For as long as the Buffalo Sabres franchise has existed, there has been one position on this team that is rarely wanting for talent, specifically the goaltending. From the early years of the franchise with the acrobatic Roger Crozier, to the present day team featuring future Hall-of-Famer Dominik Hasek and star-in-waiting Martin Biron, the goaltender’s position has been the one area where Buffalo has seemingly always had quality talent to draw upon.
The good news for Sabres fans is that this run of good fortune at the goaltending position should continue into the foreseeable future. Indeed, Buffalo may have more good young puckstoppers in the organization than at any time in team history. Buffalo’s current backup goalie, Martin Biron, has already shown that he has the ability to be the go-to guy once Hasek decides to hang up his pads, yet Martin won’t turn 24 until August. And the depth does not end with Biron, as the Sabres have a couple of quality prospects waiting in the wings should Martin falter or become trade bait.
Buffalo’s top goaltending prospect, not to mention the top prospect in the organization, is Mika Noronen of the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Mika last season turned in a performance that earned him The Hockey News’ Minor Pro Prospect of the Year award, as well as several other honors. Not content to rest on his laurels, Noronen has turned in another strong showing during the 2000-01 season, as he was the major reason that the low scoring Americans Read more»
The Newest Bolt
The Tampa Bay Lightning took a step into the future Tuesday, by signing first round draft pick, Nikita Alexeev.
Alexeev received a three-year rookie contract. Per club policy, the terms were not disclosed.
Alexeev has spent the 2000-01 season with the top OHL team, Erie. He enjoyed a career season (31 goals, 41 assists) while playing along side Brad Boyes. Alexeev also added 13 points (6 goals, 7 assist) to his total, in 10 playoff games.
Among his accomplishments this season, Alexeev was names to the OHL 3rd All-star team. He was also voted the 3rd best skater in the OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll.
Alexeev is currently out of the Otter’s lineup, having suffered a knee injury.
Erie is currently 1-2 in the Western Conference Finals versus Plymouth.
A European Vacation
Nine Tampa Bay Lightning players and prospects have headed to Germany this month. Not for a team vacation, but rather to represent their respective countries in the 2001 IIHF World Championships.
2001 World All-Star Fredrik Modin will be teaming up with prospect Jimmie Olvestad (Djurgarden) for Sweden. Alexander Kharitonov, who caught GM Rick Dudley’s eye in last year’s competition, will return for the Russian team, while defenseman Pavel Kubina will represent the Czech Republic. Detroit Vipers, Thomas Ziegler (Switzerland), Konstantin Kalmikov (Ukraine) and Kaspras Astashenko (Latvia) will all be making appearances for their respective countries. Last but certainly not least, childhood buddies Vincent Lecavalie Read more»