The 1999 NHL Entry Draft is projected as one of the deepest drafts in years. And for Neil Smith, it represents the most important draft in his tenure as general manager of the New York Rangers.
That’s because it could be his last.
With the Rangers having missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, the pressure is on Smith to end that streak next season. And next season starts on June 26 at the Fleet Center in Boston. The Rangers will be picking 11th overall in this year’s draft, and it is up to Smith, Director of Scouting Martin Madden, and the rest of the Ranger scouting staff to select a cornerstone player for an organization that has very few of them.
Needs: The Rangers pool of young players and prospects is one of the shallowest in the NHL, so they have many holes to fill. But their most glaring need is at the wing position, specifically, wingers of the high-scoring variety. The Rangers haven’t had a pure sniper since the days of Mike Gartner. And their best prospect on the wings, Stefan Cherneski, is still recovering from a shattered kneecap. New York needs a scorer in their system, and they need it badly.
Another position of need is defense. The Rangers have a few nice prospects in Burke Henry, Kim Johnsson, and Mike Mottau, but they don’t have a franchise-type defenseman in the system. Brian Leetch is not going to be around forever.
The Canucks are drafting 3rd overall. Brian Burke and his scouting staff have an opportunity to salvage a lot with one draft pick.
The guy picked by the Canucks will be expected to be either a 1st line star winger or a 1st line star center, as soon as possible. A tough task, no doubt, but the 5 top guys definitely have the ability to overcome it.
The needs are many, the chances to fill those needs are few.
-a top 2 center w
Key to player reports
Player Name, Position
Chance of making the NHL: Scale between 1-10. 10 being a “sure thing”, 5 being “has to be lucky”, 1 being “no chance”.
Impact once in the NHL: Season Stats: Player stats from the NHL, AHL, CHL, US College hockey,
Projected Role: Where he will fit on his NHL team (basically “if things go well”).
Projected Stats: The types of numbers you can expect from him once he is established (best case scenario…the “peak” of his output, over an 82 game period).
Comparable Player: NHLer his style of play/potential resembles.
David Ytfeldt D
Chance of making the NHL: 8
Impact once in the NHL: B
Projected Role: 2nd-3rd agitating defenseman
Projected Stats: 5g 20a 25pts 100pim
Comparable Player: Darius Kasparitis
Notes: Drafted as David Jonsson…changed his name, hoping the Canucks would forget about him… Was voted Rookie of the Year in the Swedish Elite League…was excellent in the World Junior Championships…known for borderline illegal physical play…progressed more than any other Canucks draft from 1998.
Bryan Allen D
Chance of making the NHL: 10
Impact once in the NHL: A- or above
Season Stats: OHL: 37 7 15 22 +14 77
Projected Role: 1st-2nd stay-at-home anchor of a defenseman
Projected Stats: 10g 25a 35pts 150pim
Comparable Player: Chris Pronger, Derian Hatcher Read more»
The Washington Capital are in a solid spot for the 1999 NHL Draft. They will be selecting seventh overall and they appear as if they’ll have quite a few options when their pick comes up.
Washington, who has a strong group of prospects throughout their system but they seem to have exhausted their supply of high quality skilled forwards the last two years. Washington still has a lot of talent up front (though keeping it healthy is another major question mark). Players like Jan Bullis (21), Richard Zednik (23), Jaroslav Svejkowsky (22), Matt Herr (23), and Beniot Gratton (22) still haven’t come close to realizing their full potential, with latter two having more to prove that the former three.
However, much of Washington’s true prospect depth is on defense and in goalie. On the blueline, Washington has Nick Boynton (20) (still unsigned at the time of writing), Alexei Tezikov (21), Nolan Baumgartner (23), Jean-Francois Fortin (20)and the fast rising Mike Siklenka (19). These five players provide a full range of skills, from size and toughness, to raw skill.
In goal, The Caps have a ton of young talent: Curtis Cruickshank (20), Jomar Cruz (19), Radislav Stana (19), Pierre-Luc Therrien (20)and Sebastein Charpentier (22). Which one of these five is the best depends on who you talk to. I persoanlly love Therrien but from what I’ve read it seems like Washington is high on Cruz. Stana appears to have the biggest upside.
Another season has passed, and another first round loss for the Phoenix Coyotes. Most people point out that Jeremy Roenick wasn’t 100% after the vicious elbow he received from Derian Hatcher of the Dallas Stars. But the fact of the matter is they were beaten by a St. Louis team that was hungrier and worked harder than they did. If Phoenix would like to be considered among the elite of the Western Conference they need to develop a killer instinct and inject new blood in their lineup, especially at forward.
Unfortunately, their cupboard is very dry when it comes to forward prospects and the number of them who can make an impact in the NHL. Among the young players that were involved in the playoffs, only Shane Doan seemed to make significant contributions. Both Juha Ylonen and Daniel Briere were invisible on the ice, as they were for most of the season. Because of their promise, Bobby Smith decided to give Cliff Ronning for virtually nothing. Once it was obvious that the two youngsters couldn’t handle the number two center position, he panicked and gave up Brad Isbister, a young power, for free agent Robert Riechel. Riechel now plans to return to the Czech Republic to take an assistant coach/player job for the national team.