The 2000 NHL entry draft is right around the corner and I am back as I promised in my previous article. I will now focus on Slovak players who might be picked in this draft. I divided these players into four categories. The first category includes hot prospects who are ranked in the top 40 of the North American and European CSB lists. The second category includes kids who are ranked in the top 100. The third category mentions junior prospects who were not ranked. The fourth and final category specifies over-aged players who are in my opinion really solid prospects not only for the top European Elites but also for the NHL, even though they are not 18 or 19.
No doubt that Marián Gáborík (CSB Euro #4, 02-14-1982, 6’1″ 183 lb., LW, Trencín – Extraliga, 50GP 25G-22A-47Pts +1 34PIM) is the top Slovak and European prospect. He has a real chance to be the #1 pick. While CSB ranks him at #4 on the European list, a lot of scouts, GM’s, journalists, and fans do not dispute that he is the best prospect. It does not matter whether Marián will be selected as #1 or 2 or 3. He has all the potential to start in the best hockey league next season and prove his obvious talent. In the last two seasons he refused more serious offers from IHL and QMJHL (where he was picked in the import draft) and stayed to play in the Slovak Elite – Extraliga. However, next season will be a big challenge for him and he will make the account of that.
As the date of the NHL draft comes closer, people look forward to this big day in the life of these 18-20 year old prospects. Slovak fans are no exception to this rule.
Many scouts and GM’s could take a lesson from past drafts in order to avoid missing out on some good Slovak prospects. I can draw your attention to the fact that many scouts think Slovakia is just Bratislava (Slovak capital located in western part of the country) and maybe 50 miles from there. They have omitted and still omit the kids from central and eastern Slovakia where some teams e.g. Martin, Poprad, Banska Bystrica, Kosice, Zvolen, are grooming very talented prospects – Svehla, Bondra, Suchy, Bartecko, Handzus, Zednik, Orszagh, Petrovicky, Nagy, Vaic etc. All these players grew up neither in Bratislava nor in western Slovakia. Dear scouts, do not forget to travel across Slovakia to see other rinks, not just Bratislava, Nitra and Trencin.
However, I do not want to write about new prospects (it will be in my next article). My target is to review the players who have already been drafted.
I will start in 1988 because the other players drafted before this year retired except for two 40-year-old veterans – Igor Liba (37 games on L.A. and N.Y.R.) and Miroslav Ihnacak (56 games on Toronto).
Name, year of birth, NHL team and No. of pick, position, team in draft year, mother team, last season team
End of Regular Season 1999-2000
Slovak Elite (West Extraliga)
The Slovak Elite (Extraliga) regular season is now over and we now know which teams have
play-off berths, which team has been demoted as well as what new team will be in the
Extraliga for next season.
Please find below basic data of Extraliga:
Team GP W L T Scores Pts
Slovan Bratislava 56 34 15 7 233:133 75
HKm Zvolen 56 31 16 9 219:161 71
SKP Poprad 56 29 19 8 182:162 66
Dukla Trencin 56 27 20 9 207:151 63
HK36 Skalica 56 23 22 11 159:175 57
HK32 L. Mikulas 56 20 20 16 157:184 56
HC Kosice 56 12 33 11 142:235 35
HK VTJ S. N. Ves 56 9 40 7 114:221 25
STATISTICS (after 56 games)
Name, year of birth, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1 Vlastimil Plavucha (68), Zvolen 54 43 29 72 +44 76
2 Zdeno Ciger (69), Bratislava 51 23 39 62 +29 48
3 Arne Krotak (72), Poprad 56 33 28 61 +25 64
4 Richard Sechny (71), Zvolen 49 24 31 55 +29 48
5 Jan Plch (74), Poprad 56 24 31 55 +27 36
6 Petr Vlk (64), L.Mikulas 55 15 40 55 +3 62
7 Lubomir Kolnik (68), Bratislava 55 28 24 52 +35 30
8 Lubomir Hurtaj (75), Trencin 56 25 27 52 +33 18
9 Vasilij Pankov (68), Bratislava 55 22 30 52 +45 48
10 Jan Lipiansky (74), Bratislava 46 30 21 51 +39 18
Leading scorers - defencemen
Name, year of birth, team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Read more»
Team Ukraine sensationally won the first relegation game against Slovakia
by three goals to one. The Ukrainian netminder Vadim Seleverstov
was highly resposible for the win, as he didn’t get much support from his defencemen. Slovakia missed five or six “open goal” opportunities and should have won the game comfortably if Seleverstov hadn’t been playing like a god. Slovakia was the better team on every aspect of the game, except the two most crucial aspects; goaltending and goal scoring. The third Ukrainian goal scored by Artem Gnidenko was one of the flashiest goals I have ever seen.
#1 Vadim Seleverstov G – Vadim was definately the MVP of this game making loads of extremely big saves. He plays a very spectacular game, and my guess is that he is somewhat inconsistent. You could compare him to Dominik Hasek because of his unorthodox playing style. He was lucky at times, but a good goaltender needs luck. His play reminded me of fellow Ukrainian goaltender Igor Karpenko, who impressed the scouts so much in the 1995 WJCs that he was drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
#2 Denis Isaenko D – Captain of the Ukranian team and one of the few players in the offensive minded Ukrainian team who acted with maturity in his own zone. Physical with fairly good size in the otherwise small Ukrainian team. Posesses a hard shot from the point.
While Slovak Elite (Extraliga) has a Christmas break, Slovak national team under 20 struggles against very good teams in Group A, with scoring misery as well as with fever epidemic. Coach of national team Dusan Zizka nominated 12 players form CHL – one goalie, three defensemen and eight forwards. It looked like the team had very strong offence but reality is completely different. Team cannot score. If you know a mentality of Slovaks you can be sure that first game against Czechs influenced other performance of national team. Failure of Slovak team is not such surprise for me. I remember 9th place of Slovaks on JWC 1998 as well as Zizka’s interview full of alibism before start of JWC in Sweden. Bronze medal team was coached by Jan Filc (actually he is coach of national senior team) on last year championship. Zizka did not learn anything from Filc. By the way, do you know who coached team two years ago? You right, Dusan Zizka. In that time national team had to save Pool A only after two victories over very weak German team and finally earned 9th place. As we can see Mr. Zizka leads the team to the same “success“ or to Pool B.
I wish to call your attention to other parallel. On JWC 1998 Slovak team had big troubles to score although Marian Hossa, Ladislav Nagy, Stan Gron, Andrej Podkonicky etc. were in line-up.
O.K. I am very sarcastic but I was not any optimist either week ago. Do you remember Jes?