If re-building is what the Thunder Bay Flyers did this season by making the play-offs with a 19-30-7 record. Then the 1999-2000 season the Flyers must be re-tooling for better things to come. The biggest change has already taken place. As Gary Wenzel was fired as head coach and general manager after only one season behind the bench. His replacement is Thunder Bay native Todd Jones who spent the last three years as assistant coach and assistant general manager of the Sioux City Musketeers. Both the Flyers and Musketeers are owned by Superland Sports business tycoon Ted Carlson.
The Flyers have 11 players returning to the Lakehead. The veterans will be led by Pat Sharp with 19 goals, 24 assits for 43 points in his rookie season. Other returning forwards are Derrick McIver 43 points last year, Chris Sharp 32 points, Murray MaGill, Clayton Carson, Aaron Grynol, Jeff Miles, Chris Shaffer 40 points. The defence looks to be a question mark with only two d-man suiting up from Wenzel’s squad. Rookie defenceman Jesse Baraniuck had a strong play-offs and Tyler Williamson returns for his third season on the blueline.
April 27th, 1999
The playoffs are starting to wind down for most of the Penguins prospects, and most are done for the season. The NCAA tournaments are complete and the Syracuse Crunch finished with one of the worst records ever in AHL history. Canadian Major Junior hockey is in the finals of each league’s playoffs and only one Pittsburgh draftee has survived to that point, Joel Scherban of the London Knights. In the IHL, the Conference Semi-Finals are about to begin and only Robert Dome of the Houston Aeros is still playing.
In the OHL, the London Knights have surprised everyone by knocking off top-ranked Plymouth in the second round, then pulling off another upset of Owen Sound in the Conference Finals. Joel Scherban, a seventh round pick of the Penguins, is finishing off his second OHL season strong. After being injured for all but a handful of games in his draft year, he ended this season with 54 points in 68 games and is continuing to do well in the playoffs. He scored two goals in the last game of the Owen Sound series and has five goals and ten assists total.
POS HT WT AGE DRAFTED
Mike Ribeiro C 5-10 167 20 D-Mtl98 (2/45)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 69 67 100 167 +52 137 24 8
98-99 Playoff 11 5 11 16 -3 12 3 0
#1 Strength- Vision and creativity.
#1 Weakness- Size.
Ribeiro is a creative playmaker with impressive vision. He can spot teammates in the offensive zone as well as any player in the Quebec League. He is a natural scorer who must improve his skating. Size remains the big question mark.
Ribeiro’s performance during the regular season was outstanding. He led the entire CHL in scoring, while averaging 2.42 PPG. He won the QMJHL’s offensive player of the week award 3 times and turned some heads among the Habs’ brain trust.
Unfortunately, Ribeiro’s playoff performance left something to be desired. His average of 1.45 PPG was a full point below his season average. He also finished the playoffs an uncharacteristically low -3.
Immediately following Rouyn-Noranda’s loss in four straight games to Hull, Ribeiro was called up to the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Fredericton. It is still unknown whether Ribeiro will dress for any of the Baby Habs’ playoff games.(end of regular season)
Projection at NHL level- Second line center.
Current Stock Status- On the rise.
POS HT WT AGE DRAFTED
Eric Chouinard C 6-4 192 18 D-Mtl98 (1/16)
Spring is in the air, so that means that the 98-99 regular season has ended for most of the Buffalo Sabres prospects. This has been a great season to be covering the Sabre prospects, as there have been several outstanding performances by a number of the Sabre hopefuls. Indeed, the Sabres may well have more quality prospects than those of the other 26 (soon to be 27) NHL teams.
One prospect has moved on since my last update, as Alexei Tezikov was traded to Washington at the NHL trading deadline. While the Capitals will be receiving a quality prospect, this was a move the Sabres could afford to make. Buffalo has great depth amongst their prospects at the defensive position, so it made sense for the Sabres hockey department to deal from strength to try to shore up the teams’ offensive weakness (albeit on a temporary basis). In addition to receiving Joe Juneau from the Capitals, the Sabres also received the Caps ’99 3rd Round pick, which adds to their growing collection of ’99 draft picks (currently at 11 picks, with a possible 12th pick on the way from San Jose).
Another season is in the books for the Islanders, and despite having the worst record in team history since their expansion year there is hope for the Islanders. The Islanders have alot of young talented players (also adding Lindgren, Isbister, and Krog to the lineup) as well as a top five pick in the upcoming draft. Several Islander prospects had good rookie seasons and have graduated from the ranks of prospects.
During the last few months of the season Zdeno Chara emerged as one of the team’s best players. He was logging well over 20 minutes a game, saw time on special teams, and was a dominant physical force. Zdeno has made tremendous progress this year and has established that he will be a top 4 defenseman for many years.
Fellow rookie rearguard Eric Brewer also had a solid first season. He experienced some growing pains, typical of young defenseman, but was able to learn from and make up for his mistakes. His high talent level is very apparent in his play and he has shown great character and work ethic. Eric should continue to blossom in the next few seasons the same way in which Kenny Jonsson did. Brewer seems destined to be one of the top defenseman in the league.
Mike Watt also completed a solid rookie season. He played every postion and was placd in many different roles throuhgout the year. He has good size, is a shifty passer and has a surprisingly quick shot. Watt too, should continue to progress and become a reliable forward for the Islanders.