Canadiens’ Pre-Draft News Update

by Chris Boucher
Days before the NHL Entry Draft, and many Canadiens’ fans are already sitting on their hands in anticipation. The next two weeks will be chalk full of big news, so let’s take this opportunity to re-cap the most recent happenings in Hab-land.

Vadim Tarasov (7th round, 1999) has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Canadiens. However, Montreal management has yet to announce the signing. Tarasov was named top goalie in Russia during each of the last 3 years. He finished last season with a 16-13-4 record, a 2.10 GAA, and a .912 save percentage. He’ll likely make his first official appearance in North America during the Canadiens’ prospect camp to be held in August.

The Canadiens will receive a compensatory pick for the loss of Shayne Corson via free-agency. The pick will fall in the fourth round (109th overall). The Corson pick gives the Habs a total of 10 picks in this year’s draft. They will pick 7th, 25th, 37th, 71st, 104th, 109th, 171st, 203rd, 235th, and 266th.

Add Tyler Hanchuk (3rd round, 2000), and Petr Chvojka (6th round 2000) to the list of former Hab draft picks re-entering this year’s NHL Draft. Unlike Dusty Jamieson (5th round, 1999), and Sean Dixon (6th round, 1999) who can re-enter the draft because they were unable to come to terms on a contract before the June 1st deadline, the Habs only had to offer a contract to Hanchuk and Chvojka in order to retain their rights. Not doing so is known in NHL circles as renouncing rights.

In related news Matt Carkner (2nd round, 1999) has reportedly signed a deal with the Read more»

Hockey’s Future will have three at 2001 Draft

by Bryan Taylor

There will be three Hockey’s Future writers attending the 2001 NHL draft including Bill Placzek(Blackhawks page), Mark Fischel (Panthers page), and Shane Malloy(Edmonton/Calgary pages). They will try their best to conduct as many interviews as possible with the selected draftees, so it should be another great year for Hockey’s Future on draft day.

HF Editor Mock Draft Results

by Bryan Taylor

Round 1

1. Atlanta - Ilja Kovalchuk 2. NY Islanders - Jason Spezza 3. Tampa Bay - Alexander Svitov 4. Florida - Stephen Weiss 5. Anaheim - Stanislav Chistov 6. Minnesota - Mike Komisarek 7. Montreal - Mikko Koivu 8. Columbus - Dan Hamhuis 9. Chicago - Dan Blackburn 10. NY Rangers - Tuomo Ruutu 11. Calgary - Fredrik Sjostrom 12. Nashville - R.J. Umberger 13. Edmonton - Pascal Leclaire 14. Phoenix - Jens Karlsson 15. Carolina - Carlo Colaiacovo 16. Vancouver - Chuck Kobasew 17. Toronto - Mark Popovic 18. Los Angeles - Colby Armstrong 19. Boston - Jeff Woywitka 20. San Jose - Tim Gleason 21. Pittsburgh - Lukas Krajicek 22. Buffalo - Ales Hemsky 23. Philadelphia - Doug Lynch 24. New Jersey (from STL) - Igor Knyazev 25. Montreal (from WSH) - Jiri Novotny 26. Dallas - Nathan Paetsch 27. Ottawa - Marcel Goc 28. New Jersey - Duncan Milroy 29. Chicago (from DET) - Greg Watson 30. Los Angeles (from COL) - Cory Stillman

Philadelphia Flyers draft preview

by Bill Meltzer

Going into the 2001 NHL entry draft, the Flyers organizational depth chart is lacking in quality prospects at every position except goaltender. There are a handful of forwards and defensemen with NHL potential in the system (such as defenseman Bruno St. Jacques and forward Alexander Drozdetsky) but there is nobody developing into a “can’t-miss” type of prospect.

It has been widely speculated that the Flyers will select a defenseman with the 23rd overall pick this year, because the team’s single biggest positional need is on defense, especially with the core of their sometimes-shaky NHL blueline starting to age. Names such as Tim Gleason, Lukas Krajicek, Mark Popovic, Fedor Tyutin, and Igor Knyazev have been bandied about as potential selections.

The Flyers could only hope that they had anything near the system type of depth and up front that they have in goal. After all, a team only needs two goalies, but they need twelve forwards and six defensemen. Unfortunately, going into the 2001-2002 season, most of the Flyers call-up players will probably continue to be minor league veterans such as Mark Greig. There is a chance that perhaps someone like Tomas Divisek or Vaclav Pletka could take a step forward and challenge for a spot with the big team, but that is far from a certainty.

The Flyers 2000 draft class almost exclusively featured the selection of forwards. This year, positional preference will tip otherwise balanced scales toward defenseman. That presents a wonderful opportunity– and a daunting challenge. Defense may be the single hardest position Read more»

Sabres Report: 2001 Draft Preview

by Ken McKenna

The 2001 NHL Entry Draft approaches amidst a swirl of trade rumors, with the potential for a change of address for many of the league’s biggest stars. Names such as Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Yashin, Doug Weight and Eric Lindros are being bandied about as trade fodder in the days leading up to this weekend’s draft, as are the names of a couple of the Buffalo Sabres’ stars, Dominik Hasek and Michael Peca.

Trades of this magnitude could have a direct effect on the draft, as there is talk of possibly one, or both, of the top 2 picks being dealt in return for immediate help. Once again, Buffalo’s name has been mentioned prominently in trades involving the top draft choices held by Atlanta (#1) and the N.Y. Islanders (#2), but so far, at least, Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier has publicly denied any pursuit of these prime draft picks.

The trade rumors have so far caused a diversion from what looks to be a very solid 2001 draft class. At the top of the draft is 4-5 highly touted forwards, led by the mercurial Russian RW Ilya Kovalchuk. There is plenty of solid, if not spectacular, talent to be found beyond the top 5, however, with talent to be had well into the second round. The depth of this draft should be good news for the Sabres, as 4 of their 6 draft choices will be made in the first 2 rounds (barring trades, of course).

Buffalo enters this draft with a diminished prospect pool, as they recently said goodbye to 8 of their 12 1999 draft choices. One of those farewells was particularly painful, as they lost promising C Mike Zigomanis due to a Read more»

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