After two years of building the franchise and laying the foundation for success in the NHL, the Nashville Predators will participate in their third Entry Draft on June 24 and 25 in Calgary. The Predators will select sixth overall, barring a trade to move up or down in the first round order. Rumors and speculation about possible trades have been circulating for several weeks, especially in the wake of the New York Islanders winning the draft lottery and moving up to the top overall pick. What the Predators do in the first round will likely be determined by those potential deals, whether Nashville is involved in them or not.
Lately, Nashville GM David Poile has talked about trading down, especially if there is no one the team is excited about at the sixth pick. Poile has indicated that the team might use its “time out” option when its pick comes up in the draft, to allow more time for trade negotiations. If another team wants a player badly enough at the sixth pick and is willing to pay the price in order to move up, Poile would love to make the kind of trade that Tampa Bay did last year, when the Lightning acquired Dan Cloutier and Niklas Sundstrom, along with first and third round draft picks in 2000 in exchange for the fourth overall selection in 1999. The chances of that kind of deal emerging are very slim, but Nashville will definitely listen to all offers on draft day.
The 2000 NHL entry draft is right around the corner and I am back as I promised in my previous article. I will now focus on Slovak players who might be picked in this draft. I divided these players into four categories. The first category includes hot prospects who are ranked in the top 40 of the North American and European CSB lists. The second category includes kids who are ranked in the top 100. The third category mentions junior prospects who were not ranked. The fourth and final category specifies over-aged players who are in my opinion really solid prospects not only for the top European Elites but also for the NHL, even though they are not 18 or 19.
No doubt that Marián Gáborík (CSB Euro #4, 02-14-1982, 6’1″ 183 lb., LW, Trencín – Extraliga, 50GP 25G-22A-47Pts +1 34PIM) is the top Slovak and European prospect. He has a real chance to be the #1 pick. While CSB ranks him at #4 on the European list, a lot of scouts, GM’s, journalists, and fans do not dispute that he is the best prospect. It does not matter whether Marián will be selected as #1 or 2 or 3. He has all the potential to start in the best hockey league next season and prove his obvious talent. In the last two seasons he refused more serious offers from IHL and QMJHL (where he was picked in the import draft) and stayed to play in the Slovak Elite – Extraliga. However, next season will be a big challenge for him and he will make the account of that.
by Derek Cheng
Boston Bruins defenseman Hal Gill stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 240 pounds. Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr once proclaimed him to be the toughest one-on-one rearguard in the National Hockey League.
Martin Grenier stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. He has yet to make his first appearance in a Bruins’ uniform, but fans and management can already feel the impact he could make.
Now imagine these two young giants (Gill, 25 and Grenier 20) standing across Boston’s blueline. It is enough to make every Bruins fan smile and any opponents fearful.
Martin Grenier was orginally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche (45th overall) in the ’99 Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Bruins along with Swedish prospect Samuel Pahlsson and veteran forward Brian Rolston on March 6, 2000. Grenier has some big skates to fill, as he was the only defenseman acquired for Bruins legend Ray Bourque. Grenier had been pegged as a first round pick in ’99, but some scouts felt he lacked discipline and that his skating was sub-par. He improved his game considerably in ’99-’00, but many feel that he is still a wildcard in the trade for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.
The Blackhawks needs are many. The organization has deteriorated due to poor player evaluation at every level, and the newest messiah, GM Smith has a large cupboard to refill. There is a need for a developmental goaltender who actually can really end up as a major leaguer over time. The goalie position has only a few candidates, none whom have displayed the solid skills needed to be a regular NHL goaltender. At least one goalie will be picked possibly in the first three picks.
This team needs a speedy scorer. This team needs a #1 centre. This team needs faster big forwards who will sacrifice themselves along the boards, make it back on defense. This team needs transition defenseman and hard rock defensemen capable of making excellent passes out of their zone and also
being quick out of their own end, if they are not quarterback types. This team needs team guys that won’t quit.
The seats in Chicago have seen less fans as the team swan dived a second year Read more»
The expansion draft, free agency, and the entry draft are all fast approaching and for a team looking to rebuild and re-evaluate under new management the Rangers time is now.
First and foremost should be the hiring of a coach. Glen Sather is expected to announce the hiring of Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL Champions) coach John Paddock to take over the duties of NY bench boss. Paddock is a well respected team coach who uses a philosophy which balances respect, toughness, and motivation to win over his players. Other candidates include the banished Ted Nolan and Rangers assistant John Tortorella. Tortorella may assume the duties of Paddock in Hartford. However, Sather believes he is a capable drafter of talent without a coach, none the less the time is now.
With the upcoming draft the Rangers have several options available even without a first rounder, which went to Tampa for the rights to Pavel Brendl. Disgruntled Stephane Quintal may be included in a package for a 1st rounder, or in fact for anything at all. Another option would be to sit on the 2nd pick and look for a 2nd round gem. This player may turn out to be one of the few players the Rangers have been analyzing such as Brett Nowak who is a projected 2nd Rounder after a non existent World Juniors Tourney, but he would help fill the void up front. Thatcher Bell is another player who should be available but at 175 pounds may not be big enough for the Rangers needs. Of course disgruntled Randy Copley, 1998 draftee of New York, re-enters and may be a return product.