The New Jersey Devils have had a great draft history over the past few years, putting the most players in the National Hockey League of any organization in the league. Almost 40 in the last 4 seasons. This kind of success must continue in order for the Devils to be competitive. Although the Devils first round pick is not until the 27th overall. The Devils have even with late picks, had tremendous success. I am sure that GM Lou Lamoriello will make this one no exception.
If there is one team in the NHL that is a testament to good drafting and player development, that team is the Buffalo Sabres. In addition to the Sabres’ appearance in this year’s Stanley Cup finals, their farm club the Rochester Americans made the 1999 Calder Cup finals in the AHL. The roster of both of these teams is dotted with Sabre draft picks, as well as young players acquired from other organizations.
The foundation for the current organizational success was built during the John Muckler era. Prior to Muckler’s stint as GM, the Sabres lacked a cohesive drafting philosophy, instead jumping from one drafting trend to another. The result of this haphazard approach to the draft was several lean years for the Sabre organization.
Once John Muckler assumed the GMs duties, however, the Sabre organization moved from chaos to cohesion, at least with respect to their drafting philosophy. The emphasis moved from the grab-bag approach of years past, to one that emphasized the drafting of bigger and feistier players (mostly Canadian) that possessed good skating ability. This approach landed current Sabres Curtis Brown, Wayne Primeau, Erik Rasmussen and Jay McKee. Darcy Regier has since taken over the duties as Sabres’ GM, and he appears to have taken the “If-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach. Regier has taken only a slightly different tack in that the Sabres are drafting more Europeans than they had previously, but the emphasis on size, speed and character still remains.
Luck be a lady, a tune that head scout Barry Fraser and General Manager Glen Sather will most likely be singing in the 1999 entry draft. The Oilers organization as a whole seems to treat the draft as a crapshoot, they try to hit the homerun with their picks. A few gems have eeked their way through in the 90′s (Ryan Smyth, Jason Arnott, Martin Rucinsky), but the number of gems pales to the number of players who ‘did not work out’. There’s first round embarrassments such as Tyler Wright, Scott Allison, Joe Hulbig, Nick Stadjuhar, Jason Bonsignore, and Steve Kelly. The recent picks of the Oilers (excluding Boyd Devereaux) were all attempts to hit homeruns (Bonsignore, Riesen and Henrich in particular), statistically Riesen and Henrich look like duds, but they are still young and both possess a great deal of talent. The crap shoot they call the NHL entry draft has not been kind to the Oilers in quite some time, however that trend may be changing. The Oilers have had two strong entry drafts in a row, in 1997 the Oilers chose 7 players who may play in the NHL (Riesen, Yerkovich, Eloffson, Chimera, Sarno, Hinz, and Fomitchev), the 1998 draft looks just as promising with Henrich, Henry, Horcoff, and Spiridonov. So, we move onto the 1999 draft, the Oilers pick 13th overall in the 1st round, 41st overall in the second round (pending compensatory picks) and will receive a mid to late second round pick due to the singing of Curtis Joseph. What will they do with these picks?
Immediate Needs Read more»
Brendl, Stefan, and Sedin’s Oh My!!!!!!!
The Lightning are in their regular position of selecting number one overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. However this year the Bolts seem to have more options than usual. Because of the lack of a true can’t miss pick like Joe Thornton and Vinny Lecavalier, the Lightning have several different directions they can go.
Option 1: Patrik Stefan C Long Beach IHL (6’3” 205lbs) – maybe the best player in the draft after tearing up the IHL as a 17 year old. However, because of concussion and knee injuries and his below average skating ability, the Lightning are turned off to him. Not helping matters is that Stefan’s agent won’t allow his client to take a physical for the club. Without a passing physical the Lightning will likely pass on the talented forward.
Option 2: Daniel Sedin LW MoDo Sweden (6’1” 180lbs) – don’t look for the Lightning to take Daniel without working out a deal to select his equally talented twin brother, Henrik C Modo Sweden (6’3” 196lbs), around the fourth or fifth selection.
Option 3: Pavel Brendl RW Calgary Hitmen WHL (6’1” 195lbs) – Brendle would install some much needed goal scoring life into a team that is on a offensive respirator. The only drawbacks seem to be some minor injuries and his adequate but not blazing speed. But it is amazing how 73 goals in 68 games can overshadow those concerns.
Calgary starts the third season in its official re-building with the 1999 Entry Draft. For a franchise suffering with a low-budget and with many long term needs to fill, drafting good players becomes a key to long term competitiveness. The Flames already have a very solid core of good young prospects, with Hockeysfuture giving the nod to the Flames as the orginization with the best group of young prospects in the NHL. Now is the time where Calgary will need a solid draft again in order to solidify its position and its talent going into the next millenium.
Best Player vs Needs
Without a doubt Calgary will draft the best player available for the early rounds of this draft. The team identified several needs in last years draft, but always selected the best player available regardless of need. The needs list from last years draft will apply once again this year.
The Flames would like to draft skill, size and character with this draft, although they have shown in recent times that size will take a back seat to skill and character. In last years draft, the Flames went with talented players that demonstrated the attitudes and leadership that they think a player requires in order to succeed at the NHL level, especially during the early rounds of the draft. Skating ability remains important to the Flames when drafting. The Flames have made mistakes in the past by drafting players whose skating was suspect and will not make that mistake again.
…and those needs are… Read more»