The Kings are coming off their most successful season in years and are looking for two things this season. Firstly, they would like to win a playoff game and perhaps move into the next round. Secondly, develop some of the young talent that is starting to replenish the Kings system. With that in mind, here are a few predictions and things to watch for the 2000 season.
Firstly, which Russian will progress the most? If it is Alexander Frolov, the Kings will have a bona fide top forward prospect. Andrei Shefer is back in Russia this season and you have to wonder how, after a season in Halifax, that will affect his development to the NHL game. Alexey Volkov moves to the AHL where his netminding talents will be showcased in a more NHL-like setting. His development will help the Kings make a decision at the NHL level- if he is a few season’s away, than the younger Storr will likely stay. If he can play sooner, than Fiset can hold down the fort until his arrival.
Look for Kings prospect Kevin Baker to have a big season. His game is well suited for the NHL game and his grit will complement his nose for the net.
Kip Brennan will lead the AHL in PIM’s. The only thing that can stop this is a call-up to the big club. Kip’s game will also develop and he will finish with 15 goals.
The Kings will officially give up on the talented Scott Barney. His back injury seems to be career threatening.
Eric Belanger will return to his top prospect form. Hopefully he will do it as a King.
The pre-season schedule is only six games, with two of them before the veterans were ready to play, and the rest scheduled so far apart that it would not allow the team to play under game conditions on a regular basis.
Two very early pre-season games against Philadelphia, and two very late games against the Rangers and New Jersey, many decisions had to be made based on the practices.
It clearly cost Rick DiPietro an opportunity to get in a game this week because John Vanbiesbrouck (three starts) and Wade Flaherty (one start) need to play the final two games just to stay sharp and DiPietro did let his feelings be known about being sent down without a chance to play in one game, and in a half-joking comment told Mike Milbury the team has not won a pre-season game yet (0-3-1).
For Islander fans the good news is that DiPietro has recovered from his injury with no setbacks.
DiPietro was assigned to the Chicago Wolves (IHL), where he will share the duties with veteran Wendell Young. This is a veteran team that won the Turner Cup last season and should be able to protect Di Pietro and give him the experience of playing against many former NHL veterans.
Lowell was not a consideration for DiPietro with the Kings two goaltending prospects in place.
Springfield (AHL) is not a primary Islanders affiliate. Trenton (ECHL) is where Steve Valiquette will be starting.
He’s one of the youngest players in the league. He was 5th on his team
in scoring. He just became eligible to drink liquor in the United
States less than a month ago. At 21 years old, he’s already earned more
money than most people will see in a lifetime.
For most people his age, their biggest worries are cramming for the
college exam they didn’t study for, and which party they’ll be going to
the next night. For Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, his worries
far exceed the average 21 year old student.
After a disappointing junior year, the Sharks young center may already
be facing a make or break year. If he struggles this year, there will
undoubtedly be comparisons to former Shark poster-boy, Pat Falloon. If
he does in fact struggle, those comparisons very well be justified.
However, if he rebounds, last year will be remembered as nothing more
than a bump along the road.
Entering the league in his rookie year at just 18 years old, Marleau had
what can be best described as an “expected” season. No one expected him
to jump out and score 30 goals. The Sharks simply hoped he would chime
in about a dozen goals and show signs of the brilliance he showed in
junior hockey and that’s exactly what he did. He scored 13 goals and 19
assists, and showed signs of the brilliance that he showed in Seattle of
For his second year, the Sharks hoped he would continue to build on his Read more»
The NHL released the protection lists for the upcoming Waiver Draft on
Friday, and there are a few players left available by the Rangers who might
get taken. Here is a look at the list of protected and unprotected players.
Teams were allowed to protect 18 skaters and 2 goalies from their crop of
Protected Players: Jason Doig, Radek Dvorak, Theoren Fleury, Adam Graves, Jan
Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Valeri Kamensky, Eric Lacroix, Brian Leetch, Sylvain
Lefebvre, Vladimir Malakhov, Sandy McCarthy, Mark Messier, Petr Nedved,
Stephane Quintal, Tim Taylor, Johan Witehall, Mike York, Kirk McLean, Mike
Available Players: Derek Armstrong, Drew Bannister, Jason Dawe, Ken
Gernander, Daniel Goneau, Mike Harder, Johan Lindbom, John MacLean, Jan
Mertzig, Rich Pilon, Brad Smyth, Ronnie Sundin, Terry Virtue, David Wilkie,
Analysis: I’m very surprised to see the Rangers exposed JF Labbe for the
Waiver Draft. I know there was no way to protect him, but, he will probably
get taken. The Rangers are hoping they play their cards right and Labbe
doesn’t get taken, but In my opinion I think they should have dealt him for a
draft choice instead of taking a chance on losing him for nothing. If Labbe
does get selected, than 22 year old Swede Johan Holmqvist will get back-up
duty to start the season with Kirk McLean. I haven’t heard anything yet on Read more»
The Blues are fortunate in having a very deep team consisting of mostly young players, under the age of 25. The four players that were left available are forwards Chris Murray, Pascal Rheaume, Stephane Roy and netminder Dwayne Roloson.
Murray, 25, was signed as a unrestricted free agent by the blues this summer to add toughness up front. He was recently assigned to Worcester of the AHL along with Dwayne Roloson. Both players were really brought in to make things a little more competitive in training camp this fall.
Rheaume, 27, is the most likely candidate to be lost in the waiver draft. He played in a limited number games last season due to shoulder surgery. He was likely going to be cut from the current roster to make room for the likes of Reid Simpson, Reed Low or Ladislav Nagy.
Roy, 24, played last season with the Quebec Citadelles of the AHL. Roy was originally draft by the blues back in 94.
Look for Rheaume to be taken by an expansion team and well this could make things a little easier for Larry Pleau by having another team make a cut for him.
The blues roster is now down to 28 including the injured Bergevin and Reirden. This roster must be down to 23 players by Monday so this weekends games should be exciting as the rookies in camp will be giving it their all in the hopes of landing a spot on the final roster which begins play on October 5th in Phoenix, Arizona.