Avalanche AHL prospects season review

By Courtney Wagner

Marek Svatos

The AHL Hershey Bears finished the 2004-05 season
39-37-2-2, missing the playoffs. Below is a player by player review of the
11 Colorado Avalanche prospects who played for the team. In 2005-06,
Colorado will send its AHL prospects to the Lowell Lock Monsters, an affiliation
it will share with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Marek Svatos,
RW – Height: 5’9, Weight: 187 lbs., DOB – 1982-06-17

Marek Svatos, a seventh-round pick in 2001, played his second season with the
Hershey Bears after playing four games for the Avalanche last season. In 2003-04
with Colorado he had two goals in the regular season and in 11 playoff games he had one goal and six
points. At 5’9 and 187 lbs., Svatos is lacking in size, but is confident with
the puck. He is a creative playmaker with an accurate shot. In 72 games with
Hershey in 2004-05 he had 18 goals, 46 points and a +9 rating, which was second
best on the team behind Johnny Boychuk.

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Peter Budaj, G
– Height: 6’0, Weight: 200 lbs., DOB – 1982-09-18

Peter Budaj, the 63rd overall selection in the 2001 draft, improved his
numbers in his third season with the Hershey Bears. In 46 games last season he
had a 2.80 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and three shutouts. A
technically sound goaltender with a strong desire to win, Budaj plays strong in
big-game situations. In 59 games in 2004-05 Budaj had a 2.65 goals against
average, a .919 save percentage and five shutouts.


Johnny Boychuk,
D – Height: 6’2, Weight: 215 lbs., DOB – 1984-01-19

Johnny Boychuk, the 61st overall selection in the 2002 draft, played his
first season with Hershey in 2004-05. Last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors he
had 13 goals, 33 points and 71 penalty minutes in 62 games. Strong in front of
the net and in the corners, Boychuk possesses a hard slap shot and is not afraid
to play physical and dish out big hits. In 80 games this season he had three
goals, 15 points and his +13 rating was best on the team.


Cody McCormick,
RW – Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs., DOB – 1983-04-18

Cody McCormick, a fifth-round selection in 2001, missed part of his second
season with Hershey due to a shoulder injury. He split his time in 2003-04 with
Hershey and the Avalanche. In 44 games in Colorado he had two
goals, five points and 73 penalty minutes, while in 32 games with Hershey he had
three goals and nine points. A tough player with a feisty attitude, McCormick is
a good skater who plays well in his own zone. In 2004-05 he had five goals, 11
points and 68 penalty minutes in 40 games.


Ryan Steeves,
C – Height: 6’0, Weight: 205 lbs., DOB – 1982-12-31

Ryan Steeves, a seventh-round selection in 2002, played in Hershey for the
first time this season after playing four seasons of NCAA hockey at Yale
University. In 2003-04 he had 10 goals, 26 points and 44 penalty minutes which
were good for second most on the team behind Joe Zappala. A gritty, physical player with good speed, Steeves is
effective around the net, in the corners and along the boards. In 75 games this
season he had six goals, 11 points and a +1 rating.


Jeff Finger, D
– Height: 6’2, Weight: 205 lbs., DOB – 1979-12-18

Jeff Finger, an eighth-round selection in the 1999 draft, played his second
season with the Hershey Bears in 2004-05. In 63 games last season he had two
goals, 11 points and 88 penalty minutes. A physical, defensive defenseman,
Finger possesses a strong shot. In 75 games this season he had four goals, 16
points and was third on the team in penalty minutes with 125.


Agris Saviels,
D – Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs., DOB – 1982-01-15

Agris Saviels, the 63rd overall pick in 2000, played in his third season with
Hershey in 2004-05. In 67 games last season the Latvia native had two goals,
seven points and 39 penalty minutes. A solid, consistent player who is strong on
his skates, Saviels has good puckhandling skills and skates well. In 47
games with Hershey this season he went without a goal, had five assists and 41
penalty minutes.




Tomas Slovak,
D – Height: 6’1, Weight: 203 lbs., DOB – 1983-04-05

Tomas Slovak, a second-round pick by the
Nashville Predators in 2001, was traded to the Avalanche for Sergei Soin in June
of 2003. In the 2003-04 season he went back and forth between Hershey and the
ECHL Reading Royals. In 20 games with Reading he had three goals and 10 points and
with Hershey he had three goals and 11 points in 42 games. Slovak has good
offensive instincts and possesses a strong shot from the point. He went
scoreless in one game with Hershey in 2004-05 before returning to his native
Slovakia where he had three goals, 14 points and 42 penalty minutes in 33 games
with Kosice HC.


Sergei Klyazmin,
LW – Height: 6’4, Weight: 195 lbs., DOB – 1982-03-01

Sergei Klyazmin, a third-round selection in the
2000 draft, played for three different teams this past season after not playing
at all during 2003-04 because of a knee injury. He was strong offensively while
playing with the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL, but has not played a full
season since 2000-01. This past season he went scoreless in seven games with
Hershey, he had two points in five games with the Colorado Eagles of the CHL and
had two points with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL.


Frantisek Skladany,
RW – Height: 6’0, Weight: 183 lbs., DOB – 1982-04-22

Frantisek Skladany, a fifth-round selection in
the 2001 draft, split his time between two teams during the 2004-05 season. Last
season he played his final year at Boston University with three goals and 24
points in 37 games and joined Hershey for five games, recording no points. A
mobile skater with good speed, Skladany has good skill with the puck and plays
well around the net. He started the season in Hershey where he went scoreless in
15 games and finished the year with the Quad City Mallards of the UHL where he
had nine goals, 20 points and 33 penalty minutes in 50 games.


Mikko Viitanen, D – Height: 6’3, Weight:
220 lbs., DOB – 1982-02-18

Mikko Viitanen, a fifth-round selection in 2001,
split his time the last two seasons between the Reading Royals of the ECHL and
Hershey. In 20 games with Hershey last season he had one goal, one assist and 14
penalty minutes. He had four points with the Royals in 47 games. A stay-at-home
defenseman, Viitanen has good size at 6’3, 220 lbs. and makes intelligent plays
on the ice. In 52 games with Reading this season he had three goals, six points
and 47 penalty minutes. In 22 games in Hershey he managed only one point and six
penalty minutes.


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