| | Keith Tkachuk. Tony Amonte. Scott Lachance. Wouldn’t the Edmonton Oilers love to have the next Boston University stand-out turned NHL star in Daniel LaCouture? Realistically, however, the Oil should be thinking more along the lines of Shawn McEachern, Mike Sullivan and Scott Young, also former Terriers but not as high-profiled as those previously mentioned. Either way, 20 year old LaCouture will have ample opportunities to prove he was worth giving up Polish speedster Mariusz Czerkawski to the Islanders.The Natick, Massachusetts native started his hockey career with the Detroit Junior Whalers, where he was first noticed by scouts. LaCouture joined Team East for the 1995 US Olympic Festival where he gave a stellar performance, impressing the hockey scene with his two goals and dominant presence. Dan saw his stock rise up to the paramount year, 1996, in which he was drafted 29th overall by the New York Islanders at the Entry Draft and then joined the powerhouse BU hockey team as a freshman. The Isles didn’t see the left wing fitting into their system, already laden with young talent, and dealt him to the Oilers for the unhappy Czerkawski. GM Glen Sather obviously saw some value in Dan when he immediately signed him to a multi-year contract.
The Los Angeles Kings opened camp, at least first stepped foot on the ice, on this past Wednesday, September 10th. About 75 Kings fans were in attendance. Included in that figure was another Hockey 2000 writer, Donna Sarasin. Donna and I had the opportunity to talk to many people from the Kings front office. It amazed me at how open and accessible they were. I want to focus this article in two areas, one my evaluation of what I observed, and, two, a twenty-minute conversation Donna and I had with Al Murray, Director of Scouting.
A unanimous sigh of relief is coming from Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, the site of the Washington Capitals’ 1997 training camp. No injuries. Yet. Any hockey fan with a decent memory knows the significance of those three words. Injuries last year, a matter of nearly 370 man-games lost, played a key role in ending the Caps’ 14 straight playoff appearance record. This year management started with a clean slate, literally, and a positive outlook going into camp; they’ve been riding high on that attitude because everyone is staying injury-free. Besides that, rookies and veterans alike have all been giving a 110 per cent and the Capitals should be able to put together an impressive squad this year that will give any team run for their money.
The Florida Panthers are a team on the upswing.
They are young, and have added some much needed leadership (with the loss
od Skrudland) by acquiring Esa Tikanen. The Panthers mind set for their
prospects is what I would literally call BIG!!! If you look at the top
5 or so Panthers prospects you will probably notice that not one
is under 6’4″. The Panthers are gonna get bigger and stronger,
which should allow them to bang with the big boys in the Eastern Conference.
With the 1st pick in this years entry draft, the Panthers added
more size to the system by acquiring 6’4″ bruiser Mike Brown.
Brown is noted for his fighting skills, but he can definitely put
the puck in the net. He is still a year or 2 away from sticking with
the Panthers though. The Panthers roster is pretty much almost full,
with a few exceptions. Dont get me wrong the Panthers definitely
have talent in the sytem, but they may be able to keep them in the minors
for 1 more year to get some more experience. There are only three or four legitimate candidates
of making the squad this year out of camp. There are a few other prospects who have great talent,
but will probably need another year of seasoning.
Surely these 3 prospects that are contending for a roster spot are no
slouches, but with the offseason
acquisitions of veterans such as Esa Tikanen, and Gagner, even if these youngsters
do make the squad, dont expect to see them get much ice time. Read more»
Ok, here are the rookies I think we should all watch for to have an impact in the NHL this year. The ones denoted by a ‘*’ indicate the guys I feel are most likely to be serious Calder Trophy Candidates. All these guys have the potential to make the NHL this year but that does
not mean that all of them will. A lot depends on injuries and whether there is room for them. We should all keep an eye on them though and I will be updating the progress of these rookies, and any I might have missed, through out the season. The next update should come shortly after the season starts and I will let you know which rookies made their respective NHL clubs.
(*)Joe Thornton – Big, strong and talented. What more could you ask for. Will almost for sure develop into a top center in the NHL but don’t expect that yet. He is expected (and will) make the Bruins and play a prominent role for them. The ice time should get will make him a top calder trophy candidate.
(*)Sergei Samsonov – He is probably as talented, maybe more talented, than Thornton but lacks Thornton’s size to say the least. At just 5’8″ tall he won’t scare anyone in the corners but will certainly scare opposing defensemen and goalies with his pure offensive talent. Not bad defensively either. Should make the pro team from camp and maybe play with big Thornton.