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»
Recently, the Islanders announced some of the front office and
staff of their brand new AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport SoundTigers.
Gordie Clark was named the General Manager and Steve Stirling was hired
shortly after as the first head coach of the new franchise. David
Baseggio was hired as an assistant coach, with the expressed purpose of
working with the Isles young defensive prospects. Former Islanders
owner Roy Boe owns the SoundTigers. It is kind of weird how that worked
out; Boe left the Worcester Ice Cats organization (the St. Louis Blues
primary affiliate) to return to an Islanders organization that he
brought into the NHL.
I would like to look at the possible roster for the SoundTigers,
broken down by position. For the most part the list is done in no
particular order. Some of the players listed may stay in their native
countries or at college so this list could very well change before the
puck drops on the SoundTigers first game.
Along with defense and goaltending, this is one of the deepest
positions for the SoundTigers. Due to depth on the Islanders, some
possible NHLers will probably appear on the Tigers roster.
1. Justin Mapletoft – the Isles 5th pick in 1999 had a monster season
for the WHL Red Deer Rebels. He posted 43 goals and 120 points in 70
games. Under the tutelage of former Islanders great, Brent Sutter, the
5’11”, 207lb. center took his game to new heights. Originally thought
of as a defensive prospect, his offensive explosion was an unexpected
surprise. E Read more»
While there has recently been more attention paid to some of the new blood in the Buffalo organization, such as newly-acquired forwards Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, this is also a good time to recognize the work of the Sabres’ prospects who were with the organization throughout the 2000-01 season.
The purpose of this article is to present a final ranking of the top 15 prospects in the organization as of June 2nd, 2001. This would exclude players such as Barrett Heisten, Mike Zigomanis and some of the other prospects who weren’t signed at the June 1st signing deadline. Also excluded from this list are the 2001 draft choices, as the focus of this article will be strictly those players who were Buffalo property through the 00-01 campaign.
G Mika Noronen
began the year as Buffalo’s top-rated prospect, and, despite a somewhat shaky start to his 2000-01 season, he remains atop the final rankings for this season. G Ryan Miller made a strong push to grab the top spot, but Mika gets the nod due to the fact that he plays against tougher competition. D Brian Campbell, RW Norm Milley and D Henrik Tallinder round out the top 5.
The Top 15 for 2000-01
Mika Noronen, Goaltender
Mika had a brief taste of the NHL at the beginning of the season, but was returned to Rochester to continue his development. Mika struggled upon his return to the AHL, but, by season’s end, he regained the MVP form that he displayed d Read more»
As the 2001 NHL trade deadline drew near, a call to action was issued by St. Louis Blues fans to oft-maligned general manager, Larry Pleau. From the online forums, to the call-in radio programs, and even to Pleau’s e-mail inbox, their message was overwhelming, “Get us Tkachuk or get out of town!” And he managed to land the big fish, outbidding several suitors so fans could see Captain Coyote don the Blue Note. On the eve of the NHL entry draft, Pleau acquired center Daniel (also pronounced “ka-chuk”) from Calgary in a deal that sent stumbling netminder Roman Turek charging toward the Stampede City. In a matter of just three months, the Blues went from being utterly “ka-chuck”-less to cornering the market on the NHL’s active “ka-chucks.”
The latter Tkaczuk, who turns 22 in October, hails from the Toronto
suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. He played his junior hockey for the Barrie Colts, and at the age of 17 was the OHL’s youngest captain during the 97-98 season. He currently holds the Colt franchise records for total career points, goals, assists, short-handers, and game-winners. Chosen sixth overall in the 97 draft, Daniel felt plenty of pressure to step in quicky for the Flames and lead them back into the postseason. Tkaczuk confused the Calgary brass with his flashes of brilliance at the lower levels tempered by mediocre showings during his many call-ups. Frustrated with his lack of production at the NHL level, this cerebral center kept a positive outlook toward his relegation to the minors. Bouncing back from a late season concussion, Dan was absolu Read more»