Finnish Draft Review 1999

by pbadmin
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The 1999 draft is over and the first round was as European as expected. From a Finnish point of view this draft went surprisingly well – 18 Finns got drafted. It’s a quite high number when you compare it to previous years.

There’s this interesting trend going on in Finland: 1990s has been the decade of hockey in Finland. Hockey is no longer sports, it’s entertainment business and a legitimate career option to young boys. The number of young hockey players is going up all the time and with Jari’s, Teemu’s and Jere’s example every kid wants to make it in the NHL one day.

Ten years ago there were no hockey agents in Finland, now there are plenty of them. Our junior national teams, (especially our U18 team), have been very succesful in last 5 years. Still only 2 goalies (Ahonen, Jokela), 2 D-men (Harikkala, Kesä) and 2 forwards (Salmelainen, Hyytiä) got drafted from this year’s U18 gold medal team. Coach Jouko Lukkarila said ”we don’t play for the scouts, we play to win.”

A new trend is that players who really haven’t been noticed by national team coaches get drafted now (Sainomaa, Ruutu, Rajamäki). It indicates that NHL team scout more and more European players and they have now full time scouts following the European junior leagues and not just elite players at international tournaments as they used to do.

Here are the Finnish players who got drafted: Read more»

Pittsburgh Penguins 1999 Post-Draft Review

by pbadmin
on

With the first step to financial recovery finally behind them, the Penguins began a new era with the draft on Saturday. None of their draft picks this season are expected to save the franchise like player-turned-owner Mario Lemieux did, but nonetheless, there could be a couple of impact players in this draft for the Penguins.

The Penguins seemed to make an attempt to fill some needs, such as their lack of depth on the left side and lack of size on the blueline. They drafted one goaltender, three defensemen, and seven forwards (six left wings, one right wing). Three picks came from Europe, two from the OHL, two from the ECAC, and one from each of the QMJHL, WHL, WCHA, and USHL.

Here’s a look at their draft picks this year:

1: Konstantin Kolstov, LW(1st Round, 18th overall)

Vitals: 6’0″ 187lbs 18 years old
Stats: Cherepovec (Russia) 33 Games, 3G-0A-3PTS 8PIM.
Belarus (WJC) 6 Games, 4G-3A-7PTS 30PIM.
Belarus (U-18) 5 Games, 5G-2A-7PTS.

A wild card who was unknown until the World Junior Championships, Kolstov is touted as the best skater in the draft with good speed and acceleration, some even go as far to say that he is faster than Pavel Bure. He is a good puckhandler and has shown his offensive skills in international tournaments, despite his low numbers in the Russian Elite League. He’s probably at least two years away and will spend at least all of next season in Russia.

2: Matt Murley, LW – (2nd Round, 51st overall)
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Beaned By Boston: Hometwon Bruins Throw a Wrench into Flyers Draft Plans

by pbadmin
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BOSTON: The Flyers brass came to Boston, armed with great intentions and a solid plan. But a step out of character by the hometown Bruins threw a monkeywrench into Bobby Clarke’s plans when they selected Nick Boynton of the Ottawa 67′s with the 22nd pick in Saturday’s draft. Unfortunately for Flyers fans, their fall back plan certainly left something to be desired. The Flyers selected Maxime Ouellet, a big, talented goalie from Quebec, who now gives the Flyers three “goalies of the future” in their system.

Clarke had his heart set on taking Boynton, who had re-entered the draft, after failing to come to terms with both the Capitals and the Hawks over the past two years since being drafted ninth by Washington in 1997. Boynton is coming off of a great season with the Memorial Cup champs and was named MVP of the final tournament. Being twenty years old, Boynton could have pushed for an NHL job or could have been sent across the parking lot to the Phantoms for some pro seasoning. The guy has the size and speed to go along with a nice offensive game. And Clarke was hoping that the potential contract battles with Boynton and his agent Anton Thun would have kept the poorer NHL teams from selecting Boynton.

He almost made it.
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The Leafs 99 NHL Draft Review

by pbadmin
on

Toronto is now on the clock. The 1999 first round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs is center, Luca Cereda out of Switzerland, of all places. A place which is not exactly the Mecca of NHL prospects. Once you dive into Cereda’s potential, you see why coach Pat Quinn was smiling as he shook Luca’s hand just after his choice was announced. After a rough week in the management department of the Leafs, it was nice to see that familar smile on the coach’s face.

Luca has excellent size at 6-2, 200 lbs. with a thick, powerful lower body. He is very strong on the puck, almost impossible to knock off of it. He is a playmaking center first, but is not afraid to shoot the puck when it is available. He loves to lead the play, hold onto the puck until the last second, before dishing it off to a teammate in better position to score. He has demonstrated very good vision on the ice and excellent hockey instincts. He does have a wicked wrist shot and a nice, quick release. He has soft hands for work near the net. He is a quick skater, but not a burner. His lower body strength and balance should make him very strong along the boards. He has not shown a tendency to be a big physical presence, but he doesn’t shy away from physical play either as he battles for position. He is a responsible 2-way player who is a strong faceoff man.
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Buffalo Sabres Draft Review

by Ken McKenna
on

The 28-chapter book known as the 1999 NHL Entry Draft has been completed, with a possible title for the Buffalo Sabres’ chapter being “Good Things Come In Small Packages”. Certainly, Buffalo did not shy away from drafting players under 6′ tall, as they drafted six players (seven, if you count Mike Zigomanis, who is 6′ in his dreams only) under the six-foot benchmark. This trend toward smaller players seems to run counter to more recent Sabre drafts, and could signal a frightening return to the bad old days of the Gerry Meehan (former Sabre GM) era.

In an interview on the Empire Sports Network, current Sabre GM Darcy Regeir stated that the early part of the draft was used to acquire more skill, while the latter portion of the draft (rounds 4-9) would be used to acquire players with a little more size and toughness. Darcy was only partially correct in his assessment, however, which makes one wonder exactly whom was in charge of the Sabres’ draft table. In fairness to the Sabres, drafting 20th (or worse) in most rounds is a sure way to log a mediocre draft, so Buffalo’s recent success has its downside in lower draft picks. Still, the trend toward smaller players will likely be a little disconcerting to Sabre fans that have grown accustomed to Buffalo’s emphasis in recent drafts on choosing player’s with some size.
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