Going into the 2001 Draft the needs were on the table plain and simple, toughness and size up front. The Rangers picked a goaltender in the by the name of Don Blackburn out of Kootenay of the WHL. Although Blackburn is and was rated as one of the top overall players in the draft the nets in NY have greater “short” term problems and than long term. With Johan Holmqvist, Jason Labarbera, Henrik Lundqvist, Johan Asplund and Vitali Yeremeyev in the pipeline one has to wonder why add another? Regardless of whether he is better than those, the Rangers needs in the nets are immediate. Mike Richter will be unavailable for sometime and Kirk McLean is not the answer. Guy Hebert has been given his walking papers so who is available in the short term?
The Rangers next pick was 6-3 200 pound defender out of St. Petersburg in the Russian Elite League. While the second round pick, he could turn out to be a nice addition to this club in 3 years or so. While the likes of Mottau & Aufiero and now a slew of free agent / traded defenders St.Croix, Kinch join up… there are question marks about what to do with the excess baggage on defense.
The Rangers did not find a “need player” until the 3rd round when they selected Garth Murray. The 6-1 205 pounder tallied 44 points on 28 goals in 2000-01 and amassed 183 penalty minutes for his hard work.
New Jersey Devils 2001 Draft Review
Every NHL Draft seems to follow a similar pattern for Lou Lamerillo and David Conte and this year was no different. The Devils went in with a substantial amount of draft picks, added to their deep pool of young talent, and threw in a few surprises as well. Here is a brief summary of what the Devils did and who they picked at this years’ draft.
New Jersey trades this pick to the Florida Panthers for two 2001 2nd rounders(#44 and #48)
Analysis: I think that if Marcel Goc had fallen to this slot, the Devils would have grabbed him. I was a little surprised they didn’t select Krajicek, because I thought he would have been a perfect pick for the Devils, but I also wasn’t surprised the pick was traded. Anytime Lamoriello gets a chance to gain an extra pick, he’ll do it.
1st Round(#28): Adrian Foster, C/LW, 6’1″, 200, Saskatoon(WHL)
Player Notes: Has played only 12 games the last two seasons for Saskatoon as a result of an abdominal injury from the junior A ranks in his hometown of Calgary. Played in only 5 games last season, recording 5 assists. Played midget hockey with Thrashers top prospect Dany Heatley. Described as a smooth skater that can accelerate well. Good puck-handling skills, compared to Doug Weight. Will play physical.
Analysis: As per usual, the Devils pulled of a draft day surprise. The CSB didn’t even have Foster ranked. This pick will be high-risk, high reward, and if the Devils did their homework on this guy(which I’m sure they did) he Read more»
The first day of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft could have been sub-titled “Darcy’s Lost Weekend”, but by the close of the NHL’s annual Prospectpalooza, there was more evidence provided that Buffalo GM Darcy Regier is one of the top GMs in all of hockey, if not the best.
Heading into the draft, there were high hopes amongst Buffalo fans that the weekend’s activities might yield a plethora of good, young prospects, with those players being acquired either through the draft, or through the departure of stars Dominik Hasek and Michael Peca via trades. As the first day of the draft wound down, however, the Sabres had little to show for all the rumors that had been associated with their prized trade bait, and they instead went about the business of making their first 4 choices.
Sunday was a new day, with Buffalo quickly consummating a trade with the San Jose Sharks, which sent Buffalo’s 5th round choice (formerly Montreal’s) to the Sharks in exchange for San Jose’s 5th (155th), 8th (234th), and 9th (279th) round selections. This trade allowed Buffalo to draft 4 more players over the final 6 rounds, leaving Buffalo with a total of 8 new prospects.
Darcy Regier’s day wasn’t finished, though, as he finally dealt Michael Peca to the New York Islanders for two promising young players, C Tim Connolly and LW Taylor Pyatt. Of the two players acquired, Connolly would seem to have the greater upside potential, as he is being touted by many to be a future offensive sta Read more»
Here are the fowards who played on the team this year, except Pascal Dupuis and Christian Matte.
Matt Johnson 6-5 230 LW, The team gave up to much to get him (a 3rd rounder) but he played much better than expected. On most nights he didn’t hurt the Wild defensively when he was on the ice, he led the team in PIM’s, He was needed because the wild forwards are to small. He is a true heavyweight. He had 1g 1a 2p and 137pim’s in 50 games.
Sylvain Boulin 6-2 207 LW, Another enforcer, was picked up in the waiver draft. Was not expected to do much other then fight, he performed well when given the chance. He even scored in 3 straight games. A poor man’s Shane Churla. He had 3g 2a 5p 117pims in 41games.
Roman Simicek 6-3 210 C, a great trade for the wild, even if he doesn’t produce in the NHL, because he was traded for a big nothing named Steve mMckenna. Simicek is big but looks awful when skating, if he can improve on his first year in the NHL he should be a good 3rd liner, and see time on the power play. He will even fight if he as to. He scored 5g 10a 15p PIMs in 51 games with Pittsburgh and the wild.
Wes Walz 5-10 180 C, As the season went on, he was the Wild’s best forward, he never stopped, every play 100 percent. He scored the most short handed goal for an expansion team. He had 18g 22a 30p 37pims in 82 games.
Darby Hendrickson 6-1 195 C, A Minnesota boy who picked up his game this year with the added ice time, some nights he played like a first line center some other nights he looked like his old 3rd li Read more»
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»