The importance of a strong draft can never be under-stated. The Boston Bruins have had difficulties winning in 1999-2000 and when you look at the disastrous showing of Sinden and Company in 1996, you can begin to understand why. Despite a top-10 pick and eight additional selections, the Bruins have gotten exactly zero NHL games out of the players they chose that summer. Let’s take a trip back to that fateful June of 1996 and find out what went so terribly wrong…
That year, the Bruins owned the 8th pick, compliments of the then- Hartford Whalers who had dealt their top choices from ’95-’97 to the Bruins in exchange for defenseman Glen Wesley. Boston had tabbed Kyle McLaren the year before with the Whalers’ 9th overall selection and so there was reason for Bruins fans to be excited in 1996, despite the forecast from scouts of a weak talent pool from which to choose from. The Bruins had traded their own 1st-round choice(21st) in the deal for Bill Ranford, but seemed poised to get an impact player nonetheless because of Sinden’s shrewd deal back in 1994.
Name: Michal Rozsival
Birthdate: Sept. 3, 1978
Birthplace: Vlasim, Czech Rep.
Acquired: 1996 NHL Draft, fourth round (105th overall)
HF Comments: Michal started off the 99-00 season on a positive note, impressing Penguins management enough to earn himself a spot on the full-time roster. Since then he has continued to climb the latter of success. His valiant efforts have not gone unnoticed and have moved him up to the number one spot on the prospect list. As a rookie, Michal still has much to learn, but he does appear to be doing so quickly. Mid-way through the season, and one coach later, he’s not only earned the respect of his teammates, but more importantly, he has also earned the respect of his coach. Herb Brooks has admitted to being very impressed by Michal’s work ethics. He says even though Rozsival is a young defenseman, he feels as though he can trust him on a nightly basis.
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Pittsburgh NHL 45 3 11 14 22
1998-99 Syracuse AHL 49 3 22 25 72
1997-98 Swift Current WHL 71 14 55 69 122
Name: Andrew Ference
Ht: 5’10″ Wt: 190
Born: March 17, 1979
Acquired: 1997 NHL Draft, eighth round selection (208th overall)
For Andrew Raycroft, this is a season to remember. Raycroft for the first time in his 3 year OHL career was the starting goaltender in the OHL all star game. In a game of the best of the best, Andrew lived up to his current outstanding level of play stealing every scoring chance but one in the first period. All season long for the Kingston Frontenacs, Raycroft is showing he was a sleeper draft pick in the 1998 entry draft. Selected by the Boston Bruins 135th overall, Raycroft currently has a won-lost-tied record of 26-12-5 and a 2.93 goals against average. In 45 appearances this season the native of Belleville, Ontario has faced a total of 1786 shots, putting him in the lead as the OHL’s busiest goaltender. Raycroft has only allowed 125 goals this season and has an OHL and CHL leading save percentage of .930. Raycroft was selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. In 13 appearances in November Raycroft posted a 2.77 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. On December 9 Raycroft made 47 saves in a 4-1 win in Peterborough and on December 10 he turned aside 43 shots in a 4-1 win over the visiting Oshawa Generals. A highlight of Raycroft’s week was a 59 save performance in a 4-3 win in Oshawa on December 12. Raycroft’s play had helped the Frontenacs extend their undefeated streak to 11 games, and he received honors as the OHL player of the week for December 12.
Dave Taylor is a legend to Kings fans. Everything he has done in his professional career has been done with a drive and work ethic that have made him a successful forward in the NHL for 17 seasons and now the General Manager of his beloved Kings. How has he done? It’s hard to day. You would have to compare him to his predecessor, Sam “the Disaster” McMaster.
The Disaster was forced out in 1997. Kings fans everywhere, including yours truly, called for his head and wanted our fair-haired boy DT to take over after his three year apprenticeship under the Disaster. DT was the most appealing choice to succeed the Disaster because of his lifelong dedication to the Kings. Kings fans were elated- not only to have DT as the GM, but to have the Disaster out of the organization. Well Kings fans, I have some bad news. We would not be enjoying the limited success we have if Sam was not the previous GM.