Part 1: The background.
Flash back to the 1997 Frozen Four championship game. A sophomore at North Dakota, named Adam Calder was given the assignment of Hobey Baker Runner-Up and Boston University junior Chris Drury. Alongside Jeff Ulmer and Matt Henderson, Drury was taken from Hobey Baker runner-up to virtual anonymity on the score sheet. After that game, and through the next two years, Calder helped North Dakota become poised for another title, which they won in 2000. Every year Calder played, the Fighting Sioux made it to the Frozen Four, benefited by his strong two-way play. In 2000, Calder had moved on to help rebuild a team for a Championship.
In 1997, eight weeks after the Fighting Sioux won their NCAA Championship, the South Carolina Stingrays won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup, becoming the first team in the league to win both the regular season and playoff crowns. Four years later, Calder and Drury both played for championships in their respective leagues, and both were successful in their endeavors, but the question that still remains is why a very talented two-way forward with an excellent hockey IQ remains in the lower echelons, while other players with less talent and lighter work ethics have made the jump to the AHL and NHL.
Calder, a 5’11 185lb. forward, went undrafted and was found by South Carolina Stingrays head coach Rick Adduono three weeks before the ECHL began training camp. Calder had an immediate impact on the Stingrays, despite missing almost two months of the season with a knee injury and Call-up to Rochester. On the first road trip of Read more»
The Canucks have been a very poor drafting team in their history, but they are very much a team on the rise. Since Brian Burke took over, he has been able to instill in level of confidence in the Canucks system, and despite making a few questionable trades in the past, he has a good record as the Canucks’ General Manager.
Burke’s drafting record has been very solid in his three seasons in running the Canucks. He has drafted some very good players in the first round, such as Bryan Allen, and the Sedins, and some solid hopes for the future in the later rounds, such as Rene Vydareny, Brandon Reid, and Artem Chubarov.
The Canucks, despite being the team who has the most going for them, going into this draft, are still very much a work in progress. There are still some very pressing needs which need to be addressed through immediate action (Free-Agency) or through the future. (Draft)
One position which the Canucks need some immediate help in is in net. They continue to have break hearts with poor goaltending. The Canucks haven’t drafted a goaltender since Kevin Swanson in 1999, and he has panned out just fine, but more is needed.
The Canucks are pretty deep on the wings, and rather solid on D, with prospects such as Zenith Komarniski and others down in Manitoba, who are NHL-ready. There is a lot of depth at centre in the minors, with guys like Chubarov and Holden, but this is an area of possible need.
Big Change in Utah
A week ago, the Stars completely vaporized the Grizzlies coaching staff. Head coach Bob Bourne and assistant coach Jason Taylor were both fired, while popular assistant coach Craig Ludwig was promoted to the Dallas Stars organization as an assitant. Now, ex-Calgary Flames coach Don Hay, who is a good friend of Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, is rumored to be one of
the leading candidates to take over the job. Ex-Islanders coach Butch Goring, another member of the Islanders dynasty team,
has also been mentioned as a possibility.
More shockingly, in the wake of these events inthecrease.com is reporting that the Stars are in the midst of dramtically scaling back
their minor league operations. The Stars are expected to share their affliate Utah Grizzlies, who have just moved from the disbanded IHL to the AHL, with the Florida Panthers.
Apparently, the Stars will join forces with Florida in running the team and stocking it with
talent next year, and Dallas is now expected to scale back the number of under-contract minor leaguers — keeping only a handful
signed for next year. The money they will save is reportedly going to be used to help Dallas sign free agents this summer
and increase the salaries of their NHL’ers. This combined with the expected 10% budget increase (around $5 million) and the money
saved on players like Hull (over $7 million), Donato, Maclean, and Ledyard should free up serious budgetary room for Gainey.
Short preview of Slovak players mentioned in CSB ranking:
North America - players
#33 Tomas Malec 13/05/1982 6'1" 185 D Rimouski QMJHL
#36 Igor Pohanka 05/07/1983 6'3" 185 C Prince Albert WHL
#73 Marek Svatos 17/07/1982 5'9" 170 RW Kootenay WHL
#103 Frantisek Skladany 22/04/1982 5'11" 180 LW Boston Univ. HE
#117 Milan Jurcina 07/06/1983 6'4" 190 D Halifax QMJHL
North America - goalies
#8 Peter Budaj 18/09/1982 6'0" 200 G Toronto OHL
#14 Jan Chovan 07/09/1983 5'11" 178 G Belleville OHL
Europe - players
#21 Tomas Slovak 05/04/1983 6'1" 191 D Kosice Extraliga
#48 Tomas Surovy 24/09/1981 6'0" 191 C/W Poprad Extraliga
#60 Ivan Kolozvary 16/02/1983 6'0" 169 W Trencin Jr. Juniors
#73 Peter Polcik 23/07/1983 6'4" 187 LW Nitra Jr. Juniors
#83 Michal Kolarik 08/10/1982 6'3" 196 C Trinec Jr. Czech Jrs.
#87 Peter Macek 13/05/1983 6'1" 165 D B.Bystrica Division I
#96 Lukas Srnka 25/02/1982 6'3" 176 W Trencin Jr. Juniors
#108 Rene Jarolin 16/09/1981 6'3" 191 C S.N.Ves Division I
#109 Dominik Granak 11/06/1983 5'11" 163 D Trencin Jr. Juniors
#113 Martin Zajac 25/10/1981 6'2" 212 D Trencin Extraliga
#121 Tomas Frolo 26/01/1982 6'1" 194 D Vsetin Jr. Czech Jrs.
#122 Karol Sloboda 16/05/1983 6'0" 172 D Trencin Jr. Juniors
In spi Read more»
The Vancouver Canucks are selecting 16th in the 2001 NHL entry draft.
With this pick they don’t have much of a chance at getting a goalie that will help them in the long run. Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire are two goalies that are highly rated and have been highly scouted. They both have promising careers in the NHL. With the Canucks selecting 16th this year, the chances of either one of them getting drafted by Brian Burke and the Canucks very unlikely.
The only way that the Canucks would have a chance at getting either one of them was if a team like the New York Rangers made a deal. Since the Rangers are in need of a young goalie in their system, this is very unlikely. The Canucks need a team that does not need a goalie to make a deal with a team that needs a young goalie. Rumors are already swirling about the possibility of Jagr going to the Rangers, but there also is the possibility that Mike Peca or one of the Sabres many good young goalies to be dealt. Anything is possible. But the chances of the Canucks getting either Blackburn or Leclaire are very unlikely.
I also think that the possibility or the Canucks trading their pick if a goalie is not available a very likely situation. The Canucks obviously lack penalty killing strength, and a point man on the power play. With the pick they have this year it is possible that the Canucks could deal it for a power forward type right winger. Someone like a Brad Isbister.