Philadelphia Flyers draft preview

by Bill Meltzer
on

Going into the 2001 NHL entry draft, the Flyers organizational depth chart is lacking in quality prospects at every position except goaltender. There are a handful of forwards and defensemen with NHL potential in the system (such as defenseman Bruno St. Jacques and forward Alexander Drozdetsky) but there is nobody developing into a “can’t-miss” type of prospect.

It has been widely speculated that the Flyers will select a defenseman with the 23rd overall pick this year, because the team’s single biggest positional need is on defense, especially with the core of their sometimes-shaky NHL blueline starting to age. Names such as Tim Gleason, Lukas Krajicek, Mark Popovic, Fedor Tyutin, and Igor Knyazev have been bandied about as potential selections.

The Flyers could only hope that they had anything near the system type of depth and up front that they have in goal. After all, a team only needs two goalies, but they need twelve forwards and six defensemen. Unfortunately, going into the 2001-2002 season, most of the Flyers call-up players will probably continue to be minor league veterans such as Mark Greig. There is a chance that perhaps someone like Tomas Divisek or Vaclav Pletka could take a step forward and challenge for a spot with the big team, but that is far from a certainty.

The Flyers 2000 draft class almost exclusively featured the selection of forwards. This year, positional preference will tip otherwise balanced scales toward defenseman. That presents a wonderful opportunity– and a daunting challenge. Defense may be the single hardest position Read more»

Sabres Report: 2001 Draft Preview

by Ken McKenna
on

The 2001 NHL Entry Draft approaches amidst a swirl of trade rumors, with the potential for a change of address for many of the league’s biggest stars. Names such as Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Yashin, Doug Weight and Eric Lindros are being bandied about as trade fodder in the days leading up to this weekend’s draft, as are the names of a couple of the Buffalo Sabres’ stars, Dominik Hasek and Michael Peca.

Trades of this magnitude could have a direct effect on the draft, as there is talk of possibly one, or both, of the top 2 picks being dealt in return for immediate help. Once again, Buffalo’s name has been mentioned prominently in trades involving the top draft choices held by Atlanta (#1) and the N.Y. Islanders (#2), but so far, at least, Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier has publicly denied any pursuit of these prime draft picks.

The trade rumors have so far caused a diversion from what looks to be a very solid 2001 draft class. At the top of the draft is 4-5 highly touted forwards, led by the mercurial Russian RW Ilya Kovalchuk. There is plenty of solid, if not spectacular, talent to be found beyond the top 5, however, with talent to be had well into the second round. The depth of this draft should be good news for the Sabres, as 4 of their 6 draft choices will be made in the first 2 rounds (barring trades, of course).

Buffalo enters this draft with a diminished prospect pool, as they recently said goodbye to 8 of their 12 1999 draft choices. One of those farewells was particularly painful, as they lost promising C Mike Zigomanis due to a Read more»

Blue Jackets Draft Preview

by Collin Wheeler
on
Success has its rewards, but in the case of the Columbus Blue Jackets, it also has its drawbacks. Doug MacLean’s vision of a team that would be competitive every night and start building a winning tradition, has blossomed into a 28 win inaugural season. The city of Columbus has embraced the team and the combination of solid veterans and late blooming prospects gives them a strong base for respectability in the future. In achieving these goals, however, Columbus will be drafting 8th in the first round, instead of in the top 2 or 3 that might be expected by an expansion team.

The depth of this years draft has made the lower draft position a little bit easier to endure, but the thought of missing out on outstanding prospects like Jason Spezza and Ilya Kovalchuck must be heavy on MacLean’s mind. The Blue Jackets are thrilled with last years first round choice, defenseman Rostislav Klesa and think he will anchor their defense for years to come. In Mark Denis, they feel that they have an outstanding young goaltender. What they lack is a big time blue chip forward that they can build their offence around. Maclean would love to choose any of the top 5 forwards.

If the draft goes like most people predict, those 5 forwards will be long gone by the 8th choice. Some people in the Blue Jackets organization think the top prospect still available at that spot might well be goaltender Dan Blackburn. That’s tough to predict in a year that might see a lot of wheeling and dealing on draft day.

Doug MacLean is one of the more proactive G.M.’s in the Read more»

NHL Draft Preview – Overage Slovak Players

by Daniel Kysel
on
The last draft proved that overage players are a much better investment for new teams than 18-year old unknown youngsters. In total 31 overage players were selected last year. Fourteen of them skated on NHL rinks last season. Eight found regular spots on their teams (Cechmanek, Sekeras, Kultanen, Visnovsky, Nummelin, Kharitonov, Simicek and Sushinsky (before his outgoing to Russia)). The others traveled between first and farm teams (Ronnqvist, Wallin, Bartos, Von Arx, Kolarik and Lilja). All of them were 24+ years old. Pure accident? I don’t think so. Such players have a lot of experience from top European leagues, international tournaments, world championships, Olympic games etc. Younger players (I mean 21-24 year old) need time to develop for the NHL level but I believe that some of them could play in NHL right now e.g. Tellqvist, Richter.

The European leagues – Russian, Slovak, Swiss, German and especially Czech, Finnish and Swedish offer a lot of skilled, experienced players. Mark Schwartz presented in his excellent article “Instant help and the NHL draft” overage players. I cannot and don’t want to compete with him however I want to present my view as well. Of course I don’t know all Euro-leagues in detail but I can mention other ones who were not mentioned by him e.g. Czech players Dusan Salficky (G, 1972, Plzen) & Viktor Ujcik (F, 1972, Slavia). However my intention is to write about Slovaks, so let’s see their names:


Peter Pucher (C, 12/08/1974, 6'1" 207, Znojmo - Czech Extraliga)
Regular season 		52 GP	22G 	34A 	56Pts	+31	32 Read more»

Le draft qui déterminera l’avenir du CH

by Vincent Belisle
on
Le DG du canadiens a clairement qu’il n’était pas question de repêcher Mikko Koivu seulement parce qu’il est le frère de Saku. « Mikko est un bon prospect a considéré, mais il n’est pas privilégié des autres » a indiqué le chef du recrutement Martin Madden.

Les joueurs dans la mire de Savard

Pour le 7ième choix

Stephen Weiss
Le joueur le plus complet du repêchage, il possède de très bonne qualité offensive tout en maintenant une conscience défensive. Il a marquer 40buts dans la OHL avec Plymouth l’an dernier. Malheureusement, il serait surprenant que Weiss soit encore disponible lorsque se sera à Savard de parler.

Mikko Koivu
Il est très attendu a Montréal. Selon les dépisteurs, il a les qualités de son frère avec le physique en plus. Il a le même désire de vaincre que son frère. Un winner comme on dis. Petit hick, lui et Mark Komisarek sont ciblés par le Wild qui possède le choix juste devant celui de Montréal.

Igor Knyazev
Un joueur à la Kasparaitis. Le genre de joueur qui plaît à Savard. Un gars qui se présente a chaque match avec une attitude et un leadership remarquable. Ne se laisse pas marcher sur les pieds et n’a pas peur de jeter les gants pour regler ses comptes. Exactement le genre de joueurs qui nous faut à Montréal. Cependant, Knyazev pourrait être encore disponible lorsque le Canadiens parlera pour la deuxième fois. Mais est-ce que Savard prendra la chance de le perdre?

Pour le 25ième choix

Ales Hemsky
Si le Tchèque est encore disponible, il serait un bon choi Read more»

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