Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Scouting staff prepares for D-Day: While the Maple Leafs may have permanently suspended efforts to acquire Eric Lindros, the team’s scouting staff is in the field preparing data on other potential trade acquisitions as March 13th nears … led by personnel director Mike Penny, the club held its mid-season scouting meetings during the 3rd week of February … pro scouts Murray Oliver, Floyd Smith and Mark Yannetti have been particularly busy around the league as the deadline approaches … in recent days, Toronto’s bird dogs have been most prominent at games involving Anaheim, Calgary, Long Island and Phoenix … this also is an important time of year for Toronto’s amateur scouts, who are making final evaluations for the upcoming Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida … under the leadership of new amateur scouting director Mark Hillier, Toronto’s 5 North American-based scouts are now evaluating the players likely to be available when the Maple Leafs exercise 5 picks somewhere between numbers 15 and 55 … in Europe, where Thommie Bergman and Leonid Vaysfeld maintain the highly effective operation started by Anders Hedberg, Leafs’ scouts will be out in force at the European junior championships in April …
Rumours: There is much to talk about as we enter the final week of NHL trade speculation for the 2000/2001 season … whispers floating ba Read more»
NEW LOOK ICEDOGS KEEPING IT CLOSE
With the late season addition of three Mississauga Chargers (Provincial Junior A), the Mississauga IceDogs have put together respectable back-to-back efforts in front of the Hersey Centre faithful. Newcomers Mike Oliveria, Chris Curran and Jason Francis, fresh from a semi-final battle with the Milton Merchants, have been asked to fill the IceDogs roster for the remaining part of the OHL season. Their gritty, “nothing to loose” attitude has been a welcome ingredient to a wounded Mississauga squad that just hasn’t had the man power to stay close in recent games.
Mike Oliveria is a talented centre who led the Chargers in scoring this season with 80 points in 48 games. He plays a very determined brand of hockey and is tough to check off the puck. The shifty forward has a great imagination and anticipates the play well at both ends of the ice. IceDogs’ head coach Rick Vaive displayed much confidence in Oliveria, sending the rookie out to centre a five on three penalty kill in his first game against the Sarnia Sting.
Left winger Chris Curran was the IceDogs’ seventh pick (9th round, 167 overall) at the 2000 OHL Priority Selection. He is a product of the Mississauga Senators midget system and made the jump to the Mississauga Chargers this season. The two-way winger had a strong season posting 44 points in the 45 games he played. The six-foot, 160 pounder lead the Chargers in penalty minutes for 2000-2001 spending 112 minutes in the “sin bin”.
Jason Francis is a diminutive (5’ 6”) Read more»
As I correctly predicted in my article yesterday, Vitali Yeremeyev was re-assigned to the minors today because of the pickup of veteran goaltender Guy Hebert. Hopefully Yeremeyev can continue his great success in the AHL and work on a few things in his game and improve while he is down there.
The move I didn’t see coming is that the Rangers sent down forward Jeff Ulmer, and called up Michal Grosek. Grosek was sent down in mid-February after the Rangers were unhappy with his lackluster play. Grosek has been on fire in the minors, registering 8 goals and 7 assists in 11 games for the Wolf Pack. I’m not sure whether the Rangers have plans to bring Ulmer back this season, but he sure did impress me in the 13 games that he played, tallying 3 goals. All his goals came from right in front of the net, a spot where the Rangers forwards have seemed to stay away from this season, aside from Adam Graves. I hope Ulmer gets re-called in a couple of games, but if he doesn’t, he’ll have a good opportunity to make the team full-time next season.
As for the Rangers also sending down defenseman Mike Mottau, this was expected. Mottau was called up because of some injuries on the blue-line, but he didn’t dress in any games. The Rangers want him to gain some experience in the AHL playoffs as the Wolf Pack try to win a second straight Calder cup.
These next few days will be interesting as the trade deadline approaches. I would like to see a couple of moves, but I’m gonna be one mad man if the Rangers deal any of their young gems for has-beens like Keith Tkachuk. Stay tuned..