Not since the early 1990′s have the Detroit Red Wings had a top offensive prospect in their system. With Fedorov, Shanahan, Yzerman, and Larionov all over the age of 30, the only young offensive star on the team is Slava Kozlov. And until the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings had no legitimate offensive prospects in their system, which has been cluttered with big defenseman and role playing forwards.
However, with their selection of Timra’s Henrik Zetterberg at 210th overall in the 1999 draft, the Red Wings appear to be doing their homework. This season, Zetterberg has emerged as one of Sweden’s brightest young offensive stars.
Known as “Z” to Timra followers, Zetterberg was not highly ranked entering the 1999 draft, and his low selection was partly due to his size. At 5’11″ and 180 lbs., many now feel Zetterberg’s size is no longer a concern. The young prospect has tremendous balance and agility, which makes him very difficult to knock off the puck. Zetterberg’s straight ahead speed is only slightly above average, but he possesses great quickness and is very shifty with the puck. He is an intelligent offensive player with good instincts and playmaking ability. Zetterberg also has great hands, and his wrist shot has improved tremendously since his draft year. He plays a spirited game, working very hard, and he is alert defensively. Zetterberg plays a comparable game to current Red Wing Slava Kozlov.
Solid – …Of a satisfactory or substantial character. …Upstanding and reliable. Sound : valid. … Without gaps, crevices, or breaks : compact. – Webster’s Dictionary
With their second pick in the second round of the 1999 NHL entry draft, the Sabres drafted a 6′ 1″ 195 pound defenseman named Doug Janik. Doug had just completed his Freshman season with the Black Bears of Maine. It was a season that saw the University of Maine Hockey program win its second NCAA Division I championship this decade and Doug played an important role in winning this championship. Doug didn’t really do anything too spectacular, but he did do everything that was expected of him. I guess you could have called his performance SOLID.
Solid is probably the best way to describe Doug as a hockey player. He has excellent hands and is a gifted, but unspectacular skater. The combination of these abilities allows him to be able to carry the puck through the neutral zone when the situation requires that. The real strength of Doug’s game however is how he plays on either side of the neutral zone. This is where the word Solid comes into play as the dominant adjective to describe Doug’s game.
In the offensive zone, Doug possesses a NHL caliber slap shot. This makes him a threat to score from the blue line. So far, in 15 games this season, Doug has scored 4 goals to go along with 5 assists for 9 points. His ability to place his shot on net is evidenced by his 44 shots on goal, which ties him for third on his team.
As many of the major developmental leagues reach their midway point in their seasons, the Sharks, like every other team, have prospects who have surprised and done well, and others who have struggled more than would be expected. This is a list of many of San Jose’s prospects, and their status. Next to their name is either a +, -, or = sign, signifying that they’ve either improved, declined or maintained their stock. Followed by vitals and statistical information. (stats as of 12-26-99 unless otherwise noted)
Eric Betournay = Center 4/30/81 6’1” 197lbs
Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 41GP 7G 18A 25PTS -13 32PIM
He may end out being a steal chosen in the 8th round, but still needs improvement. He simply doesn’t yet possess NHL skills, and needs to learn how to maintain control of the puck in traffic. He’s the type of player who needs strong players around him, or isn’t the most effective player. Playing on a weak Chicoutimi team is not helping.
Matt Bradley -/= Right Wing 6/13/78 6’2” 195lbs
Kentucky (AHL) 34GP 8G 9A 17PTS 44PIM +12