A funny thing happened on the Ontario Hockey League coaching carousel
this year. While teams in trouble often look at younger coaches, this
season’s selections include coaches with previous Ontario Hockey League
experience. Even Bill Stewart – recently hired by the Barrie Colts after
being let go by the New York Islanders – enjoyed success previously with
Oshawa, taking the Generals to the Memorial Cup in 1997.
With the 17th pick in the 1999 NHL entry draft the St. Louis Blues are proud to select… Barret Jackman.
The Blues have built an impressive stable of forward prospects in a short period of time, but depth on the blue line was obviously a concern at the draft on Saturday. Barret Jackman, the first of six defenseman selected, stands only 6’0-1/2″ tall, but could grow an inch or so by the time he’s ready for the NHL. One of the most physical players in the draft, Barret throws his 200 Ibs. around very well, and is a strong skater with excellent hockey sense. He reads the play well at both ends of the ice. He won’t put up big offensive numbers, but don’t be fooled by his 259 penalty minutes. He had 8 goals and 36 assists good for 44 points; an improvement from last years 13 points as a rookie. With his hard accurate slapshot and willingness to join the rush, Barret could develop into a 30 to 45 point defenseman in the NHL.
Peter Smrek, another defenseman, was discovered by European scout Peter Stastny. Smrek’s play at the World Junior Championships had his draft stock rising, and even at 20 years old the Blues took a chance on him in the third round.
Chad Starling, the fourth round pick by the Blues, is a hulking defenseman that uses his reach to his advantage but needs to get stronger and more physical. At 6-6 207lbs. he already has the size, he just needs to improve his puck skills and skating. Starling is definitely a project and will need plenty of time to develop.
Since the draft on Saturday, I have seen and heard reactions from various people, their comments covering the entire spectrum. Some have said that the Lightning had the worst draft of all the teams and others have said that they had one of the best. Let me give you my views on why I think that they had one of the better drafts on Saturday.
Let’s start with the focal point of the entire controversy, the first round trades. Everybody who says that Tampa blew it, says so because they traded away the chance to draft Pavel Brendl. In fact is, if the trades had not come along, they would have drafted Brendl even if they had kept the first overall pick. They would not have taken a chance on Stefan, and the only other possibility would have been a move to acquire both Sedins. Brendl was on top of their list by far. When they heard that Vancouver had already made moves to get the twins, and they already knew that Atlanta wanted Stefan, they saw the opportunity to move down and still get their man. They made the trade to move down to fourth and got two third round picks for that. Then, the Rangers called, and they knew the Rangers really wanted Brendl. They ended up getting two players, Sundstrom and Cloutier, along with two picks next year, a first round and a third round for their #4 overall. So if you break down the trades it works out to essentially this….
Eye of the Hurricane a Hurricane’s Draft Review
As the Hurricanes look to relocate for the third time in what seems as many years, they bring along two future players that could end up making a mark for themselves in Greensboro. The Canes have been seeking a good powerplay quaterback and offensive defencmen for quite sometime now. They got a good one in David Tanabe.
Tannabe played for Wisconsin this past season, and made a name for himself by sticking with the US World Junior team. Although his numbers weren’t that great, they must have been overlooked due to his age and speed. Tannabe could perhaps be the fastest defencmen in the draft. He’s alot like Bret Hedican but with more offensive potential. He makes great passes and posses a very good shot. He’s a bit below the average size for a defencmen at 6 foot 1, but he’s still growing. Canes fans will have to wait for him. He’s in the College program and it doesn’t look like he’ll opt out to get a chance to play in the NHL. That’s not a bad thing though. Most likely the Canes will wait for him, he’s got such a good package of speed and skill that the wait won’t be long. After the Canes experiment with Paul Coffey faltered it appears as though they have found an offensive defencmen that they have craved.
The 1999 draft is over and the first round was as European as expected. From a Finnish point of view this draft went surprisingly well – 18 Finns got drafted. It’s a quite high number when you compare it to previous years.
There’s this interesting trend going on in Finland: 1990s has been the decade of hockey in Finland. Hockey is no longer sports, it’s entertainment business and a legitimate career option to young boys. The number of young hockey players is going up all the time and with Jari’s, Teemu’s and Jere’s example every kid wants to make it in the NHL one day.
Ten years ago there were no hockey agents in Finland, now there are plenty of them. Our junior national teams, (especially our U18 team), have been very succesful in last 5 years. Still only 2 goalies (Ahonen, Jokela), 2 D-men (Harikkala, Kesä) and 2 forwards (Salmelainen, Hyytiä) got drafted from this year’s U18 gold medal team. Coach Jouko Lukkarila said ”we don’t play for the scouts, we play to win.”
A new trend is that players who really haven’t been noticed by national team coaches get drafted now (Sainomaa, Ruutu, Rajamäki). It indicates that NHL team scout more and more European players and they have now full time scouts following the European junior leagues and not just elite players at international tournaments as they used to do.
Here are the Finnish players who got drafted: Read more»