The Islanders luck truly is turning around. First, a solid ownership takes over the franchise, and now fortune smiled on the up and coming Islanders when they won the 2000 draft lottery. With only an 8 percent chance, the Islanders’ number came up and became the first fifth place team in draft lottery history to jump up to the No. 1 pick. The jump dramtically improves their positioning considering the players available. The Islanders will now likely select one of the two highly touted impact players, Dany Heatley or Marian Gaborik. The most likely pick would be Gaborik.
The Isles have a host of Heatley-type playes, rugged up and down players with deft goal scoring touch (Isbister, Green, Pyatt, Hunter). However Gaborik projects as a speedy game breaker, something the Isles desperatley need since the departure of Ziggy Palffy. Gaborik scored 25 goals in 50 games in the Slovak Men’s league and averaged almost a point a game. He starred at the World U-18 team with 6 goals and 8 points in 6 games for a weak Slovakian team. Heatley had solid numbers as a freshman at Wisconsin, but not overwhelming. In the past few years very few college players have made a big impact in the NHL. Throw into the mix that Heatley is actually a year older than Gaborik and the choice seems clear.
The other option of course is trading the 1st overall selection. The Islanders biggest need is a solid veteran defenseman and then another veteran forward. The 1st pick is an asset than many teams would love to have, and Mike Milbury’s phone will be very busy this June. Read more»
On June 1st, the Capitals announced the signings of 1998 draft picks Krys Barch (4th round, 106th overall), Nathan Forster (7th round, 179th overall) and Rastislav Stana (7th round, 193rd overall). These signings prevented them from re-entering the 2000 entry draft. With the signings of Michael Farrell (8th round, 220th overall) after the season and Mike Siklenka (5th round, 118th overall) last off-season, the Capitals only lost three players to re-entry.
Goaltender Jomar Cruz (2nd round, 49th overall), as well as forwards Todd Hornung (3rd round, 59th overall) and Blake Evans (9th round, 251st overall) have all re-entered the 2000 draft. However, none of them are expected to be re-drafted and will try to work out free agent deals after the draft.
The Capitals also announced that they have acquired defenseman Stephen Peat from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in exchange for a 2000 fourth-round pick. Peat was unable to come to terms with the Ducks and was going to re-enter the draft. The Capitals were able to sign him before the deadline and he will attend training camp in the fall. Peat was the Ducks’ 2nd round pick in 1998 (32nd overall) and is one of the WHL’s most feared enforcers.
Mike Van Ryn wants to be a free agent. The New Jersey Devils want Van Ryn to remain Devils’ property. Others want Van Ryn to go back into the draft.
It remains to be seen whether Van Ryn hits the jackpot. With the NHL draft right around the corner, the former University of Michigan and Sarnia Sting defenseman’s status remains in question. After playing two seasons at Michigan, Van Ryn, a 1998 first round draft choice of New Jersey, decided to play a year in the Ontario Hockey League. The young defenseman and his agent claim this path should lead to free agency.
An arbitrator still has not decided Van Ryn’s case and an answer may not be forthcoming until mid-July. However Van Ryn and his agent, Don Meehan, remain patient and hopeful.
“We have a hearing scheduled for June 13,” according to Meehan. “The arbitrator then has thirty days to hand down his decision.”
Both New Jersey and the National Hockey League are quite anxious about the final decision in this case. The Devils are concerned they could lose the rights to one of their top prospects. The NHL is worried about the precedent that could be set by this case. If Van Ryn wins, a U.S. college hockey player who is drafted in the future could attain free agent status by playing a year for a Canadian junior team.
According to Meehan, “We remain very optimistic about the results of the arbitration hearing.” The Devils, along with the NHL, can only hope the optimism of Meehan and Van Ryn is misguided.