| | The Kings annual right of summer, losing once-heralded draft picks because they don’t sign them, continued with two pretty significant names slipping by. In addition to J.F. Nogues, the Kings lost two promising draft picks in Cory Campbell and Brian McGrattan.Brian McGratten was having a career year until suffering a serious injury, and that can be the only reason they would let him go. McGrattan was showing signs of a true NHL game and would complement the other prospects the Kings are grooming, but that will not be. The Kings are tight-lipped about these maneuvers, but this one raises some eyebrows.The other move was the Cory Campbell decision. Campbell seemed to overcome some confidence issues to show some solid play this season, but that has now gone to the wayside. I guess another Jamie Storr psyche in the crease was too much of a risk for the Kings.While I personally find these two maneuvers troubling, it is the trend that concerns me most. While the Kings are loading up on draft picks, the question is what good will they do if we never sign them? Coming off a season in which great strides were made, and a season where many Kings’ fans learned to trust Dave Taylor through what looked like some questionable moves, Kings fans are again forced to trust that management is sticking to the plan.While this is one I don’t see, here’s hoping I am wrong. Keep your eyes out for more on this story. The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly come to terms with 20 year old Canadian native Darcy Robinson. Robinson, a 1999 draft pick, stands at an impressive 6’5″ 222lbs. He played 71 regular season games with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. He posted 3 goals and 11 assists while ringing up 150 penalty minutes. His plus/minus rating was a dismal -18, the worst on the squad. Darcy rebounded in the playoffs, recording 1 goal and 1 assist with 20 penalty minutes in 20 contests. He improved his plus/minus ratio to +3.
The specifics of the contract were not released.
At last year’s NHL Entry Draft, a number of Brandon Wheat Kings headed into the event with high hopes. The likes of Colin McRae, Ryan Craig, Brett Thurston, Mike Wirll, and even Robert McVicar sat anxiously by the phone hoping it would ring with the news that they had been drafted. Unfortunately, that season brought nothing but heartache. For only the second time in Wheat Kings history, no players off the team were selected in the draft. Fortunately, the misery of 2000 has turned to promise for 2001. Two Wheat Kings figure prominently on the CSB lists. Jiri Jakes and Jordin Tootoo are listed in the top 65 on the CSB final lists and both have the scouts drooling. Here’s a breakdown on the players that figure to help put some shine back into the golden wheat shafts on the Wheat Kings logo. Jiri Jakes is a 6’4, 210 Lb. right winger from Praha, Czech Republic. However, that’s the only indication that you’ll find about Jakes’s European background. Jakes’s style of play is completely opposite that of the traditional European. While most players trained on the other side of the pond tend to focus their attention on puckhandling, skating and one-on-one offensive skills, Jakes displays an obvious deficiency in these areas. Jakes plays a more up-and-down style, going into the corners, banging the body, digging for loose pucks, going to the front of the net and hoping for a rebound. He isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty or take a hit to make a play. He also has a good wrist shot, though most of his goals come of loose rebounds in fron Read more» When the Orlando Solar Bears won the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup championship last Saturday, the future was missing from the celebration.The 56-year-old IHL is expected to fold this week thus dramatically changing the landscape at the top level of minor professional hockey.Six of the IHL’s 11 teams from the 2000-01 season, including the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Milwaukee Admirals, the Houston Aeros, the Manitoba Moose, the Utah Grizzlies and the Chicago Wolves, are expected to jump into an expanded American Hockey League for the 2001-02 season.
The AHL, always a prime development arena for the National Hockey League, would become the primary feeder system, potentially expanding into a 28-team circuit for next season.In the dream world of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the AHL will eventually become a 30-team entity, so that each of the NHL’s 30 teams will have one top affiliate, similar to how Triple-A baseball teams act as the primary farm teams for major-league baseball clubs.Like mergers in the corporate world, the logistics of merging two hockey leagues in a few short months have already resulted in plenty of frenzied activity. Among other things, players are worried about lost jobs, while NHL organizations are anticipating reduced costs as new alliances and situations emerge.
Consider the activity in the past two weeks:
– The Minnesota Wild cut their ties to the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL and hooked up with Houston, which also formally announced it was joining the AHL. The league, Read more»
After having what might have been their worst season in History, the Panthers are entering the new phase in the life of an Expansion team. After relying heavily on veteran players to help sell the sport to a fickle South Florida to great success, the Panthers have been drafting late in the draft several times. While teams like the Avalanche and the Devils can seemingly find gems in all rounds, most NHL teams are lucky enough to have all their first round picks play in the NHL. The Panthers are one of those teams.The Panthers have taken part in 8 drafts and have had 6 first round draft selections, of which over half of them have been out of the top 10 (20th twice, and 12th once). Drafting this late generally goes to the better performing teams, and the Panthers veteran team might have caused the Panthers to miss out on some good young players when they should have been stock-piling high draft picks. Such is the nature of being a victim of your success.To follow is a comprehensive analysis of the Panthers draft history, which has been under only Bob Clarke and Bryan Murray. While the drafting of 17 year olds is hardly an exact science, an analysis of the Panthers picks can show that they have been an above average team in the yearly crap-shoot known as the Entry Draft.
5th – Robbie Neidermayer
41st – Kevin Weekes
47th – Chris Armstrong
67th – Mikael Tjallden
78th – Steve Washburn
83rd – Bill McCauley
109th – Todd MacDonald Read more»