Rutherford has made a good effort to try and solidify the future of this franchise for years to come. There is still work that must be done. Among other things, they need to bolster their defense, which they have tried to do, and drafting Russian backliner Igor Knyazev has been a giant step in the right direction. They also needed to try and get a decent back-up goaltender, to smooth over that position. They are still in need of a bit of work on the wings, in adding size, and Chris Dingman could possibly be the answer there, but he has been a big disappointment as a pro. The scoring touch he showed as a junior hasn’t been there, although he won’t be expected to score in a ‘Canes uniform, he can be more than a goon.
1. Zepp, Rob
Rob Zepp was in his final season with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, which is also owned by ‘Canes owner Peter Karmanos, was a final cut from Canada’s National Junior Team. He put in his best season yet in Plymouth, and with the help of other ‘Cane prospects, including the likes of Damian Surma, Jared Newman and Tomas Kurka, took the Whalers to the OHL finals, only to lose to the Ottawa ’67’s, and a goal by their Captain, Joe Talbot. He failed to come to terms with his original drafting team, the Atlanta Thrashers, so he re-entered, and was selected almost exactly where the Thrashers took him in ’99, but eleven picks lower, at #110. He looks like a very good bet to be a big part of the ‘Canes future.
2000-01 Plymouth OHL 55GP 34W 18L 3T 2.26GAA .916SV%
2. DeFauw, Brad Read more»
The Canadian Hockey Association announced the addition of center Joel Stepp to the Canadian National Junior Team Camp on Friday. The 18-year-old Torquay, Saskatchewan native played for the Memorial Cup Champion Red Deer Rebels of the WHL last season, his second full year in the league. A third round pick of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Stepp posted 24 goals and 37 points primarily as a defensive forward last season with the Rebels.
He joins teammates Colby Armstrong, Shane Bendera, Doug Lynch, and Jeff Woywitka in the current camp, which runs through August 10th at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary, Alberta.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1998-99 Estevan Ban. AA 60 65 70 135 120
1998-99 Red Deer WHL 2 0 0 0 0
1999-00 Red Deer WHL 65 11 13 24 59
1999-00* Red Deer WHL 4 1 0 1 8
2000-01 Red Deer WHL 70 24 13 37 89
2000-01* Red Deer WHL 22 6 3 9 24
* = playoffs
The teams that meet in the Stanley Cup Finals this past June have something in common, besides from being excellent hockey teams with great players. Both the New Jersey Devils and the Colorado Avalanche have made some excellent draft picks, developed the prospects’ talents and abilities in the minor leagues, and have fostered and advanced their careers in the NHL. Arguably, the Devils have one of the best General Managers in professional sports today on a wide variety of levels in Lou Lamoriello. Without him, the architect of the system, the Devils would not have been so successful. Along with the assistance of Dave Conte, head of scouting and Claude Carrier, assistant director of scouting, the Devils have established an exceptional network of scouting throughout Europe, Russia, and North America including the collegiate ranks. They know what they are looking for in potential players, draft them and develop them in the juniors or in the AHL. It is very obvious that the success of the franchise depends upon it, however, what might not be too obvious is that the secret of the Devils success lies within the second round of every entry draft.
First, when a team like the New Jersey Devils experience so much success and accomplish so much, you are not going to be drafting high in the first round every year. Two Stanley Cup Championships, another Finals appearance, an Eastern Conference Finals birth, and several Atlantic Division Crowns, all of this since the early ‘90’s, is going to place you no higher than number 20 or 25 for your first selection. Since 1990, Read more»
To be sure, the logjam on the Toronto blueline with last year’s incumbents fighting it out for seven spots with this season’s new additions is going to be no easy task for those players involved. But if you think that’s bad, just take a look at the Baby Buds where it pales by comparison. As it stands right now Petr Svoboda, D.J. Smith, Tyler Harlton, Maxim Galanov , Dimitri Yakushin, Nathan Dempsey, Allan Rourke, David Cooper, Chad Allen, Francois Bouchard, and Christian Chartier will all be trying to earn a spot on that roster while trying to stave off whoever happens not to make the cut at the ACC. Suffice to say that one of Cory Cross, Wade Belak, or Karel Pilar will be added to this cauldron come September and one of the six spots will be held open for whoever it is. So who will make the grade and who will be packing a suitcase? For the answers to that, the field needs to be broken down some.
In the veteran powerplay quarterback category three candidates stick out. Nathan Dempsey and David Cooper were the two blueliners who kept that end of things on an even keel last season but Francois Bouchard, fresh from Djurgartens in the SEL, also figures into the mix here. It is highly unlikely that more than one of these three will be kept on the team. This will be due not so much because they have disappointed, but more because of the fact that St. John’s has a number of young defenders that need to develop their offensive skills and powerplay icetime is a precious commodity in that regard. The pick here is Francois Bouchard.
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The Rangers failed in the free agent market this summer and they would not give up the talent Penguins GM Craig Patrick wanted in exchange for Jaromir Jagr. Well now that talent , mostly Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark must prove to GM Glen Sather , there future teammates and millions of Rangers fans that Sather made the right choice by keeping them.
Brendl and Lundmark although both forwards play a different style of game. Brendl is your typical sniper with a big shot , who it seems like can score from anywhere anytime. No one in the Western Hockey League has more goals over the past 3 seasons then Brendl. Yet some question his desire. 2 years ago he came to training camp out of shape and it showed. He played terrible and was sent back the juniors in Calgary without hesitation. Last year he was in better shape and his game improved but with the large amount of forwards on the Rangers he was sent back again. In the end though it was probably for the best as the Rangers didn’t make the playoffs and Brendl got much needed seasoning. He went on to lead all scorers in the 2000 World Junior Championships. A tournament that features all the top junior players in the world including Ilya Kovalchuk , Jason Spezza and Lundmark. The 4th overall pick on the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (Only Patrik Stefan and the Sedin Twins were chosen higher) Brendl is expected to produce and produce soon. The Rangers need his scoring touch. He is in New York almost a month before training camp begins , training with Lundmark and other Rangers prospects. All we know for sure this season is t Read more»