The Blue Jackets are slowly filling out their roster, even before the
expansion draft. Two more roster spots were filled with the signings of
Brad Moran, formerly of the Calgary Hitmen (WHL); and Blake Bellefeuille,
Boston College (HE).
Brad Moran was this years WHL Most Valuable Player, leading the league
in scoring with 120 pts, capping off his WHL career with three straight 100
pt. seasons. Moran finished 9th all time in the WHL with 204 goals, and 4th
all time in playoff assists and points, 48 and 82. The Buffalo Sabres, who
drafted Moran in the 7th round of the 1998 Entry Draft (191st overall),
decided not to sign the 21 year old junior player, leading Mr. Breeze,
Moran’s agent, to issue the following tirade to the Associate Press: “Never
in my 15 years (as an agent) have I ever seen a player, and especially of
Brad’s elite status, treated with such cavalier indifferent arrogance.” Why
then would Buffalo pass on such an outstanding junior player, and Columbus
Buffalo did not sign him for three main reasons: his age, his physical
abilities, and money. Moran is 21, playing in a league typically filled
with 18 year olds; this coupled with the fact that few overage junior
players go on to have solid NHL careers leaves Moran with one strike against
him. The second strike is his size and skating ability. Listed at 5-11 and
175 lbs, Moran must bulk up in order to succeed at the NHL level; combine Read more»
Statistics are updated through Saturday’s Games. The season is finally over.
First Round Selections
1. Boston Bruins - Joe Thornton, C
TEAM LGE GP G A PTS +/- PIM
Boston NHL 81 23 37 60 -6 87
2. San Jose Sharks - Patrick Marleau, C
TEAM LGE GP G A PTS +/- PIM
San Jose NHL 81 17 23 40 -10 36
Playoffs NHL 4 0 1 1 -2 2
3. New York Islanders - Olli Jokinen, C
TEAM LGE GP G A PTS +/- PIM
Islanders NHL 82 11 10 21 even 80
Finland WHC 9 1 3 4 -- 6
4. New York Islanders - Roberto Luongo, G
TEAM LGE GP MIN GAA W L T EN SO GA SV SP
Lowell AHL 26 1517 2.93 10 12 4 1 1 74 733 .908
After studying hard for 2 years, GM Larry Pleau came to a conclusion concerning the draft class of 1998. The crop of young talent that everyone gets excited about on draft day, just never materialized. Christian Backman has not improved like the Blues had envisioned, Maxim Linnik is a bust in every sense of the word, Brad Voth?, what was that? The jury is still out on Andrei Trochinsky, however, the Blues still own his rights. Brad Twordik didn’t show enough to warrant a pro contract so he is gone as well. The best player may be, John Pohl, who was the last player drafted with the 255th pick. He will be in his junior year at the University of Minnesota next season.
Out of the eight players chosen, the Blues signed one. Defenseman Matt Walker, who attended training camp last fall, showed enough improvement this season to draw some attention his way. At 6-2, 222 pounds, Walker has good size. Playing for Kootenay in the WHL, Matt has made great strides this year both defensively and offensively. After training camp, he will return to Kootenay for his last season of junior hockey.
Christian Backman may turn into a serviceable player someday, but that day will not be this year. Backman, who’s name has been mentioned in numerous trades, may not get his chance with the Bluenote or even Worcester. The Blues want him to sign a contract and play in North America next season, however, he has shown little interest in doing so. If Backman comes to camp this season it will be a miracle.
With the horrific season known as 1999-2000 over the Rangers ship had to be righted, not in order to sail in New York for OpSail 2000 but to save the club from prolonging the embarrassment that they had now become.
Glen Sather the builder of champions in Edmonton has landed in Manhattan and it could not have come at a better time. Sather the designer of the Oilers` dynasty in the 80`s that featured his drafting and nurturing of Wayne, Mark, Kevin, Charlie, Jarri, Paul, Glen and Grant among others (no last names needed)… has an even more daunting task. That being to rebuild the Ranger ship in as short as time as possible with the ever opinionated media on his back, the ownership that wishes to run the club “hands on” and the pressure from Gary Bettman and the NHL to build a new winner in New York…and not New Jersey or the Island. The Rangers have become the flagship team on the American Side of the National Hockey League.
For the Rangers kids, Sather`s entrenchment could not have come at a better time. Neil Smith restocked a few shelves with prospects… Mike York, Kim Johnsson, Radek Dvorak and Jan Hlavac at the NHL level… Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark at the development level and a couple Euro Prospects in Johan Holmqvist and again Rudolf Vercik, in addition with the Baby Rangers in Hartford (AHL) with Tomas Kloucek and Johan Witehall and then there is Manny Malhotra… perhaps Sather is his savior.
Of the hundred European players expected to be drafted this year, approximately 20 of them will be Czech players. The most highly rated Czech player is Vaclav Nedorost followed closely by Jan Bohac. But there are many more talented players who were not observed in such detail by scouts but who still can make it to the NHL. By the CSB ranking on 66th and 73rd position there are 2 Czech defenders who together play in the junior team of Sparta Praha. Their abilities show they are the best defending pair in Sparta and therefore are high in the draft.
His play during the whole year earned him an invitation to the U18 year Championship in Switzerland. The team did not have an exceptional performance. The team did not work as a team which nowadays is the most common reason for non-success. Hanzlik, however, was 2nd among defensemen in the plus/minus statistics.
His size is not ideal for defense in the NHL but he possesses excellent puck technique, ability to read the game as well as a good hockey sense. This year he was strong support for his team (junior team of Sparta Praha) and for the national team as well. And he is really happy with his performance now. He is not in a hurry to go to the NHL even though he does want to go there one day. He is not prepared to leave the security of home for the insecurity of North America. Read more»