Jackets Rumor Mill
Who’s In And Who’s Out?
There’s a lot of speculation going around the National Hockey League. As always, many try to pre-determine trade deadline activity. This year, there’s a lot of speculation over a couple of Blue Jackets. While I can see a number of players switching uniforms, I think that it will most likely be a strong possibility for Lyle Odelein and Ron Tugnutt.
Let’s start with Odelein, the senior of the Blue Jackets Blueline. It’s not impossible to concieve a number of places where Lyle could be dealt. Odelein is making $2.4 Million, which is payroll that GM Doug MacLean may want to clear out for offseason acquisitions. Odelein, the captain in Columbus, would immediately bring leadership into any dressing room, and a solid presence in his own end. His offensive numbers this season have been up slightly, registering 14 points(2-12-14) in 53 games this season, as compared to 17 points in 81 games in 2000-2001. However, Odelein is -20 thus far this season, the worst Odelein has been in his career. I do not think teams will be overly discouraged by this, though, considering the team which surrounds him.
Where are some possible locations that Odelein could be shipped? Pretty much any organization who wants to take over his salary, is a decent contender, and wouldn’t mind adding a rough and tumble blueliner for the stretch drive. Detroit seems like the most obvious fit, and I’m sure the Wings would give up a player like Maxim Kuznetsov to pick up Odelein. Th Read more»
Current team: EV Zug
Elik is one of those players that made more than a decent NHL career without getting drafted. After serving his junior time he played 2 seasons in the IHL and 2 in the AHL before starting his NHL spell with teams as the Kings, North Stars, Oilers, Sharks, Blues and the Bruins before heading over to Switzerland as a 32-year old in the 1997-98 season. His first season was immediately a hit with 77 points and 234 penalty minutes for HC Lugano. The following two seaosn he skated for SC Langnau Tigers but despite being on a weaker team he continued to put up great numbers. This year is his 2nd season as a member of EV Zug, coached by Doug Mason this year. Elik continues to score over a point per game although his point total descreased this season compared to last seaosn. Also he’s guaranteed taking over 100 penalty minutes in the season which shows this 6’3, 198 lbs forward isn’t afraid to use his body. Last season he developped a nice chemistry with Andre Rötheli, who left for HC Lugano this season though. One could say the tandem of the two was one of the best on the league. Elik’s arrival at EV Zug definitely helped the attendance figures rise but also caused the team not to reach the semi finals of the palyoffs for the first time in 7 years. Where a top performance in the playoffs is expected from players like Elik, he showed a lack of that in the playoffs taking bad penalties at important times. He was even scratched, in fav Read more»
The Atlanta Thrashers have been one of the worst clubs in the NHL the
last couple of years, and the privilege of this is getting low draft
picks. GM Don Wandell certainly took advantage of this by selecting Dany
Heatley 2nd overall in 2000 and Ilya Kovalchuk in 2001. The future looks
extremely bright for the Thrashers with these two amazing rookies, but
they will certainly not be able to win alone. So here is a list of 7
prospects that should join them in the next couple of years:
Michael Garnett: With no other promising goaltenders in the future for
the Thrashers, Garnett is by far the best goaltending prospect in for
the club. The Saskatoon native, should be able to develop as a number
one goalie in the league one day.
Kamil Piros: This center was acquired for former Thrashers star Donald
Audette from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline in 2001. After
finishing his amazing season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, he
should take Ray Ferraro’s place on the roster next year and will stay
there for a long time.
Luke Sellars: The former Ottawa 67’s defenceman has spent the season in
the AHL and has been far from great. Almost re-entered the 2001 entry
draft by signing with the Thrashers on the last possible day. Should
have a couple of more seasons left with the Wolves before graduating
with the big club. He was recently reassigned to the club’s ECHL
affiliate in Greenville.
Zdenek Blatny: Was considered a steal by the Thrashers when they
selected him in 68th overall in the first entry draft in 1 Read more»
Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Kelowna Rockets
Bendera has not been busy in the last week or so, only getting one start since the last update, currently sidelined with what is being described as a knee sprain(day-to-day). He won his start, and managed to drop his GAA to 2.27 from his previous 2.29. His SV% increased from a .919 last update to a .920 this time around. Needless to say, there isn’t much to report on in the life of Shane Bendera.
Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Knopp has exploded, and Kamloops couldn’t be happier. Finally, Knopp has begun to produce as expected in his new surrounding. Last we left, Knopp had 47 pts. He’s tallied 5 goals and 7 assists since then, running his totals to 59 points(30-29-59) in 59 games. His plus/minus has also seen decent improvement, and now only sits at –8. Knopp owns second place in team scoring on Kamloops, being Jared Aulin and slightly ahead of Scottie Upshall, both of which have played at least 15 fewer games.
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
Nothing new to report on Kiel McLeod, considering he hasn’t suited up for the Rockets since the last update. He was, however, slated to play for the WHL Western All-Stars in the Hershey Cup, before being replaced by Tim Krymusa of the Spokane Chiefs. His totals on the season still sit at 14 goals and 41 points(14-27-41) in 34 games. McLeod is said to be suffering from a groin pul Read more»
Sergio Momesso has returned to Shawinigan and the team he played his entire junior career with in the early 80’s. He was hired as an assistant coach and is replacing Benoit Groulx who was hired as the new head coach of the Hull Olympics. Momesso,who played his first season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986,was a fan favorite when he played with the Cataractes during his days as a junior.
On the ice, the Cataractes have had some difficulties. After being almost unbeatable on home ice, they’ve only played for .500 since the trades they made at the trade deadline. They had their best showing against Oshawa where they posted a 7-0 win.
The new players have shown good things,especially Charles Gauthier who is playing with the teams top two scorers Pomminville and Bellemare. He’s fast and plays with a lot of heart. Hunter LaHache made his physical presence felt and is playing his style of hockey. J-M Boisvert had a slow start and needs to put more effort into his play. Now that all the players are back from the different all star games and tournaments we’ll now be able to get a good look at the team that can make a run for the President’s Cup.
In the League
Drumondville headcoach Daniel Bissonnette was fired and replaced by Jos Canale. Canale now has a great challenge in front of him with this very hard-headed team.
The Hull Olympics are on a roll. After their last losing streak head coach Guy Lalonde was let go and replaced with Benoit Groulx an assistant coach with the Cataractes. Since the change Hull has been the best team in Read more»