The lack of depth in the Los Angeles Kings system is perhaps most visible in their lack of wings in their system. While the Kings finally acquired their long coveted scorer in Ziggy Palffy, it came at a serious cost to their system, particularly on the wings. Josh Green showed some signs of greatness, and was one of former coach Larry Robinson’s favorite players. In the Kings’ home opener last season, Green broke to the net and scored on a rebound, showing signs of the power forward many had hoped he’d become. The bad news was that was the last time he went to the net. Green had potential, but was slow and hesitant, which makes him the next Kevin Stevens, which is not what the Kings needed at wing. The number four pick that also went to New York would likely have been forward Taylor Pyatt. The Kings also passed on signing left wing Matt Zhultek, allowing him to return to the draft where Boston took him. So without those forwards, here is the extent of the Kings young forwards, both at the NHL level and in the pipeline.
In the 1999 draft, the Sharks made further inroads towards building their defensive unit, which was already one of the envies of the league. By drafting Jeff Jillson with the 14th pick of the draft, the Sharks added a third prospect, all of whom could possibly pass as #1 dmen someday in the NHL. The other two players being Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan.
Jillson was the second defenseman taken in the 1999 draft, in addition to being the first player chosen out of college. The general opinion on Jillson is that he was pretty high on a lot of lists, but the teams that were picking ahead of the Sharks simply had their own players in mind. The fact that the Islanders had so many picks in the top 10, and that Jillson simply did not fit into their plans, probably was a factor in him being chosen as late as he was. A perfect example of how a trade between two teams can effect a third, who’s not even involved in any way, quite drastically.
Playing for the University of Michigan, Jillson earned a spot on the World Junior squad for Team USA and was selected to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Ever since, his stock has only risen. In the preliminary Central Scouting Bureau rankings, he was ranked 6th among all collegiate hockey players. By mid season, he was ranked 15th among North American skaters. By the time the CSB finished, he was ranked 11th. The Hockey News accurately ranked him to go 14th, but named him as a candidate to crack the top 10 picks.
(Note: Since this article was written, David Tanabe has announced that he will forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility, and may be joining Kootenay of the WHL next season)
Eight of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects have chosen to remain in college. Four centers, three left wingers, and one defenseman are hitting the books and the ice this year. Here is an overview of future Canes who are going to school.
1. Erik Cole. A third round pick in 1998, this sophomore left winger was Clarkson’s leading scorer. A dominating player, whose physical play makes him excellent along the boards. Erik led the nation in 98-99 with six shorthanded goals. At 6’0″ and 185 pounds, he scored 21 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. His junior year holds a legitimate shot at the Hobey Baker Award.
2. David Tanabe. Carolina’s first round pick in 1999, this Wisconsin freshman was named to the WCHA All-rookie Team. He was the Badgers third leading scorer with 10 goals and 12 assists. An excellent skater and passer, the 6’1″, 195 pound Tanabe could have a bright future filling in Carolina’s need for offensive defensemen.
3. Ryan Murphy. A fourth round pick by the Hurricanes in the 1999 draft netted them Bowling Green’s third leading scorer. Murphy had 9 goals and 22 assists for the Falcons. Five of his goals came on the powerplay. This left wing is 6’1″ and 185 pounds, and could develop into a real scoring threat for the Canes.
It was the final game of tournament, but it didn’t seem like a final. The game was slow, and there were not many bodychecks. Defensive play wasn’t tight, and offense the shots often went too high or too wide. The biggest disappointment of the night came when the spectators heard that Jason “Killer” Doig of the New York Rangers wouldn’t play, because Rangers hadn’t give him permission. Jyp should have won the game, but were not fortunate. One shot in the 1st period and three in second hit the post and bounced away. They also had a few other good scoring opportunities, but again goaltender Markus Korhonen played very well. It was a shame the two best players on Kärpät today were thrown out of game in the 3rd period. First Martin Bergeron received a penalty for hooking when Jyp player took a dive. Then when Martin questioned the call with the referee, he received a personal unsportsmanlike conduct (10 minutes), which meant he would be sitting in penalty box for rest of game. A few minutes later Kimmo Koskenkorva got 5+20 for spearing, and his game was over as well. Kärpät scored two power play goals and one short-handed, while Jyp scored one power-play goal.
1st period: Read more»