Kevin Lowe took a page from teams like Minnesota and Columbus by drafting and then signing three older European players, all of whom may step in next season:
G Jussi Markkanen: A 26 year old from Finland, who had a breakthrough season with Tappara of the Finnish Elite League. His record was 30-17-5, with a goals against average of 2.09. The organization is very high on him, and they hope he’ll win the job as Tommy Salo’s backup in 01-02.
D Kari Haakana: 27 years old, rock solid at 6’1 and 228 pounds, Haakana has been described by those who saw him last season (he played for Jokerit of the Finnish elite league) as a punishing hitter, and a very physical defender. The Oilers have expressed confidence that Haakana can step right into the lineup.
D Ales Pisa: 24 years old, 6’0 and 195, Pisa is described as being another solid defenseman, who got riled up enough to hit a referre and get a 15 game suspension last season (he played in the Czech elite league for Pradubice, and scored 10-13-23 in 47 games). Pisa has a hard shot from the point, and may eventually get some power play time. Pisa signed a two way deal with the Oilers, implying some time in Hamilton is possible.
In a much anticipated move, Edmonton signed RW Jani Rita, the highly touted Finnish winger that fans have been waiting to see in an Oilers uniform. Rita signed a three year deal, and has a solid shot at making the big club, although some time in Hamilton might be best for him. Rita is from the 1999 Oilers draft class (he was picked 13th overall) that also includes M Read more»
Bruins ninth round draft choice Marcel Rodman answers Peter Baptista’s questions about finally being drafted and the likelihood of turning pro this season.
PB: When did you find out the Bruins drafted you?
MR: I found out the good news over the internet, just about half an hour after it happened in Florida. After that I got a few calls from overseas too from my friends and my agent.
PB: Had they spoken with you before the draft?
MR: I hadn’t talked to anybody before the draft, any team at all.
PB: If not, did you think you would be drafted this year?
MR: I was hoping to get drafted, but because I hadn’t been last year I knew my chances were a lot smaller, so I had a feeling if it happens it won’t happen before the 8th round.
PB: Have the Bruins spoke to you about signing a contract, and playing in the organization next year?
MR: As far as I know they are going to give me a chance to play in Providence of course if I show them something good at the training camp, and I don’t know anything about the contract yet.
PB: What would be your preference, Providence (AHL) or returning to Peterborough (OHL) for another season? Read more»
The Washington Capitals traded Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk, along with future considerations to Pittsburgh for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera. While this trade is great for the Caps right now, it depletes their prospect pool and may come back to haunt them when Jagr’s contract expires in two years. The Caps get a player like Jagr without giving up any current roster players.
Here’s an attempt to put into perspective what the Capitals lost and how big of a hole it puts in their system of prospects.
Kris Beech probably had the most potential upside of any Capitals prospect. He’s a great passer and he should develop into a first or second line center. He was pencilled in to Portland to play in the AHL next year, as he would probably benefit from more ice time in the AHL as opposed to limited opportunities as a rookie in the NHL.
Going in to this summer it looked like Michal Sivek would be the prospect who would make the Caps out of camp, and he could be on the Penguins next fall. If the Penguins trade Jan Hrdina or Robert Lang, Sivek has an even greater chance of making the team. However, it is likely that Michal would also benefit from a year in the AHL, perhaps two.
The 2001 NHL entry draft was, no doubt, one of the deepest in history. With the mass of talent from all over the world, NHL General Mangers were presented with the tough task of selecting young players, relying mainly on scouting, interviews, physical characteristics and personal likings. A fair share of surprises occurred during the draft. In the first round, the Boston Bruins selected Shaone Morrisonn, a tall, lanky kid from Kamloops. Despite his obvious talents, the Bruins were criticized for taking a chance on a player who many thought was inconsistent. The New Jersey Devils, with the 28th overall pick, selected Adrian Foster, a winger from Saskatoon, WHL. The same Adrian Foster who played only 5 games during the year.
There is no question that as soon as the surefire picks are gone, the rest of the draft turns into a crapshoot. General Managers try to hit home runs by the virtue of selecting those with potential, size and some hockey sense, and hope that some day, the tools come together into a package that winds up to be a solid NHL player.
It is interesting to point out that at the draft, Russia was represented by a bundle of hockey talent. Whether in the first round, or in the ninth round, there were players that embodied an undoubtedly rich bulk of potential; maybe more than any other country. To me, it was especially vital to appreciate where the less publicized and advertised names went. The troika of Kovalchuk, Svitov and Chistov was a top 5 lock, months before the draft.
The fir Read more»
The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that the team has come to terms with Russian defenseman Igor Knyazev, who was selected 15th overall in the 1st Round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Knyazev signed a three year deal, including a $900,000 signing bonus, the most ever given to a Hurricanes’ 1st round entry draft pick.
“We are very pleased to sign Igor,” assistant general manager Jason Karmanos said. “This will give him the opportunity to make our team. This will also get him acclimated to North America as soon as possible.”
Since Knyazev was drafted out of Europe, he has the ability to play in the AHL at 18 years old, unlike players who were drafted out of the OHL, WHL or QMJHL. With the Hurricanes lack of depth on defense, Knyazev will have a good chance of cracking the lineup. He plays a solid all-around game, and doesn’t make many mistakes on the ice. Knyazev plays what is known as a two-way style of game, as he can rush the puck up the ice and chip in offensively while also playing very good defensively and physically in his own zone.
At only 18 years old, rushing Knyazev into the NHL may be too heavy of a burden for him at such a young age. A season or two in the minors would certainly help him get comfortable with North America and the style of game that is played over here, but we’ll have to see how he performs in training camp. With Igor Knyazev and also David Tanabe in the organization, the Hurricanes have two top-notch young defenseman that they can build their team around in the future.