It may seem like one small step for Alexei Semenov of the Sudbury Wolves by moving up from Defensive Defenseman of the year in 1999-2000 and taking the top prize this season but nothing is small when your 6’6″.
A tower of power on defense this season he seems eager to bring on the challenges the next level will bring him. His well rounded play and shear dominance over his opponants in his own zone made the decision by the General Managers of the Ontario Hockey League to give him this award easy.
However the voting was close with the top three vote getters with 54-46-32 points respectivly. The trio was quite impressive considering he beat out Rostislav Klesla whom was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets 4th overall last year, rounding out the top three was Jon Zion whom plays for the Ottawa 67′s. It may turn out that Alexei a second round pick of Edmonton’s in 1999 may end up being the steal of the draft.
Some of the past winners read like an All Star ballot with Dennis Potvin winning two years in a row back in 71-72 and 72-73. With most receintly the additions of Al MacInnis in 82-83, Chris Pronger in 92-93 and retired Bryan Berard with a double as well in 94-95 and 95-96. If the progression continues he may one day in the distant future be considered on par with some of the names mentioned above.
Over the season and especially in the playoff’s it became apparent that a little tinkering is needed to the roster. Veteren experience and reliability seems to be the new mantra coming out of the front office in Edmonton but not at the expenses of dismantling the core group. Finding a defenseman and a winger whom both have leadership qualities and Stanley Cup experience will weigh heavily on the minds of Kevin Lowe and his staff. Around draft day in June seems the most likely time a decision will be made since one way or another the Doug Weight contract scenerio will have been played out. The funds left over either way will determine who they can obtain to fill those roles and if the ownership group would be willing to spend an extra million or two to make it all come together.
Down the road the Calgary Flames spent more on thier rosters this season and perhaps they didn’t get the results they wanted, but if the ownership group and the fans and have a little give and take it could be accomplished. If in Edmonton the season tickets could be in the 16,000 area with only 1,100 to spare they could sell out 30-35 games a year the funds could be available. That essentially with the 5% increase in tickets prices could be allocated in signing Doug Weight to a three year contract and adding the two veterens needed.
Now barring if the money is available whom would be considered a good candidates for the veteren positions and what would be the cost. Now if someone were to mull over the current rosters in the NHL to see what is available they may find that Edmon Read more»
Currently on the roster including the return of injured Josh Green thier will be 21 players next training camp competing for 13 spots. It seems at the moment that at least 11 are a lock with 8 forwards fighting it out for the two remaining positions. At the end of the regular season the line up should look something like this.
Line #1 Green/Zholtok – Weight – Cleary
Line #2 Smyth – Comrie – Carter
Line #3 Moreau – Marchant – Grier
Line #4 Horcoff – Murray – Laraque
Spare – Pittis
However next year you throw in this list of players and things become a lot more crowded.
RW/LW Michel Riesen,
LW Jani Rita,
C Brian Swanson,
RW/C Paul Comrie,
C Jason Chimera,
C Peter Sarno,
LW Tony Salmelainen
Of the remaining six it seems Michel Riesen has the best chance of making the squad since the Oilers have a need for winger with goal scoring ability. Zholtok and Pittis may both be pushed aside by younger players since both are good utility players neither have the ability to command regular duty. Zholtok and Pittis could be both moved for defensive depth or picks and allow Green and Riesen to take thier spots and have the remainder return to Hamilton for a year without hurting the deveopment of the players or the team.
The battles between the players to make the club will be interesting for the media and fans and difficult for the coaches and managment since thier decisions could alter the direction of the organization over the next couple seasons. But everyone involved can take heart that Read more»
Since being drafted 14th overall in 1997 Michel is the Oiler’s David a potential masterpiece a project which takes time and patience. After coming over to North America for the 1998-99 season it has taken over 200 games in the American Hockey League for him to realize what it takes on a nightly basis to make the leap forward. The largest improvement has come in his willingness to take responsibility for his defensive assignments in neutral and defensive zones.
As ice time increased for him with a more dilligent work ethic the offensive stats began to appear as well with 56 goals over the last 140 games with a multitude of different linemates as well. At the begining of the season Michel had the chance to secure a roster spot with the Oilers but after 12 games he was sent back down. His demotion was not due to lack of effort in either offensive of defensive areas but having been paired up the two other rookies for the majority of the time did not allow him to showcase his talents.
Pure and simple he is a goal scorer and perhaps he does not have the grit and physical presence that the Oilers ideally look for but does however possess talents that could help them become a more well rounded team. Next training camp will tell if the Oiler’s management and coaching have the forsight to place Michel on Doug Weight’s line with Dan Cleary. With Dan Cleary’s game rounding out and Doug Weight’s ability to make players around him better thier may not be a better place for Michel in the league.
At the start of next season Michel will be 22 yrs of age wh Read more»
After five years of service in the Western Hockey League in Saskatoon and Prince George this 6-0/185 boy has evolved into 6-0/216 man. After being drafted in the 7th round in 1999 Christian has stormed out of the gate the following year and posted very respectable numbers in the 1999-00 season. Even with being traded from Saskatoon to Prince George he managed 18 goals and
38 assists in 68 games while serving 64 minutes in the box.
Not to be out done this season by highly toated fellow teammate Dan Hamhuis, he leads all defenseman with 57 points in 51 games which is tied for first on the team with centerman Blake Robson. At the ripe old age of twenty Christian Chartier is looking forward to next seasons training camp to show the Oilers organization he is ready to take the step, inform the rest of the league that leaving him until the 7th round was a grave mistake. The added 20 pounds to his frame since draft day has helped give the confidence to become a more well rounded player on both sides of the ice. With such mass on a short body he will make life difficult for forwards trying gain position on him in front of the net. Time will only tell how he fairs against Ryan Smith, Mike Grier and Ethan Moreau during training camp when they set up shop in front of the net. If he passes that difficult test he will most likely split time in Edmonton and their farm team gaining valueable experience.
For Christian the four dragons that must be slain for him to take a regular shift with the Bronze and Blue next season are the ability to make safe plays in his own Read more»