Islanders Training Camp Preview: Part Two The Fight For Jobs.

By Bill Bennett

Please keep this in mind:

Butch Goring will not hesitate to bench any player on this team who is not giving every bit of effort at all times when they are playing.

That used to be the definition of Islander hockey when Goring played here under Al Arbour and anyone who does not play that way will not be here very long.

Islanders by the numbers entering training camp:

Played on last years team-*


1. Rick DiPietro

30. Wade Flaherty*

34. John Vanbiesbrouck

35. Stephen Valiquette*

40. Mike D’Alessandro

55. David St. Germain

Comments: It’s Beezer’s job to lose and Di Pietro’s job to win. Di Pietro is a star in the making with fantastic quickness, great recovery, a sharp glove and ability to handle the puck.

Beezer will get the start in the teams preseason opener against Philadelphia and based on early reports in camp, is looking like the number one goaltender and is thrilled with being a mentor for Di Pietro. All the goaltenders have looked solid in camp so far, and St Germain has stood out in scrimmages.

Questions: Beezer is not going to be able to hold up this team on his own, and if Di Pietro does not make the team in some capacity Wade Flaherty or Steven Valiquette have to give this team 25-30 games. One goalie who’s season ended with a shoulder injury and is a journeyman and another who had some standout performances in a late season call up.

Islanders may be looking in the waiver draft for another goalie, this bears close watching because the Islanders cannot overwork Beezer.

If Di Pietro is sent down it was mentioned that he may be headed to the IHL as opposed to AHL Lowell but this was before camp.

Background: Flaherty was very solid at the end of the 98-99 season and Valiquette made a great first impression at the end of last year. D’ Alessandro put together an impressive 11-3-0 record and sparkling 2.67 goals against average with a .912 save percentage with the Barrie Colts and St Germain was 10-11-2 in 23 games with a 3.59 goals against in Baie-Comeau and 10-23-3 with a 4.44 goals against in 36 games with Cape Breton.


(Background on some players included)

2. Branislav Mezei-Very steady defender who almost made team last year, not shy about playing the physical game.

3. Zdeno Chara*

4. Roman Hamrlik

6. Mathieu Biron*

7. Kevin Haller

29. Kenny Jonsson*

32. Aris Brimanis* The 28-year old Brimanis opened some eyes last year in a late season call-up with the Islanders. He played 18 games and scored his first nhl goal and provided steady defense.

33. Eric Cairns*

36. Evgeny Korolev*

39. Ray Schultz* Very physical, high penalty minutes, 26 games played with he Isles in parts of four seasons, two assists.

41. Ray Giroux*-Signed to play in Europe this season.

46. Louis Robitaille (QMJHL) defenseman 266 penalty minutes along with three goals and 24 points in 71 games.

47. Adam Johnson-Tri Cities Whl, 52 games, 90 pim.

50. Dan Trebil 26, appeared in three games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, notching one goal has played parts of four seasons in the NHL with Anaheim and Pittsburgh. In 59 career NHL games, he has four goals, eight points and 25 penalty minutes.

51. Anders Myrvold-A solid defenesman who has bulked up and who’s physical game is more suited to North American Hockey. Myrvold played last season with AIK, posting one goal, four points and 87 penalty minutes in 49 games. Sixth choice in the 1993 draft, Myrvold made his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche in 1995-96.

53. Ryan Bast-The 25-year old in 1999-2000 notched one goal and 10 points along with 198 penalty minutes in 71 games for the Phantoms, was invited to camp as a non-roster player.

56. Lee Sorochan-Spent most of the 1999-2000 campaign with the AHL St. John Flames, where he was the team’s top scoring defenseman with four goals and 41 points in 60 games, invited as non-roster player.

Comments: The Islanders are set going into the 2000-01 season with Jonsson, Hamrlik, Chara, Haller, Cairns, Biron and Branislav Mezei, who should make the team after being one of the final cuts last year. In camp so far Jonsson has had a leg/groin injury that the team is being careful with. Hamrlik, Chara have just arrived. Even with the long list of players in camp forward Mike Stapleton has filled in on defense.

Korolev has gotten the notice of the coaching staff in camp and Goring praised him as a standout who on many occasions last season when the defense was decimated by injuries looked like the teams best defender. One thing that will change is how many penalities the team took on defense last season out of inexperience.

The defense is a solid group that only looks to get better as long as they stay healthy. Korolev, Trebil, Schultz, Brimanis, Myrvold will be in the AHL/IHL. If Gary Galley is signed Mezei may start the season in Lowell if everyone is healthy.

Adam Johnson will likely stay in the WHL, but I have little background on him.

Questions: Can Kenny Jonsson stay healthy and gain back some confidence. Will Roman Hamrlik be able to take his game up another level and score at even strength, which he did not do in Edmonton. Will Chara be the hitting machine he was before he got injured, or the tentative player he was after his return. How upset can Kevin Haller make the opposition. Can Eric Cairns continue to play the kind of defense that established him a solid Nhl defender, and stay away from double minors for arguing with a 3-1 lead and five minutes left. Can Matthew Biron continue his solid overall play and shoot even more. Will Branislav Mezei and Zdeno Chara have fun with Theo Fleury in the corners.


(Background on some players included)

8. Steve Webb*

10. Mats Lindgren*

11. Bill Muckalt*

12. Oleg Kvasha

13. Claude Lapointe*

14. Mike Stapleton

15. Brad Isbister*

16. Raffi Torres-Left Wing. Torres plays like a buzz saw, a strong, physical, driving player. The stocky winger loves to initiate contact and is a solid checker. Is is very strong on his skates and has excellent control of the puck. He has the ability to make moves at full speed and is a tremendous finisher. He is a natural scorer with a great shot, a gritty sniper.

17. Taylor Pyatt-Left Wing. His great skating and speed could translate OHL scoring to the NHL. Led the OHL in plus-minus and kept producing in the playoffs. Strong on the puck and shows signs of being a power forward with soft hands. Defensively responsible, and very close to making the team.

18. Tim Connolly*

20. Petr Mika* Got a brief look last year, needs playing time in minors.

21. Mariusz Czerkawski*

24. Mark Lawrence * RW-Will fill out roster in minors unless claimed in waiver draft.

25. Juraj Kolnik RW- Last season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec League, the 19 year old right wing posted 53 goals and 106 points in just 47 games. Kolnik has speed, quickness and scoring ability and remind many in the organization of Zigmund Palffy.

26. Jeff Toms LW-Had a fastastic season with the Caps minor league affiliate last year and
is a total package of speed, hitting and skill, who may just be ready for the Nhl.

27. Mark Parrish RW

28. Jason Krog*

37. Dmitri Nabokov*

38. Dave Scatchard*

42. Dimitri Upper RW-Signed by the team over the summer, Upper has the maturity and skills to get a look if needed by the team.

43. Trent Hunter-A big WHL scorer due to his size and intensity. G
reat hands and plays very well defensively, needs to improve his speed and balance, but a great pickup by Isles.

44. Jesse Belanger Center-Played 16 games with the Montreal Canadiens, talling nine points.

45. Mike Rice LW-A teammate of Raffi Torres who posted five goals, 14 points and 51 penalty minutes in 52 games.
48. Justin Mapletoft Center-Red Deer Whl, 39 goals, 96 points in 72 games and a top prospect who is could be a factor as soon as next year.

49. Robert Petrovicky Forward-Played 43 games last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he
scored seven goals and had 17 points.

52. Adam Edinger Center-Bowling Green prospect here for his first camp.

54. Marco Charpentier-Right Wing Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Charpentier, who led his team in scoring with 51 goals and 113 points in 72 games and finished 11th in the league in points.

Comments: Pyatt seems to be the player destined to make this team, he has had a very good start to camp and has been scoring in the intra-squad games. Muckalt is still recovering from shoulder surgery but in camp. Mike Stapleton was signed to a long-term deal and will provide many of the skills that La Pointe provides. Is Steve Webb’s hustle, hitting and ability to draw penalities going to keep him in the Nhl.

Taking a hard look at the Isles forwards there are spots available. If I had to select a group (without making lines ) based on Butch Goring choices.




La Pointe-Stapleton-Webb

My list does have Pyatt making the team. What I do not like is La Pointe playing 4th line minutes because its not what he has done here all these years. Nabakov, Krog, you almost have to let them play here as well if they show they are ready.

Questions: I really think the two biggest questions for the forwards were answered in part one: Can this group score goals and will they have chemistry.

Looking at the veterans signed its fair to say the Islanders will have plenty of players who can step in and provide the depth missing for years which could not get them out of long losing streaks in the past, and that the prospects who do not make the team will have the help and guidance that so many players, who in my opinion failed here (Mike Watt, Sean Haggerty and others) because they were expected to be veterans at a stage when then needed veteran help.

Answers: We will start finding out very soon.

Bill Barrett is the Moderator for the Free Islanders Internet Mailing List:
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