SIMON GAGNE- If there is one position that the Philadelphia Flyers are a little short on as far as organizational depth is concerned, it would be the center position. And that is almost humorous because at the NHL level, it is difficult not to trip over a center as one walks to the First Union Center since the Flyers have about eight players that could play the pivot on most any NHL team.
The one sure fire future gem at the center spot for the Flyers would be the Quebec Ramparts Simon Gagne. Gagne is a very good skater but it is his hockey sense that has the faithful of the Delaware Valley excited about his pending debut as a pro. He should be invited to go to camp with the Canadian National Junior Team later in the fall which should only help Gagne hone his skills as the Flyers keep an eye on their top offensive prospect.
Tickets could go on sale for Gagne’s first pro game as soon as September of next year, but a cup of coffee with the big club after the 99-00 QMJHL season is finished is a more realistic timetable.
Mike Maneluk- I know. I know. Maneluk is skating the preseason as Eric Lindros’ right wing on the Philadelphia Flyers top line. But the Flyers are reportedly looking for an established NHL top flight RWer and that should drop Maneluk back a couple of lines and into his normal left side position. And that is not too bad for a player that cost Philadelphia one dollar to pry him out of the Ottawa organization
HUSELIUS HEADING TOWARDS BREAKTHROUGH SEASON
Florida Panthers prospect Kristian Huselius has been on the team that won the Swedish Championship for the last two years. But, leading up to this season he has had almost nothing to do with Färjestad’s on-ice success. After all, it’s hard to score goals and put up points when you’re sitting on the bench. Huselius is also the kind of player who can’t be thrown in for a shift or two and do a decent checking job – his game is offense, and offense only.
Färjestad’s coach Bo Lennartsson claims that Huselius has added defense to his repertoire this season and that is the reason why he is now a regular on Färjestad’s second line. Huselius is not the defensive liability he once was, but he is still only average at best when compared to other Elite-League players. Also, the main criticism of him – from NHL scouts particularly – is still true: Huselius looks very thin and is a very soft player.
While knowing his weaknesses, Färjestad is willing to put up with that because of the good things he brings to the club. He has very good vision, and he is an excellent stickhandler – probably the best Sweden has produced in many years. So far in the Elite-League, he has scored 3 goals in five games, 1 of them a game-winning goal. He also added an overtime game-winning goal in the Euroleague. With a Färjestad first line made up by Elite-League stars like Jörgen Jönsson, Pelle Prestberg and Roger Johansson, Huselius gives them a scoring-threat from the second line.
Each fall, in 27 cities scattered around North America, NHL veterans and hopefuls gather to compete for roster spots in NHL training camps. There is always a feeling of optimism surrounding training camp, which is seen as a new beginning by fans of the respective teams. Every team is a Stanley Cup contender, at least until real bullets are fired in early October, and reality sets in.
In the case of the Buffalo Sabres, a team coming off a final four appearance, there will be precious few roster spots available to young prospects looking to make a good impression. The majority of the prospects will have to ply their trade in the minors, juniors or Europe with an eye toward next year’s training camp.
Still, it is worth recapping the progress of the Sabres prospects, and pointing out some of the strong (and weak) performances displayed thus far in the ’98 training camp. Rookie Camp
Prior to training camp proper, the Sabres first and second-year players took part in a rookie tournament in Kitchener, ON with rookies from the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. The Sabres compiled a 1-2 record in the tourney, defeating the Maple Leafs 2-1, but losing to the Habs 2-1 and the Hurricanes 4-2.
DES MOINES BUCCANEERS-PLAYERS LOST(10) Division I Scholarships- Jason
Basile Ferris State, Peter Cupouch Harvard, Chris Dube Wisconsin-Eau
Claire, Peter Fregoe Lake Superior State, Jason Nightingale Lake
Superior State, Nick Parillo Merrimack, Jake Searles Bemidji State, Erik
Strund Wisconsin-Eau Clarie, Jeremy Vokes Miami of Ohio Pro Hockey- Bob
PLAYERS RETURNING(9)(goals,assits,pionts, PIM) Mark Krueger F 5-8-13 30,
Erie Maksimenko F 27-23-50 8, Josh Flynn D 6-8-14 18, Pete Fregoe F
31-32-63 51, Noah Clarke F 19-30-49 29, Dan Donnette F 5-11-16 48, Erik
Jensen F 12-14-26 90, Bill Birrenkott D 1-3-4 95, Jim Jackson D 2-12-14
37, Garret Stafford D 6-17-23 89
NEW PLAYERS(14) (last years team, stats were available) Nick Stodgell D
Rochester Mustangs 3-4-7 31, Felipe Larranga D Soo Hawks AAA, Peter
Smerk D Martin Slovakia, Josh Roach F Soo Hawks AAA, KC Caudill D Soo
Indians 15-16-31 98, Rob Novak F Hayward HS, Peter Sejna F Liptovsky
Slovakia, Nick Field F Cleveland NAHL 34-28-62 38, Alex Sawruk F Soo
Indians 6-14-20 65, Kelly Miller F Chicago Freeze 24-18-42 132,
Michael Chin F USA Under 18 9-6-15 12, Jerrid Reinholz F Anoka HS,
Mathew Carney G U.N.H, Frank Berenguer G Long Beach Midgets
PREDICTIONS- The Bucs finished first overall last season with forty
wins, this years edition should win the Central Division. With the Read more»
As the regular season approaches, with only weeks remaining teams have made decisions on starting goalies, four lines, and starting defenceman. Almost every team knows their top two lines: every team, that is, but the Montreal Canadiens.
The Habs have five players not attending camp. Malakhov, Koivu, Rucinsky, and Savage are without contracts. Shayne Corson refuses to play unless his salary is raised another 1.5 million dollars. So, with that in mind, many would think the Habs were in major trouble: Their season is ruined. Well, you would think that if you haven’t heard of St. Theo.
St. Theo has a red, white, and blue mask. He wears the sacred C proudly on his chest, has a large glove, a blocker, two pads, and carries a big stick. Some say St. Theo was sent from heaven, some say that he was not. Many think he will crack under the pressure of the notorius Montreal media. Others say that he will thrive with the attention. St. Theo has a number on his back. It is 60. And with that number is sewn a name: Theodore.
He wears the jersey proudly, but not only that, he protects his home as he has learned from another saint, St. Brodeur. He is solid in front of his territory, but when it is needed, he will come out to block possible entries into his private space. He sacrifices his body for a full 60 minutes on some nights, and others he sits, watches, and learns from his mentor Jocelyn Thibault. This man’s full name is Jose Theodore.