Time For Farkas (And Others) To Show What They Can Do
By David Lau
This summer, Maple Leafs fans everywhere have witnessed a dramatic alteration of the team’s line-up, hopefully for the better. Still, one wonders how much youth from St. John’s will be able to obtain full time jobs when this September’s training camp concludes. In the end, many believe that at least one or two new faces from the farm system will be able to grab a permanent roster spot with the big club.
Let’s examine some facts. We all know a first unit comprised of Roberts, Sundin and Renberg is a lock. The second line will consist of Reichel and Mogilny with Nik Antropov probably being a good candidate for the opening on the left side. The third line will probably consist of newly acquired centre Travis Green, Shayne Corson (who’s a stellar role player and provides valuable leadership to the team) along with Shayne’s brother-in-law, Darcy Tucker. The latter will provide speed, physical play and ample grit.
There are probably as many as 2 openings on the 4th line with Tie Domi having been suspended for the first 8 games of the season. Jonas Hoglund, will most probably be traded before October arrives due to his ineffectiveness during the playoffs and his overall inconsistency. This might allow a player like Jeff Farkas to finally receive some well deserved exposure at the NHL level. The last opening on the 4th line will most probably go to Alyn McCauley, who has had his progress stalled due to various Read more»
Although he hasn’t officially signed a contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, Krys Kolanos, the team’s 1st round pick in 2000, has made it official that he is turning pro, and therefore will forfeit his remaining two years of college eligibility. Kolanos has been skating with some NHL players in Phoenix, and most likely a deal will be reached before training camp.
“I’ve made a commitment to turning pro and I’ve tried to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally all summer. That’s why I’m down here, to get a little taste of it all,” Kolanos said. “These guys are just getting some work in and it’s impossible to tell how you might do . . . but staying in the NHL, that’s definitely the plan. I want to get stronger and more consistent to the point where I can bring everything to the table every night.”
Daymond Langkow, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this summer for two future draft picks, was awarded $4.2 million over two years in his arbitration case. Langkow will earn $1.95 million this season and $2.25 next year. The Coyotes are banking on the 25 year old center to have an excellent season, after the team dealt away centers Jeremy Roenick and Robert Reichel this summer. Langkow and center Michal Handzus will fight it out for the 1st line center ice position.
The Coyotes’ have announced the signing of defenseman Jay Leach. A 5th round pick in 1998, Leach played this past season for the Providence Friars of the NCAA, recording 4 goals, 21 assists and 104 penalty minutes in 40 games. Jay will be in trai Read more»
The importance of a team’s depth at all positions was proven last year when at various times in the season many of the Sharks top players such as Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse and Steve Shields missed games due to injuries or suspensions. Without the contributions of players like Tony Granato, Jim Montgomery and Bill Lindsay, it is hard to say where the Sharks would have finished in the playoff race. Particularly Granato filled a role where he patched holes where necessary; ending up playing 61 games in what will likely be his last NHL season.
As the Sharks close in on training camp, the core of their team remains in tact. The addition of Adam Graves and the retention of Gary Suter gives the Sharks four solid scoring lines and three experienced defensive pairings. The only players still unsigned are defenseman Mike Rathje, center Patrick Marleau, and right wing Todd Harvey.
While the Sharks have prospects such as Marcel Goc and Jeff Jillson who are considered solid to blue chip prospects, if in need of help, players such as these may not necessarily be the best choice, as further playing time in various developmental leagues may be in order, or in the case of players in college or playing in CHL, can’t play in the NHL even if they were ready.
Last season it was the Sharks forward lines that were plagued by the injury bug. With Nolan missing 25 games due to various injuries and a 12-game suspension by the NHL, and Damphousse missing almost half the season with a shoulder injury, the Sharks were without their two best players, much of which at the s Read more»
Name, Age, Summer signing status, Team Last Year
Jan Hrdina, 25, Signed, Pittsburgh/Dainius Zubrus, 23, Waiting for arbiter, May be traded to the Pens for Hrdina, Washington
Alexei Kovalev, 28, Signed, Pittsburgh
Milan Kraft, 21, Signed, Pittsburgh
Robert Lang, 30, Signed, Pittsburgh
Mario Lemieux, 35, Taking whatever money is left over, Pittsburgh
Aleksey Morozov, 24, Signed, Pittsburgh
Krzysztof Oliwa, 28, Signed, Pittsburgh
Wayne Primeau, 25, Talking with Patrick on a contract, Pittsburgh
Kevin Stevens, 36, Signed, Pittsburgh
Martin Straka, 28, Signed, Pittsburgh
Fighting for the 3 remaining forward positions –
Kris Beech, 20, Signed, Calgary (WHL), 5.5 Read more»
At this point, the Pirates’ tentative roster has four goaltenders on it: Corey Hirsch, Sebastien Charpentier, Curtis Cruickshank, and Rastislav Stana. There is no new faces among them, all saw action with the team last season. But who will be the pair that gets chosen is a mystery.
Corey Hirsch joined the Pirates last season, and quickly became a fan favorite. He spent much of the season away on loan, playing in both the IHL and AHL, and was twice named the IHL’s Goaltender of the Week. He is an extremely solid goaltender, and a veteran with over 100 NHL games under his belt. He is extremely adept glove-side, and is not afraid to use it – an attribute far too many AHL goaltenders do not have. And, perhaps most importantly, the rest of the team has confidence in his goaltending and this shows in their play.
Sebastien Charpentier is struggling to overcome illness and injury. Once a fantastic ECHL goalie with incredible amounts of promise, a troubling shoulder, hip, and chronic arthritis have held him back. His concentration has improved tenfold in the past two seasons, and he is capable of a brilliant game. Unfortunately, that is not seen nearly enough. It is hard to pinpoint what he is doing wrong, but even harder to say what it is he is doing right.
Curtis Cruickshank is a mixed bag. His size and agility make for a great combo, but his young age and inexperience are working against him. He made solid progress through the year, but seemed to go downhill after being loaned to the UHL near the end of Read more»