staff of their brand new AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport SoundTigers.
Gordie Clark was named the General Manager and Steve Stirling was hired
shortly after as the first head coach of the new franchise. David
Baseggio was hired as an assistant coach, with the expressed purpose of
working with the Isles young defensive prospects. Former Islanders
owner Roy Boe owns the SoundTigers. It is kind of weird how that worked
out; Boe left the Worcester Ice Cats organization (the St. Louis Blues
primary affiliate) to return to an Islanders organization that he
brought into the NHL.
broken down by position. For the most part the list is done in no
particular order. Some of the players listed may stay in their native
countries or at college so this list could very well change before the
puck drops on the SoundTigers first game.
positions for the SoundTigers. Due to depth on the Islanders, some
possible NHLers will probably appear on the Tigers roster.
1. Justin Mapletoft – the Isles 5th pick in 1999 had a monster season
While there has recently been more attention paid to some of the new blood in the Buffalo organization, such as newly-acquired forwards Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, this is also a good time to recognize the work of the Sabres’ prospects who were with the organization throughout the 2000-01 season.
The purpose of this article is to present a final ranking of the top 15 prospects in the organization as of June 2nd, 2001. This would exclude players such as Barrett Heisten, Mike Zigomanis and some of the other prospects who weren’t signed at the June 1st signing deadline. Also excluded from this list are the 2001 draft choices, as the focus of this article will be strictly those players who were Buffalo property through the 00-01 campaign.
G Mika Noronen
began the year as Buffalo’s top-rated prospect, and, despite a somewhat shaky start to his 2000-01 season, he remains atop the final rankings for this season. G Ryan Miller made a strong push to grab the top spot, but Mika gets the nod due to the fact that he plays against tougher competition. D Brian Campbell, RW Norm Milley and D Henrik Tallinder round out the top 5.
The Top 15 for 2000-01
Mika had a brief taste of the NHL at the beginning of the season, but was returned to Rochester to continue his development. Mika struggled upon his return to the AHL, but, by season’s end, he regained the MVP form that he displayed d Read more»
suburb of Mississauga, Ontario. He played his junior hockey for the Barrie Colts, and at the age of 17 was the OHL’s youngest captain during the 97-98 season. He currently holds the Colt franchise records for total career points, goals, assists, short-handers, and game-winners. Chosen sixth overall in the 97 draft, Daniel felt plenty of pressure to step in quicky for the Flames and lead them back into the postseason. Tkaczuk confused the Calgary brass with his flashes of brilliance at the lower levels tempered by mediocre showings during his many call-ups. Frustrated with his lack of production at the NHL level, this cerebral center kept a positive outlook toward his relegation to the minors. Bouncing back from a late season concussion, Dan was absolu Read more»
Cote’s One for the Gene Pool
Talking to Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Coach Pascal Vincent about blueliner Jean-Philippe Cote, the two things that stick out in his mind about his defenseman are “leadership and work ethic.” Vincent can’t say enough about his player when it comes to intangibles. He “puts his mistakes behind him” on those rare occasions that he does make one and is more or less the glue that holds the team together. Proof of this, the coach points out, can be seen in the fact that in the two games his Captain missed last year due to injury, the Screaming Eagles were outscored 14-2.
That said, all of the dedication in the world does not an NHL player make if he has nothing else, but the coach, who first saw him when he was the bench boss for the U-17 National Team, knows there is more to him than that. “90% of the time he makes the right decision when he passes the puck” and his passes are “usually on the tape.” What’s more, the defenseman knows enough to trail the play after making that pass and has demonstrated “good decision-making when it comes to the pinch.” While Vincent admits that Cote “is not an elegant skater” he rates his speed above average and his lateral movement as excellent stating that “he rarely gets beat one on one”. While his pivot easily makes the grade in the Q though, he feels that Cote will have to speed Read more»