending the season in the horrid conditions present with the IHL’s worst team, the Detroit Vipers. The entire team struggled from the season’s open until its close. Little leadership and experience was provided for the youngest team in the league. This was detrimental to the development of young prospects, who were supported only by themselves and led by a rookie coach. Other NHL teams provided their IHL affiliates with veterans for their prospects to learn from, but not the Lightning.
At 23, Marek Posmyk was one of the older prospects for the Vipers last season. He was expected to make a significant impact, but instead suffered through numerous injuries and spent almost half of the season watching from the sidelines. His seven goals and 14 assists were second on the team among defensemen, but he failed to show the physical game that would bring him back to the NHL and set his career in motion.
When Posmyk was acquired from Toronto in the Darcy Tucker/Mike Johnson deal, it was obvious he was a project—but worth a shot to an organization with little prospect depth and a hunger for big blueliners. Due to injuries in Tampa, he was able to play 18 games with the Lightning immediately following his acquisition. He contributed a goal and two assists, as well as a plus-1 rating. The Lightning, coincidentally, played close to .500 hockey for those 18 games. Prior to that stint, he re Read more»
It’s time to make something clear: Jeff Jillson is a legitimate Calder candidate this year. After signing a contract with the San Jose Sharks in May, 2001, Jillson skipped the senior college year in Michigan to officially turn pro. However, joining a blueline that includes Marcus Ragnarsson, Mike Rathje, Brad Stuart, Bryan Marchment, Scott Hannan and Gary Suter will not be an easy assignment. Jeff will have to show a lot of determination at camp to earn serious playing time come regular season.
But if you ask Jeff Jillson, he’ll tell you that he will not despair. Throughout his career, he has played through numerous obstacles and difficulties. Although the NHL is not at all like college, Jillson will demonstrate as much effort and endurance as he does on any ice surface. At the age of 21, he still has weaknesses and will be expected to show more consistency than in the past, but Jeff’s decision to remain in college for a sophomore year turned out to be crucial. Despite a disappointing showing for the United States at the U-20 World Junior Championships, many would agree that Jillson took a major step ahead in his development.
Jillson was first noticed as a high schooler, playing for Mount Saint Charles in Woonsocket, Main; the same team that had won 21 consecutive state titles, which contributed to the pressure already on Jeff’s shoulders. Needless to say, Jillson did not disappoint; he dominated at the high school level, and was a three-time all-state honoree. In addition, he earned the Sports Illustrated/Old Spice Athlete of the Month h Read more»
Beginning in 1989, Marko played 2 years with his hometown team, KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish Elite League. Originally a 9th round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1992, Marko then moved to North America to attend Clarkson University. In four years at Clarkson, Marko accumulated 190 points in 135 games. In 1994-95, Marko was summoned to
Edmonton for a four game cup of coffee. Although he went pointless, he did show excellent defensive awareness, finishing the stint with an even plus/minus. Later in 1995, he reported to the Oilers farm team, the Cape-Breton Oilers and the year after to the Hamilton Bulldogs, all the
while posting solid numbers.
Expecting more scoring from him, the Oilers chose not to renew Marko’s entry-level contract after the 1997 season. Marko chose to return to Finland and HIFK Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League. Impressed with his defensive skills, Helsinki assigned Marko to a
checking role in which he excelled. Even though he was used in a
defensive role, he still managed to tally 50 points in 94 games over a
two-year period. Not bad for a guy that was supposed to shadow the
oppositions top players.
Early in 1999 the Los Angeles Kings, impressed with Marko’s
well-rounded game, signed him to a free agent contract through the 2001
season. Marko ended up playing right wing on the Kings third and fourth
lines. He played 63 games, logging quality minutes on the top PK unit
in addition to his regular shifts (he finished with 17 points, scoring
both on the PP and PK). In 2000, due to the Kings depth at forward
( Read more»
One of the candidates for the goalie position at the Olympic games in Germany’s national team, Oliver Jonas, the ECAC Goalie of the Year 2001, taking the time to answer questions from Hockey’s Future. Germany’s HF Editor OJ (Oliver Janz) talked with Goalie OJ (Oliver Jonas) about his first steps, the time in north america, the olympic games 2002 and many many more. To learn to know more about Jonas
click here for his profile, to read more about his chances to be named to the Olympic roster click here.
Picture: Oliver Jonas, the number one with the #1 on his Harvard jersey.
HF: Hello Oliver Jonas, how do you feel and what are you doing in Germany right now?
OJ: Thanks, i’m feeling excell Read more»
Hello, and welcome to my third installment in a four-part series of season previews for the Vancouver Canucks and their youngsters. This week I will take a look at the possibilities this season for: 2000 First-rounder Nathan Smith, 1996 First-rounder Josh Holden, 1996 Third-rounder Zenith Komarniski, and 2000 Third-rounder Thatcher Bell.
I’m not completely finished updating all of the site’s profiles, so please bear with me while I do so, as my previous ones are very poor in quality, and will be fixed in the very near future. (I just thought I’d add that in, for those of you who are growing frustrated with my profiles of players.)
I’m ready to start exploring, join me, won’t you?
The first player I will be talking about this week is a former Sherwood Park (Alberta) Midget player by the name of Nathan Smith. Nathan Smith was the Canucks first selection in the 2000 Draft. (23rd Overall) The pick was obtained from the Florida Panthers in the now-infamous Pavel Bure deal/fiasco of 1998-99. He put up some good numbers for Swift Current last season, scoring 90 points, (28g, 62a) in 67 games. However, he is not thought to be much of a scorer at the NHL-level.
A former first-round draft pick in junior by the Swift Current Broncos, when he was first drafted, I’ll admit that I had little knowledge of the Strathcona, Alberta native. I had known that he wasn’t too much of a scorer, and that he’d throw his hat in to the now-impressive group of young centres we had, which included the likes of Artem Chubarov, Mike Brown, and Josh Holden, not to mention Henri Read more»