The Philadelphia Flyers’ European Blueprint

by Al Alven
on

Six players.

430 total games of NHL experience.

A world of potential. Literally.

A major part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ blueprint for success this season has been the addition of several high-profile European players. This season, no less than six such players are poised to play a major role with the team. Never before have so many non-North American-born players figured so prominently into the Flyers’ plans.

The list includes two holdovers from last season (Roman Cechmanek and Ruslan Fedotenko) and four
additional players acquired over the summer (Pavel Brendl, Jiri Dopita, Jan Hlavac and Kim Johnsson). Ranging from 20-year-old rookie prospect to 32-year-old NHL newcomer, this list of players is diverse and, in terms of NHL games played, relatively inexperienced.

Still, each of the six brings the potential for immeasurable value to the 2001-02 Flyers roster. This article will briefly profile each of these players and discuss their projected roles with the team.

Pavel Brendl

Originally pegged to start the season with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL, Brendl wasted no
time in proving where he really belongs. The 20-year-old Czech right wing stormed out of the game
in the preseason, scoring two goals his first game and never looking back. Brendl was not only a big surprise for the Flyers in training camp, he was arguably the team’s best player in several games. Playing mainly on a line with Jeremy Roenick and John LeClair in exhibition action, Brendl finished the preseason with nine points (three goals, Read more»

London Knights Prospect Report

by Jason Ahrens
on


London Knights-Drafted and Soon to be Drafted Review

The London Knights currently have 5 players on their roster who have been NHL drafted, but one is currently back in Europe, deciding on his future in North America. Here is a look at these players as well as a few who will be drafted in the future.

Calle Aslund, an eighteen year old defenceman was drafted by Buffalo. He has played one game and then returned home to Sweden. He did not look out of place in that game, has good size and skating abilities, plays his man well and appeared to have some offensive upside. His return would greatly benefit the Knights, allowing them to move a defenceman for help up front.

Lubos Velebny is a nineteen year old defenceman who was drafted by Toronto. He is already among the Knights top 4 on defence and plays in all situations. He is a smooth skater, moves the puck well, has a hard shot, and has good size. In his own end, sometimes he tries to be a bit too fancy, preferring to make a deke or try a difficult pass rather than chipping out the puck. I don’t consider this too be a fault, but it will be something he will have to work on as he moves onto pro. He is already a vital cog on what is shaping up to be a lethal Knights power play. I would like to see him getting more shots through that are tippable, as he sometimes gets his shots up or has them blocked.

The Knights apparently have just signed his transfer papers with Slovakia, so he will be able to stay the entire year over here. This will probably mean the Knig Read more»

Sabres Report: 2001 Training Camp Wrap-up, Part I

by Ken McKenna
on

Following the initial portion of the Buffalo Sabres’ 2001 training camp, the club began to whittle down the number of players on the camp roster. This process is no doubt excruciating for both players and coaches, alike, as it places players on the outside, away from their goal of being on the inside as a member of the Buffalo Sabres hockey club.

As is usually the case, the first players to be dropped from the camp roster are the players still possessing junior eligibility. The prospects returned to their respective junior teams from this year’s camp include Gerard Dicaire (Seattle-WHL), Paul Gaustad (Portland-WHL), Ryan Jorde (Tri-City-WHL), Sean McMorrow (London-OHL), Jason Pominville (Shawinigan-QMJHL), Ghyslain Rousseau (Baie-Comeau-QMJHL), Derek Roy (Kitchener-OHL) and Chris Thorburn (North Bay-OHL).

In addition to these players, Marek Dubec and Calle Aslund have apparently returned to Europe. Calle has returned to Sweden, and is playing for Huddinge of the Swedish junior league while he considers his options. Marek has most likely returned to the Czech Republic, but I have not found his name on any roster.

From these youngsters, the player that clearly stood out during training camp was RW Jason Pominville, a 2001 2nd round choice. Jason possesses good speed and strength, as well as a scorer’s touch and the knack for being around the puck. Pominville lined up with C Tim Connolly and LW Stu Barnes for most of the camp scrimmages, with Jason being on the receiving end of several deft passes from newcomer Connolly. Jas Read more»

Philadelphia Flyers Pre-season Wrapup

by Bill Meltzer
on

With the preseason now complete, Philadelphia Flyers coach Bill Barber is at the helm of what on paper figures to be a serious Cup threat. Even so, the team still has some question marks. Here’s a look at some of the major issues the team faces as opening day approaches and some notes on every player who dressed for the Flyers during the 2001-02 preseason.

New Faces Everywhere

The Flyers had a 100 point regular season last year before losing the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the playoffs. However, few, (either among outside observers or within the Flyers organization itself) believed that the team, as constituted this past spring, was a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.

In the offseason, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke solidified the team in its area of greatest positional weakness– center. With the additions of Jeremy Roenick and veteran Czech Extraleague stalwart Jiri Dopita to add to Keith Primeau, the team now boasts a very formidable trio of centermen. If they can all remain healthy, the Flyers have the makings of three productive offensive lines.

Clarke also added depth on the wings. Arguably, his biggest move was re-signing perennial all-star left winger John LeClair to a hefty long-term contract. The move was not without risk, as LeClair missed most of last season with a serious back injury and, at 32, is at the age where players who play his style (camping out down low in the offensive zone) produce annually diminishing returns. While LeClair will still play a vital role on the powerplay, however, the overall bur Read more»

AHL’s Southern Division Report

by Al Alven
on

AHL Southern Division Report

This week’s version of the AHL South Report will be
slightly condensed, as we are currently working on
next week’s season preview specials. The scheulde will
go like this:

Monday (Oct. 1): Hershey Bears Preview

Tuesday (Oct. 2): Norfolk Admirals Preview

Wednesday (Oct. 3): Philadelphia Phantoms Preview

Thursday (Oct. 4): WBS Penguins Preview

In this article, we’ll briefly cover the major
happenings in the week that was for the Bears,
Admirals, Phantoms and Penguins…

Hershey Bears Update

Earlier in the week, the parent Colorado Avalanche
sent six players back to Hershey. Forwards Kelly
Fairchild, Jordan Krestanovich, Steve Moore and
Yevgeny Lazarev, defenseman Jeff Paul and goaltender
Phil Sauve all rejoined the Bears’ training camp. On
Wednesday (Sept. 26) forward Matt Herr arrived in camp
as well, on loan from the Florida Panthers. Herr spent
time last season with the Washington Capitals,
Portland Pirates and Philadelphia Phantoms.

Potential Bears still competing for roster spots with
the Avs include: forwards Mikhail Kuleshov, Vaclav
Nedorost, Radim Vrbata, Brian Willsie and (Hershey
captain) Brad Larsen, and defensemen Rick Berry, Bryan
Muir, Jaroslav Obsut, Alex Riazantsev and Pascal
Trepanier.

Center Yuri Babenko skated for the first time this
week since suffering a groin pull on the first day of
scrimmage play at Colorado’s secondary camp in
Hershey.

Hershey finally plays its first preseason game of the
season tonight. The Bears will f Read more»

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