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»
Not to focus on Eric Lindros and the impact this has on the team, the NHL and hockey in general one can sum it up by saying “Sather is taking a huge risk with a possible huge payoff or a fan anticipated loss on investment”. Lindros brings size, some passion and fear, something the Rangers have not had for some time up the middle. The loss of Hlavac, Johnsson and Brendl may or may not hurt the “cause”. Meaning Hlavac probably the most big hearted and talented of the three is coming off knee surgery, the garden variety but surgery anyway. Johnsson a fleet-footed defender can be replaced by Mike Mottau and candidate Filip Novak. Brendl, of the three, the one with the most upside has upset Rangers management since first showing up at camp out of shape which equals in the minds of New York brass “lack of heart”. While it may be years before Brendl makes a splash the movement of these three players atleast opens up some competition for a defense spot, a wing spot (possibly to be occupied by Brett Hull) and perhaps another wing spot (where Brendl may have fit).
Sather told Mike York, learn to play wing or 4th line checking center or you are out of here, regardless of how much heart you have. Manny Malhotra, remember left wing, learn it or leave us. There is not much room at the inn for these guys.
It’s been an on-going saga for the New York Rangers for many years. Dealing away young talent in return for an established veteran, brought in to increase the chances of the team winning the Stanley Cup. We saw Doug Weight dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in return for Esa Tikkanen. We saw Tony Amonte dealt to Chicago in return for Steve Larmer. About 7 years later, what has it brought us? 1 Stanley Cup and 4 consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, while Weight and Amonte are widely viewed as top line players in the NHL. I don’t know where to begin when I wonder of what life would be like if the Rangers held on to Weight and Amonte, among others.
This brings us to June of 2000, when the New York Rangers hired former Edmonton General Manager Glen Sather to run the team. In Edmonton, Sather was known as an excellent GM who built his teams through the draft and trades. He was the one dealing away the veterans for the talented younger players, something that made Rangers’ fans excited. Many believed the days of dealing away our young talent were gone. It was a new, better era for New York. We had one of the best GM’s in the NHL, and one who could acquire young talent and ultimately build the team that way. But we were wrong.
Today, the Rangers traded hotshot prospect Pavel Brendl, the 4th Overall pick in the 1999 Draft, young winger Jan Hlavac, and young defenseman Kim Johnsson, along with a 3rd round pick in 2003 to the Philadelphia Flyers for all-star center Eric Lindros, and a conditional 1st round pick in 2003. As they say, some things never change.
Is it any wonder that Rick Dudley stockpiled the Tampa Bay Lightning with size and grit over the past few years? Drafting the big three, Svitov, Polushin and Artyukhin indicated a move to project a larger and meaner Lightning squad for years to come. In the present-day NHL, it seems clear that size does matter, bigger is better, and physical domination is key.
Dudley’s Lightning, already seem stocked on talent. Lecavalier-Richards-Modin line might thrive for years to come. Therefore, skill does not appear to be the problem with this squad as of now. However, there is a clear absence of grit and character. Tampa is a very young squad and the team looked mistake prone and inexperienced last year. Lightning’ defense was awful, mainly because of the apparent lack of physical presence and identity.
Dudley didn’t hide his fascination with big players before the 2001 draft. Even early in spring, he praised Alexander Svitov’s nasty on-ice tactics and the surprising bonus of unlimited offensive potential. One can only imagine his delight when the wildcard Polushin slipped all the way to the second round, right into Dudley’s grasps.
Judging by the abundance of sky scraping bodies on the Lighting’s respective farms, one can only picture the look of Tampa Bay’s depth chart in five years or so. Size, skill, grit galore. Suddenly, all those years of suffering endured by the Tampa fans might come to an end. However, don’t make the mistake of judging the giants of Tampa Bay solely on their size. There is plenty of creativity, talent and goa Read more»