A summary of activity in the Maple Leafs’ Camp on the first day of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
After securing several reinforcements (Reichel, Green and Renberg) for next season’s line-up in the days leading up to the draft, the Maple Leafs finally got around to improving their farm system on the floor of the National Car Rental Center. The Leafs arrived in Florida armed with four picks in the first three rounds and eleven selections overall. After the proceedings began, Quinn and Co. were able to further enhance this stash by sending C/W Igor Korolev to the Black Hawks in exchange for Chicago’s third round pick.
There was clearly a common element in all of the player acquisitions made by the Leafs in recent weeks – speed! This skill was also front and centre at the Entry Draft as each of the five players selected by Toronto on Day 1 possess better than average skating ability.
Here is a thumbnail assessment of the newest Maple Leafs.
Carlo Colaiacovo (D – Erie, OHL) : The Leafs were fairly certain that their first selection of the draft would be a defenseman and so it was. With Knyazev already gone and Gleason, Popovic and Woywitka still on the board, Toronto opted to take Etobicoke native Carlo Colaiacovo from the Erie Otters. Carlo (whose his surname is pronounced Colee-AKA-vo) enhanced his standing with the scouts throughout the stretch run and into the OHL playoffs by displaying lots of savvy, mobility and competitiveness. At 6-1 and 184 pounds, Colaiacova is hardly a bruiser but plays an effec Read more»
For the first time in his three-year history with the Tampa Bay Lightning, General Manager Rick Dudley took the conventional route, selecting Russian Alexander Svitov third overall in the 2001 Entry Draft. In his previous two drafts with the organization, Dudley executed blockbuster draft day deals, shipping off the Lighting s first round choice in exchange for immediate help.
While Dudley entertained offers for this year’s selection, he was not intrigued enough to part with it.
Following the Draft Lottery, when Dudley learned he would have the 3rd overall pick and would likely miss out on Russian sensation Ilya Kovalchuk and CHL star Jassen Spezza, he alluded to a third player he considered equally talented. No names were ever mentioned, but it was assumed Svitov was the player Dudley coveted.
The Omsk, Russia, center is considered to be the most NHL ready player in the draft. His combination of size, skill and grit makes him a perfect fit with the Tampa Bay organization, and the perfect mold of the “Dudley player”.
Svitov is a big (6 3″, 198lbs), physical player who is a strong skater and has decent offensive ability. His biggest attribute is his defensive play. As Tampa Bay Lightning Color Analyst Bobby The Chief Taylor explained, “Defense is the biggest thing with this team. You can’t come in and not be defensively responsible. Svitov is great defensively. Offense can be learned with time.”
Svitov is expected to have an immediate impact on the struggling team. With Tampa’s face-off percentage looming barely above 40%, Svitov
On the first day of the 2001 NHL entry draft, the Philadelphia Flyers made a pair of trades, affecting both their first and second round selections.
The Flyers traded their first round pick (#23 overall) to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for three draft picks (#27 overall, #225 overall, and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2nd round pick in 2002). The move caused some raised eyebrows, as the Flyers had at their disposal several of the most prominent defensemen in the draft. By moving down to #27, the Flyers were hoping that one of three defensemen they were eyeing (probably Tim Gleason , Lukas Krajicek and Jeff Woywitka ) would still be there when the 27th pick came up. Gleason and Krajicek were taken with the next two picks, but Woywitka was still there at #27.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Flyers dealt their second round pick (#56 overall) to Florida, in exhange for the rights to unsigned veteran Czech center Jiri Dopita. Dopita, who will turn 33 in December, has long been considered one of the biggest stars in European hockey and is a long-time fixture on the Czech national team.
Over the last nine years, Dopita has rebuffed numerous offers to come to the NHL. His rights were previously been held by Boston and the New York Islanders before they were dealt to Florida, and numerous other teams have inquired about his availability over the years. Until now, the answer was always no.
Why the change now? For one, he is close friends with his former Vsetin teammate Roman Cechmanek, another veteran Czech star who fin Read more»