A Change in Strategy
Last year, the Pens took a North American born skater in the first round for the first time since 1996. Thsi year, they went even further. Not only did they take another North American in the first round (Canadian Colby Anderson), but they spent the majority of their picks this year on players from North America.
When the Pens pick came up at 21, they had numerous options available to them. A number of quality players with varing skillsets were ripe for the picking, whether it being a hard hitting defenseman (Jeff Woywitka), a large number of solid 2-way defensemen (Gleason, Popovic), and skilled European or North American forwards (Perezhogin, Polushin, Milroy). The Pens went a different direction, selecting Red Deer forward Colby “Cheese” Armstrong, a gritty 2-way forward who is an excellent skater with a nice scoring touch.
Armstrong is an admitted pest, saying “If you talk to most guys, they probably hate me here. But that’s probably a compliment.” His game is compared to current Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker or former NHL player Brent Sutter (who is also his current coach at Red Deer).
Armstrong scored 36 goals and 42 assists in 72 games with 152 PIM for the Memorial Cup winning Rebels this past season. He also scored 6 goals and 12 points in 21 WHL playoff games and a goal in 4 games in the Memorial Cup playoffs.
Capsules for the 2001 Draftees:
Colby Armstrong, RW
Red Deer (WHL) Read more»
The Detroit Red Wings had a very tough time to pick an impact player since thay didn`t have a first round pick, and only having 7 picks in the whole draft. That is a big loss since this draft was probably the deepest and the best ever. Let`s take a look at the picks that Detroit had.
1. Igor Grigorenko
Position: Right Wing
Team: CSK VVS Samara (Rus-2)
Drafted: 2nd round (62nd overall)
Rating: 6.5 / 10 Read more»
Like every other NHL team, the Minnesota Wild went into the 2001 NHL Entry Draft claiming that, regardless of organizational need, they would be picking the best available talent. However, when it came time to make their picks, it became apparent that the skills of those the Wild scouts tabbed the “best player available” correlated nicely with what most deemed to be the biggest weaknesses in the team’s system. The Wild needed to add size and skill up front, and they were able to do just that, especially with their first two picks.
Whether the team drafted for need or not, Wild fans should be fairly pleased with the team’s drafting over the weekend. Without reaching for marginal picks, the club were able to address their biggest organizational weaknesses and bring substantial talent into their system. The Wild made only one minor trade, dealing away their 5th round pick in order to move up from #79 overall to #74 and select defender Chris Heid. Here’s a quick look, in order, at the team’s selections in the 2001 draft :
6. Mikko Koivu C, TPS Turku (Finland) 6’2″ 183 lbs. Born March 12, 1983.
2000-01 TPS 21 GP 0- 1- 1 2 PIM
2000-01 TPS jr. 30 GP 11-38-49 34 PIM
The Flyers moved down 4 spots in the draft and still got their puck moving defenseman. By doing so they gained a 7th rounder this year and a high second round pick in 2002. With what seems like small moves in the later rounds, they gained high picks in the 2002 draft. Looking at this draft, it seems like the Flyers are planning to build their team through the draft. They took 5 defenseman in the draft and 2 goalies. It seems like they are trying to stock their system and at the same time develop players at the minor league levels.
They acquired a potential 1st or 2nd line center with size and skill in Jiri Dopita, who is considered the best player outside of the NHL by the Hockey News. If he is anywhere near that, the Flyers stole him for a second round pick . This may in the future allow the Flyers to sign Jeremy Roenick and then trade Daymond Langkow . Also, the Flyers could chose not go after Roenick and try to sign Rob Blake instead.
Now if the Flyers can just deal their 10 year old headache, Eric Lindros. There seems to be no end in site for this saga. Eric and Carl still think they are larger than the game. My thought is that the Flyers will still go after Roenick even though they acquired Dopita. This will allow the team to get the fans excited and put the Lindros dealings “on the back burner” as Clarke promised. The Flyers future is bright.
A pick-by-pick draft review follows.
1st Round (# 27)
Jeff Woywitka (D)