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)
Though the promise was to go defense today, the Hawks did quite well at forward too. And a drop down deal today brought two additional picks.
San Jose was again this year, a willing participant in taking the #106 pick for San Jose’s #119, 186 and 216 picks.
The Hawks opened the fourth round taking RH D Brent MacLellan of Halifax, Nova Scotia with pick #104.
In talking to the 6’3″ 210 pounder, I asked the Rimouski defenseman how he thought he ended up a Blackhawk and he answered, “Good interview.” He was a likable conversationalist, who didn’t dodge my question of how he was known for his hitting and clear out abilities, but that scouts thought he didn’t make improvements this season. He answered that he thought he played the last third of the season strong and aggressively, and his “problem” early on is he started thinking he was a end rusher and scorer and forgot what got him where he was. (He usually makes the smart pass out the defensive zone.) Known to protect teammates,he was the alternate captain on team Orr at the 2001 prospects game.He will be at the Hawk camp in July and he said and knows that he can build stamina.
With pick #115, Mike Smith made his second annual western Russia pick ala Radulov last draft. It was virtual unknown Vladimir Gusev, a LHD who is 6’1″ 189 lber who played at Khabarovsk in Russia.
Pick #119 was LH Forward from the Russian superleague named Aleksey Zotkin, a 6 foot 200 lber from Magnitogorsk where he had 2 goals and 5 points in 40 games along with 34 pims. Neither was at the draft.
The fifth round is where I felt th Read more»