With the Red Wings forward prospects cupboard bare, the chance of losing 2 promising young players in the expansion draft, an aging roster, and no #1 pick in 2001 it will be critical for the Wings to pick up 2 or 3 forwards with some skill in this years draft. With this in mind GM Ken Holland sent a large portion of his scouting staff to Europe at the end of the season, hoping to uncover a few talented forwards.
The Red Wings have only 3 or 4 forwards in their organization with a good chance of making an NHL roster, and none of them has 1st or 2nd line talent. They have not drafted a contributing NHL forward since Tomas Holmstrom in 1994, and have not drafted a 1st or 2nd line player since 1990 when they picked Keith Primeau and Slava Kozlov.
In the coming expansion draft (June 23rd) the Wings stand to lose 2 of the following young players(C-Stacy Roest, LW-Daryl Laplante, D-Maxim Kuznetsov, D-Yan Golubovsky, G-Manny Legace). The Wings decided it was more important to protect proven NHL veterans Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby, so it looks like the future is still being mortgaged in hockeytown.
SCOOP up those Messiers. This was my thinking in the first year of this wave of expansion, but I quickly realized that if your salary starts out outrageous, you will sooner than later contend with an outrageous salary transferring over to guys on your roster who were ranked #16 on their original teams rosters. Follow me on this: The “star” comes and makes 4 mil. and plays first line wing for example. The guy you got playing second line gets lucky and scores 5 goals and 20 points less than your ‘star’, so when his contract is up, he goes to arbitration and has a strong case for a huge raise. this continues throughout your entire roster.
When there was the first wave of expansion from 6 to 12 teams, a guy could come in from an original six roster and establish himself as a let’s say, #1 or #2 defenseman, on an expansion team. An original club would see his improvement over the course of say three years, and might have a chance to trade for him. THEY would not because he would want the money level he was getting on the weaker club. (He IS worth it you say?) He may be…but when he arrives your #2-4 guys know he is as good as they are and getting paid more than he is worth compared to them. The term “it will throw off our salary base” has always been a major concern by NHL owners even when they were making a killing at the gate, and had players at next to nothing wages.
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.