German NHL Entry Draft Guide for 2002

By Oliver Janz

NHL Entry Draft

The future

Germany’s national team is back in the top eight and it’s the same with the German talents, who are one of the main reasons for the success of the national team. Last years draft was a comeback for German talent. There were seven Germans drafted, a new record. During the next few years, we shouldn’t expect to see this high a number with regularity. However, one to five prospects from Germany should be drafted every year because there was a breakthrough last year. Germany has often had talented players, but they often played without the attention of the scouts. Since the summer of 2000, we have seen a lot more NHL scouts in the German arenas. Back to 2001, only three players were eligible for the first time, the other four players were available for one to three years.

To take a look at the mid term future, let’s view the NHL Entry Draft 2003. We will have goalies Patrick Ehelechner and Patrick Koslow, defender Alexander Sulzer and forward Markus Kink. Four players who are all sure candidates for the first three rounds, and this is only the beginning of the trend.

The present

The best German prospect for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Toronto on June 22nd and 23rd didn’t opt-in. Defender Alexander Sulzer (CSB-Rank 36) was one of the players who has to opt-in as he was draft eligible for the first time. This doesn’t mean that he has to write “draft me” on his face (or something comparable). Other strong prospects like Mark Stuart (USA) or Thomas Vanek (Austria) did the same and didn’t opt-in. The main reason for Sulzer’s decision: his injury only allowed him to play 18 games during the whole season.

The highest player expected to be drafted with German experience is now Alexander Steen. The Swedish forward is an “international player” who was born in Canada as a result of the NHL engagement of his father, Thomas Steen. Thomas played three years in Germany for the Eisbären Berlin at the end of his career. His son played for the bantam team of this club during those years. Alex was the top forward of the team, meanwhile the best forward of the whole bantam league of Germany. There are some coaches, players and fans who talk about magic things Alex had done while playing for Berlin.

Due to Sulzer not opting in, left wing Yannic Seidenberg is Germany’s new top prospect. In English, his name means silk mountain. As with Robin Big Snake from Vancouver/WHL, Seidenberg doesn’t play or look like a his surname, silk mountain. Unfortunately, he lacks size with the CSB official height of 5-9 (official height announced by his team: 5-10). At mid term ranking, his position was 38. But now, he’s on position 68 for the final CSB European Ranking. The 18 year old forward should be drafted between the fourth and the eight round. But a surprisingly pick in the second or third round is also possible. Teams who could be interested should be Philadelphia, which already drafted his older brother Dennis last year, or maybe San Jose, as this team collects German talents like kids collecting trading cards.

The next German on the CSB Ranking is defender Felix Petermann. A physical stay at home defender, could he be the next German defender for the Ottawa Senators? His playing style is comparable to the style of Erich Goldmann, the German defender who one time played for the Sens. Including the two German defensemen from the last draft, Christoph Schubert (20) and Stefan Schauer (19), Ottawa is also one of the teams that tends to place value on German defensemen. Petermann’s draft round should be one of the last, perhaps the seventh, eighth or ninth round.

Seidenberg and Petermann are the only “sure picks”, if you can call them that, at this year’s draft. Behind them, there are about ten players who should have outsider chances to be drafted, like last year’s Stefan Schauer, who wasn’t ranked but shined at the U18-WJC in front of the eyes of the Senators scouts. So, the majority (CSB) of the scouts didn’t rank the other Germans, but following are the candidates, in a ranked order.

First, the goalies. The only one with chances is Martin Morczinietz. An 84 born Geretsried native who was pre season ranked by the CSB. He became the number one of third league based team of his hometown, the TuS Geretsried. He’s talented enough to reach the DEL in the mid term future, but is he talented enough for the NHL? It doesn’t look like it. Another reason against his draft: he didn’t play at the U18-WJC, he was only the number four on that team. The other goalies are eligible for the 2003 Draft. It’s not due to a lack of talent, but the best German goalies are already drafted (Seliger, Müller, Pätzold) or not yet eligible (Ehelechner, Koslow).

In front of the goalies are the defensemen. What guy can be drafted behind Petermann? Daniel “Danny” Pyka should have the best chances. He was born in 1984 and is eligible for the first time. His brother, Nico, played at the ECHL and CHL some time ago. Reasons to be drafted include a good shot from the blueline, good physical play, a strong performance at the U18-WJC and finally, his play at the LA Kings rookie camp last year. The second German defender with outsider chances is currently living in Switzerland. His name is Robin Breitbach, a Hamburg native. He’s been playing hockey in Switzerland since 1988. Last season, he played for the EHC Kloten Flyers and HC Ambri-Piotta. Breitbach’s biggest strength is his physical play. If it’s good enough for a draft? Maybe. If not, he could be an overage candidate in the next few years. The one who is definitely out of the race is Sebastian Jones. He scored a lot of points at the junior level, but hasn’t make the big breakthrough thus far.

Next category: forwards, first time eligible. There is Andreas Dörfler, a wing from second league based team EV Regensburg. He was pre-season rank by the CSB. After an average performance at the U18-WJC and only two goals during the season, Dörfler should be out of the race. His teammate from the German junior national team, Max Seyller, played a good tournament and a good season at Landshut (third league), too. However, he lacks size and this will be the reason why he won’t be drafted. Or – same with Danny Pyka – his performance at the U18-WJC was enough for the scouts to decide to take him.

In addition, there are four forwards who are draft eligible for the second time. Christoph Ullmann didn’t make the breakthrough in Köln (DEL). Martin Hinterstocker junior was ranked by the CSB at position 100 – last year. This year, he wasn’t ranked due to his “unmotivated-looking” play during the whole season. His teammate at Riessersee (second league), Christoph Melischko, has better chances to be one of the last picks at this draft. The center was last years topscorer of the German Jr. (U18) league and scored 30 points in his first pro season. This impressive play is sending him straight into the DEL, where he will play for Ingolstadt next season. Last but not least, Adrian Grygiel will sit at home, hopefully some NHL team General Manager will announce his name at the draft. His last season was only an average one, but helped his development, he said. Grygiel was a sniper at the midget and junior level. Maybe he could fill this role at the pro level, or maybe not. His draft chances are 20%. The chances for Björn Bombis are down to about 0%. No discussion, he had a good season at Freiburg (second league), but that wasn’t enough to be a candidate for the NHL any time soon.

Finally, following are the overage candidates for the draft, in alphabetical order: Thomas Greilinger (Nürnberg/DEL). The 20 year old forward is a small player, but a player with a scoring touch. After two injuries, which cost him the World Championships, he became the best player during the last few weeks of the season – in Nuremberg and maybe in the whole DEL. Dimitrij Kochnev (Iserlohn/DEL), is 21 years old. The goalie had a impressive first half of his first DEL season, but the second half, where he sat most of the games on the bench, didn’t helped him in get into the spot light. In addition, Markus Janka (22) was the number three at the World Championships in Sweden, not Kochnev. Daniel Kreutzer (Kassel/DEL) is a 22 year old, hard working wing who lacks size. Maybe he’s lacking too much size. Andreas Morczinietz (Augsburg/DEL) was born in 1978 and is a forward. Andreas is the older brother of goalie prospect Martin. Andreas developed the past few years in the second league. He frequently received offers from the highest league every year, but didn’t join the DEL until this past season. In Augsburg, he became one of the stars and scored over 50 points. The biggest moment in his hockey career so far, was the world championships, where he loved to play alongside center Len Soccio. Vitalij Aab (22, Nürnberg) wasn’t in Sweden, he had an impressive start, but a poor second half of the season. Back to Andreas Morczinietz, he will play for the DEL champion Kölner Haie next season. This may even be together with his younger brother, who could join the team as the third goaltender.

The round-up

Sure picks: Petermann, Seidenberg
Outsider chances: Grygiel, Melischko, Pyka
Low outsider chances: Breitbach, Dörfler, Hinterstocker, M.Morczinietz, Seyller, Ullmann
Overagers: Greilinger, Kochnev, Kreutzer, A.Morczinietz
Out of the race: Aab, Bombis, Jones

The past

#196 G Bernhard Englbrecht (EV Landshut – Atlanta Flames)
#200 F Gerd Truntschka (EV Landshut – St. Louis Blues)

#46 F Dieter Hegen (ESV Kaufbeuren – Montreal Canadiens)
#48 D Uli Hiemer (EV Füssen – Colorado Rockies)

#223 D Uwe Krupp (Kölner EC – Buffalo Sabres)

#76 D Miroslav Maly (ESV Bayreuth – Minnesota North Stars) *
#89 F Jiri Poner (EV Landshut – Minnesota North Stars) *

#205 F Peter Romberg (ECD Iserlohn – Calgary Flames)

#225 F Milos Vanik (EHC Freiburg – Washington Capitals) *

#239 F Andreas Lupzig (EV Landshut – Chicago Blackhawks)
#244 F Michael Pohl (SB Rosenheim – Buffalo Sabres)

#19 G Olaf Kölzig (Tri-City Americans – Washington Capitals)

#260 D Torsten Kienass (Dynamo Berlin – Boston Bruins)

#53 F Stefan Ustorf (ESV Kaufbeuren – Washington Capitals)

#102 F Patrik Pysz (Augsburger EV – Chicago Blackhawks) **
#251 G Marc Seliger (SB Rosenheim – Washington Capitals)

#57 D Sven Butenschön (Brandon Wheat Kings – Pittsburgh Penguins) ***
#123 D Frank Appel (Düsseldorfer EG – Calgary Flames)

#49 F Jochen Hecht (Adler Mannheim – St. Louis Blues)

#21 F Marco Sturm (EV Landshut – San Jose Sharks)
#160 G Kai Fischer (Düsseldorfer EG – Colorado Avalanche)
#212 D Erich Goldmann (Adler Mannheim – Ottawa Senators)

#151 F Robert Francz (Peterborough Petes – Phoenix Coyotes)
#159 D Sascha Goc (Schwenninger Wild Wings – New Jersey Devils)

#286 F Andrej Nedorost (Moskitos Essen – Columbus Blue Jackets) ****

#20 F Marcel Goc (Schwenninger Wild Wings – San Jose Sharks)
#106 D Christian Ehrhoff (Krefeld Pinguine – San Jose Sharks)
#107 G Dimitri Pätzold (TSV Erding Jets – San Jose Sharks)
#127 D Christoph Schubert (Munich Barons – Ottawa Senators)
#162 D Stefan Schauer (SC Riessersee – Ottawa Senators)
#172 D Dennis Seidenberg (Adler Mannheim – Philadelphia Flyers)
#275 G Robert Müller (Adler Mannheim – Washington Capitals)

Germans drafted at the NHL Entry Draft: 31

Goalies: 6
Defensemen: 12
Forwards: 13

Best result: 2001 (seven draft picks)

Highest Pick: Kölzig (’89, #19)

From German teams: 29 (incl. Nedorost/SLV)
From other teams: 3 (Brandon/WHL, Peterborough/OHL and Try-City/WHL)

Drafted players who played NHL: 10 (incl. Nedorost/SLV)

NHL team with most German draft picks:
Washington (5), San Jose (4), Ottawa (3)

German team with most draft picks:
Landshut (4), Mannheim (4)
* = Czech and German citizenship
** = Polish and German citizenship
*** = Canadian and German citizenship
**** = only Slovakian citizenship

*all draft profiles of the German players are updated*