Some people may dispute that the Buffalo Sabres have the best defensive prospects in the game, but I think that they would have to concede that the young defensive players Sarich and Grand-Pierre that Buffalo has in the minors are among the best out there.
When you look at a list of their defensive prospects, the premier names that come up are Cory Sarich, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre and Dimitri Kalinin. Some other names on the list are Henrik Tallinder, Brian Campbell and Luc Theoret. Even with the loss of Alexei Tezikov in a trade with the Capitals for Joe Juneau, the Sabres’ future defensive core looks strong. Sarich and Grand-Pierre have both seen limited time with the Sabres and have played well. They may have been kept in the lineup but Coach Lindy Ruff chose to opt for veteran smarts and leadership over the tough, solid play displayed by the young D-men. It’s hard to talk about Grand-Pierre and Sarich in the same context because, although they are both great talents and they are the Sabres top two defensive prospects, their styles of play are very different.
The Islanders have just added highly sought Jason Krog, winner of this years Hobey Baker award, to thier rich list of talented prospects. The Islanders beat out six other teams and signed Krog to a two year contract woth $2 million plus bonuses. Krog, 23, is expected to play in the NHL next season.
Jason had a stellar career at New Hampshire capped off by an historic senior season. Krog led the nation in scoring and became the first player since Paul Kariya to score 50 points in Hockey East play. Krog is a two-time All American, Hockey East Player of the Year, and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team as he he led his wildcats to the nation finals.
The 5’11″ 191 lbs Krog finshed his career as UNH’s all time assist leader and second in scoring with 94 goals, 144 assists and 238 points in 151 games. He is the only player to be in the top 3 in Hockey East scoring for three consecutive years. Jason is a strong swift skater with an accurate shot. He has tremendous vision and is an excellent passer.
Below is a listing of what I feel are the Stars longshot prospects in the coming years. Most should be recognizable names, and yet a couple maybe totally new to you, but each has a few skills that make them interesting. (Please email me with any thoughts, questions, or comments.) The next article will include some brief comments on the Stars “other” prospects, potential ’99 draft picks, and random thoughts on the team’s state.
John Erskine-D 6-4 200lbs.
Ranked higher on the Star’s depth chart by many, but I feel that John’s future in the NHL is not with the Dallas organization. First reason being that the Stars play an attacking style that calls for pinching by the D-men, and thus requires a good bit of mobility to maintain proper positioning. This style is not conducive to John, as he is a relatively poor skater that thrives in a more “controlled” stay-at-home posture. Secondly, the Stars have a good collection of defensemen in the minors, all of which are more talented than he. On the other hand, he does have a huge body, an ability to really fight, and the work ethic to improve his game. While I could be wrong about his future, as Craig Ludwig is still hanging around, my feeling is that he is trade bait, and no more than a support player for another team.
LONDON ( OHL ) GP-57 G-8 A-12 PTS-20 PIM-208 +/- 21
Marty Flichel-RW 5-11 175lbs.
Player: Tyler Moss
Birthdate: June 29, 1975
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 184 lbs
Tyler was acquired from the Calgary Flames. Tyler had a brief stint in St. Johns for the St. Johns Flames of the AHL where he played in 9 games and had a record of 2-5-1 with a 3.16 GAA and a .897 save %. Tyler also played 11 games up in Calgary with a 3-7-0 record and a 2.51 GAA. Last year Tyler won the Hap Holmes Memorial trophy for the lowest GAA in the AHL. He had the lowest GAA in the playoffs with a 2.91 GAA and help the Saint John Flames advance to the Calder Cup Final. Tyler was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. Read more»
POS HT WT AGE
Ben Clymer D 6-1 195 21
GP G A PTS PIM
98-99 Seattle 70 12 44 56 93 (WHL)
98-99 Seattle 6 1 3 4 8 (Playoffs)
Strengths- Offensive Instincts, Strength
Weaknesses- Speed, Quickness
Ben Clymer left the University of Minnesota for the Western Hockey League, where he led all Seattle defensemen in scoring during the 1998-99 regular season. Clymer showed an impressive ability to help generate offense and was a integral part of Seattle’s power play unit. Clymer is a willing and able hitter.
Clymer has been knocked for sub-par skating ability and quickness, but other NHL players have been able to shed that label through hard-work and dedication to improving their shortcomings. Time will tell whether Clymer can improve enough to make the Boston Bruins. He is a player who has shown terrific upside, however.
Projection at NHL level- 6th-7th Defenseman.
Current Stock Status- On the Rise
POS HT WT AGE
Lee Goren RW 6-3 210 22
GP G A PTS PIM
98-99 North Dak 38 26 19 45 20 (WCHA)
Strengths- Skating, Hands, Hockey sense
Weaknesses- Physical Play. Read more»