Five NHL signings from Germany

By Oliver Janz


On the way to the NHL. Next
stop: Minor League


Two of most talented German
defenders decided to sign NHL contracts. First: Dennis Seidenberg, who’ll
celebrate his 21st birthday on June, 18th. Philadelphia drafted Seidenberg on
position 162 in the NHL Entry Draft 2001. After his play at the olympic games
and the world championships, you have to call this choice a steal.


The defenseman from
championship runner-up Mannheim received a three year and two way offer from
the Philadelphia Flyers about 24 hours ago. After discussions with his agent
Rolly Thompson (who also represents Jochen Hecht and Dennis’ brother Yannic),
he agreed. Note: Seidenberg did not officially announced his signing, but let
Mannheim’s management knew, that he’s going to sign the contract.


The chances to make the way
into the NHL via the farmteams aren’t bad, especially in Philadelphia. Over 70%
of all NHL players have AHL experience. A good example is center Marty Murray,
who also played hockey in Germany (Köln). He’s currently a member of the Flyers


Jochen Hecht, who played for
Worcester of the American Hockey League, is supposed to be the perfect example.
Hecht also played for Mannheim and went to North America at the age of 21 to
prove himself in the minor league. Right now, the 25 year old wing and
established NHL player earns more than one million dollar a year.


So, watch out for Seidenberg
at the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League next season. If he
won’t make the Flyers line up during the main camp – why not? He’s ready. The
Minor League will be a stop, but not the end for him.


Mannheim’s defensive


Seidenberg wasn’t the only one, who got
lost by the Adler Mannheim. Chris O’Sullivan, a new signing by Mannheim, who
spend the last season with Kloten in Switzerland, also left the team. The
US-American signed a one year contract with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
O’Sullivan already played there in the past, without the breakthrough.


Regarding Mannheim: they lost two
important defenders. And the can’t sign the forward, they wanted. Because
Mannheim’s most wanted, Cameron Mann, signed with Nashville. However, it isn’t
a big problem, as they have six other defensemen under contract. According to
their management, they will sign one or two more to replace Seidenberg and


O’Sullivan’s replacement should be
announced some days before the regular season starts, because it will be a
player who did not make the cut at the NHL camps. As for Seidenberg’s
replacement, it must be a German player. The market is currently not big,
players with chances are national player Erich Goldmann and Toni Bader, who
played for Seattle (WHL) during the last season. Unfortunately, Goldmann could
also sign for Nürnberg (to replace Schubert) and Bader prefers to stay in North
America and playing minor league hockey.


Christoph Schubert signed with


Yesterday, the General
Manager of the Ottawa Senators, John Muckler, announced the signing of German
defender Christoph Schubert. Schubert, 20 years old, has signed a three year
contract – a two way deal. The physical defenseman will join one of Ottawa’s
affiliations. The Grand Rapids Griffins or, most likely, the new founded
Binghamton Senators.


Schubert, a Munich native,
played for the Munich Barons during the 2001-2002 season. Some weeks ago, he
signed a two year contract with the Ice Tigers from Nürnberg. This contract is
now cancelled, Schubert took the chance to sign with the team which drafted him
at #127 during the NHL Entry Draft 2001.


Picard to play for the Stanley
Cup winner


Schubert isn’t the only new
signing of Nürnberg who left the team yesterday. Also, wing Michel Picard
signed a one year contract with Stanley Cup champ Detroit Red Wings – according
to his agent. The deal isn’t officially announced by the Red Wings. Last
season’s topscorer of Mannheim, Picard signed a one year contract in Nürnberg
after the season ends to play alongside his friend Steve Larouche. This
scenario has to wait – if Larouche won’t sign with the Red Wings, too. But,
keep realistic, Larouche will stay in Nürnberg


However, Nürnberg lost two
important players and has to replace them as soon as possible. Otto Sykora, the
General Manager of the Ice Tigers, “will sign a replacement in the next days.”


Who’s next?


After Schubert and
Seidenberg, there are more Draft Picks from 2001. Stefan Schauer, another Pick
by Ottawa, has only second league experience – a movement to North America will
be too early. Robert Müller, who signed with Krefeld for the next season, is a
candidate for Washington’s farmteam – most likely in 2003. Dimitri Pätzold (San
Jose) is too young and need more experience in Germany.


Marcel Goc, who is re-united
with his brother Sascha in Mannheim. Mannheim or Cleveland? It must be
Mannheim, where he has to develop at least one more season. The best date for
his movement to San Jose/Cleveland is summer 2004.


And finally the third San
Jose Sharks draftee from 2001, defender Christian Ehrhoff. He already said,
that he would like to play in the minors, but this year or next year? Maybe
after the training camp, but most likely, Ehrhoff will join Cleveland in 2003.


Last but not least, Ehrhoff’s
teammate, Christoph Brandner. Drafted by the Minnesota Wild during the NHL
Entry Draft in Toronto some weeks ago. Brandner received two offers by the
Wild, a one way and a two way offer. And he did not sign one of them. His agent
was in contract negotiations with the Wild management, without success. He “did
not like both offers”, the best for his client was to stay in Krefeld.


The facts breakdown:


D Chris O’Sullivan from EHC
Kloten Flyers/SUI will not play for Adler Mannheim – signed with Anaheim Mighty


D Dennis Seidenberg from
Adler Mannheim will sign with Philadelphia Flyers.


D Christoph Schubert from
Munich Barons will not play for Nürnberg Ice Tigers – signed with Ottawa


D Francois Leroux from Berlin Capitals signed with Pittsburgh Penguins.

F Michel Picard from Adler
Mannheim will not play for Nürnberg Ice Tigers – signed with Detroit Red Wings,
according to his agent.