Every organization likes to get off on the right foot and start their operation with a bang. For the Minnesota Wild, this kickstart came at the 2000 NHL Draft in Calgary when talented Slovak winger Marian Gaborik, considered by most to be the top player available in the draft, fell into their laps with the #3 overall pick. Gaborik walked straight into the lineup as an 18-year-old in 2000-01 and exceeded all expectations, leading the club in goals and points, and showing that he has all the tools to be an impact player for the Wild in the very near future. Almost lost behind Gaborik’s tremendous success were the seasons of the team’s second and third picks, Nick Schultz and Marc Cavosie, who both showed dramatic improvement and starred for their respective nations at the 2001 WJC, and 9th-round selection Lubomir Sekaras, who cracked the Wild roster as a 31 year-old rookie and scored 34 points from the blueline.
Defenseman Mike Komisarek from the University of Michigan figures to be gone from most National Hockey League teams’ draft lists very early on Saturday, as the 2001 NHL Entry Draft takes place at National Car Rental Center.
The hulking 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of Islip Terrace, NY, is rated fourth among North American prospects on Central Scouting’s final ranking. In 41 games with the Wolverines, Komisarek scored four goals and 16 points, adding 77 penalty minutes.
A gifted skater, Komisarek combines a powerful stride with excellent lateral movement. His overall mobility and willingness to jump into the offensive play make him a coveted asset in the NHL. But perhaps even more impressive is Komisarek’s punishing physical game. His defensive positioning and intimidating presence have drawn comparisons to New Jersey’s Scott Stevens.
The 19-year-old defensive prodigy took part in the June 21 Top Prospects Clinic at Incredible Ice in Coral Springs, and was kind enough to answer a few questions for FloridaPanthers.com.
Q: How have you reacted to all the hoopla surrounding this weekend’s draft?
Mike Komisarek: “Well, it’s a dream come true. It’s something I’ve worked for all of my life. I think this is one step in the right direction, the first step in a long journey. The NHL Draft is where it all begins.”
Q: How many NHL teams have you talked to as you prepare for Draft weekend?
MK: “Altogether, up in Toronto and with a couple of teams coming up to Ann Arbor (MI), probably around 27.”
Q: You toured National Car Rental Center Read more»
On Tuesday June 12, 2001, Pat Quinn sacrificed the young, promising and somewhat injury prone Danny Markov in order to acquire Robert Reichel, Travis Green, and Chris Mills from the Coyotes. I’m certain that Leafs fans everywhere will wish 24 year-old Danny Markov the best of luck and hope that he continues to develop into the defensemen that we’ve often seen glimpses of. The young Russian had shown a lot of spirit on Toronto’s defense and had displayed great courage in blocking shots and killing penalties.
This trade is believed to be one of many off-season moves Pat Quinn will make in order to further enhance his club. Although it will cost Toronto more financially, Toronto has substantially upgraded its depth with this trade. The team’s blueline looked strong during this year’s playoffs which, in turn, made Markov expendable.
Robert Reichel is destined to support Mats Sundin as the team’s #2 centreman. Although many critics say that he is a soft player, Reichel had back to back 40 goal seasons with Calgary (and Gary Roberts scored back to back 30 goal seasons as his line mate during those same years). Travis Green has had three 20-goal seasons and is looked upon to be the #3 checking center. Green is a solid physical player who should offset the impending loss of current face-off specialist, Yanic Perreault.
With this trade completed, Toronto has surely improved it’s options at center. The newcomers join a deep cast of NHL quality forwards including Sundin, Berezin, Hoglund, Korolev, Corson, Tucker, Roberts and the developing Antropo Read more»
Washington traded its first round pick (25th overall) to the Canadiens earlier this year in the Trevor Linden deal. The Caps received New Jersey’s second round pick in that deal. Their first selection (their second round pick) should be at fifty-eight overall. The last time the Caps’ first pick was so low was 1983 when they chose 75th. Washington has a tendency to pick the best player available instead of addressing organizational needs through the draft. If players are even on Washington’s chart, however, do not be surprised it they select a goalie. There should be some good goalies available and Washington’s biggest need right now is a goalie who can be projected as a future number one goalie. With eleven picks in Saturday’s entry draft, Washington may decide to draft for need with a couple of its later picks. I would not be surprised to see them pick up a goalie with the intention of starting him in Portland (AHL) next year.
One thing that the organization seems to rely on is size. Out of thirty five prospects in the Caps system (not counting Trent Whitfield), only Glen Metropolit (5’11) and Sebastien Charpentier (5’9, but a goalie) are under 6 feet tall. Neither Metropolit nor Whitfield is an original draft pick of the Capitals, either.
Who’s Calling the shots: – Mike Penny is preparing to supervise his first Entry Draft as the Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel. Penny has been active in hockey management since 1969 and previously worked along side his current boss, Pat Quinn, for many years in Vancouver. Quinn himself does very little actual scouting and generally defers to his Personnel Chief on draft day.
The Support Team: – Penny is ably assisted in the Personnel Department by the Leafs’ Amateur Scouting Director Mark Hillier, who is also attending his first draft in this position. Hillier’ primary responsibility has been to cover the North American scene (along with a staff of 5 full time scouts and several other part-timers) but also makes frequent trips to Europe where Thommie Bergman and Leonid Vaysfeld lead a highly productive scouting operation.
Draft Day Tendencies: – During the past 10 seasons, the Maple Leafs have made 9 selections in the first round – 5 from Canadian Major Junior Hockey, 3 from Europe and 1 from the USJHL. Their emphasis on European players is growing, however, with 2 of the team’s previous 3 top picks coming from overseas. During the same time period, Mike Penny made 10 first round picks for the Canucks with 6 coming from Canadian Major Junior Hockey and 4 from Europe.
The Philosophy: – There are no real secrets here. As with virtually every other team, the Maple Leafs are firmly committed to the “best player available” philosophy. Nothing else would make much sense, given the fact that tangible fruits of this w Read more»