Blackhawks 2000 draft evaluation

By Courtney Wagner

Mikhail Yakubov

The Chicago Blackhawks made 15 selections in the
2000 draft, four of which have played games in the NHL. Mikhail Yakubov,
Pavel Vorobiev, Igor Radulov and Reto Von Arx have combined for a total of 110
NHL games, for a draft class average of 7 NHL games per pick.

Mikhail Yakubov, C
– 1st round, 10th overall (Russia – Tolyatti Lada) 

Status: NHL Prospect

NHL Games Played: 30

The Blackhawks chose Mikhail Yakubov as their first selection in the
2000 draft, at the 10th overall pick. The 2001-02 season was the first in North America for the Russian native. He played with the Red Deer Rebels in
the WHL and led the team with 89 points in 71 games, and he was named to the CHL All-Rookie team. The Rebels
made it to the WHL finals in 2002, a year after they won the Memorial Cup, but
they lost to the Kootenay Ice in six games. Yakubov led the Rebels in playoff points
with 23 in 23 games and his 14 goals were the most for any player on the team.

In the 2002-03 season, Yakubov moved on to the AHL with
affiliate Norfolk Admirals.
In 62 games he had six
goals, 11 points and 36 penalty minutes. He had his first taste of the NHL in
2003-04 when he played 30 games with the Blackhawks, notching one goal and eight
points. He also played in Norfolk and managed nine goals, 27 points and 22
penalty minutes in 51 games.

Strong in the faceoff circle, Yakubov is creative with the puck and
responsible in his own zone. He played the 2004-05 season with Norfolk, putting
up 12 goals, 27 points and 43 penalty minutes in 59 games. He went scoreless in
three playoff games and had a -2 rating.

Pavel Vorobiev, RW
– 1st round, 11th overall (Russia – Yaroslavl Torpedo)

Status: NHL Prospect

NHL Games Played: 18

With the very next pick, the Blackhawks chose Pavel
Vorobiev at 11th overall. He stayed in Russia, playing for Yaroslavl
Lokomotiv until the 2003-04 season. His last season in Russia was his most
productive there, with 10 goals and 28 points in 44 games. He split his time
between Norfolk and Chicago in 2003-04. In 18 games with Chicago he had
one goal, four points and four penalty minutes and in 57 games with the Admirals
he had 13 goals and 29 points.

A physical, aggressive player with a strong work ethic, Vorobiev is used on
the penalty kill and is creative with the puck. In 79 games with Norfolk in
2004-05 he was fourth on the team in scoring with 44 points, he had 48 penalty
minutes and his 19 goals were second on the team behind Rene Bourque. In
six playoff games he had two goals, three points and a +1 rating.

Jonas Nordqvist, C
– 2nd round, 49th overall (SEL – Leksands IF)

Status: NHL Prospect 

NHL Games Played: 0

In the second round, Chicago chose Jonas Nordqvist from Sweden. He played for
Leksands IF in 2000-01, splitting his time between the junior and senior elite
teams. In 10 games with the junior squad he had six goals, 19 points and a +5
rating and in the elite league he had two goals, four points and a -8 rating
in 35 games. In the 2002-03 season he put up his best numbers thus far with Rogle BK where he had 16 goals and 38 points in 41 games. Nordqvist
has also played
for Sweden’s Under-18 and Under-20 teams.

In 2003-04 Nordqvist moved to Lulea HF in the SEL and
was second in
scoring on the team with 24 points and his 13 goals tied him for the most on the
team with Linus Fagemo. A well-rounded player with good vision, Nordqvist is
both responsible and creative with the puck. In 2004-05 he had 16 goals, tying
him for first on Lulea with Per Ledin and his 32 points were third best on the
team. Nordqvist remains a viable prospect for Chicago.

Igor Radulov, LW
– 3rd round, 74th overall (Russia – Yaroslavl Torpedo)

Status: NHL bust

NHL Games Played: 43

Igor Radulov was selected by the Blackhawks in the
third round. In 2001-02 he moved to North America from his native Russia and played
with the Mississauga Ice Dogs of the OHL.  In 62 games he managed 63
points, third best on the team and his 33 goals were only second to Minnesota
prospect Patrick O’Sullivan. From there he moved on to play with the Blackhawks
for seven games in 2002-03 where he had five points, all goals. He played the
rest of the season with Norfolk where he had 18 goals, 27 points and 26 penalty
minutes in 62 games.

In 2003-04 Radulov played 36 games with the Blackhawks, managing four goals
and 11 points. Back in Norfolk for the rest of the season, he had nine goals and
23 points in 38 games. Radulov helps his team by scoring goals and he had
trouble doing that in 2004-05 with Norfolk. He played 16 scoreless games with
the team and was re-assigned to affiliate Greenville in the ECHL, but failed to report. He moved back to Russia
and played 25 games with Spartak Moskva where he
had two goals and four points.  He’s likely played his last game with the
Blackhawks organization.

Scotty Balan, D
– 4th round, 106th overall (WHL – Regina Pats)

Status: NHL prospect

NHL Games Played: 0

Scotty Balan was the Blackhawks first North American player selected
in 2000. Balan’s biggest
season in his junior career was in 1999-00 with the Regina Pats of the WHL
where he had three goals, 11 points and 157 penalty minutes in 67 games. Since
leaving the WHL in 2002-03 he has bounced around between the AHL and ECHL. In the 2003-04 season
he played 23 games with Norfolk recording only one assist, and in 50 games with the
Florence Pride he had two goals, 14 points and 97 penalty minutes.

A tough player who is solid in his own end, Balan skates well and is not
afraid to mix it up. In 2004-05 he spent the entire season with
the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL and put up career bests in goals with six and
points with 18.  Balan will be looking for a new contract in 2005-06.

Olli Malmivaara, D
– 4th round, 117th overall (FNL – Jokerit Helsinki)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

Olli Malmivaara was the second choice in the
fourth round for Chicago. He has
remained in his native Finland since being drafted, playing for Jokerit Helsinki
and more recently SaiPa Lappeenranta. He also won two medals with the Finnish
national junior team, taking home silver in 2001 and bronze in 2002.

Not known for putting up big numbers, Malmivaara had six points, all assists,
in 2001-02 with Jokerit and managed only one goal the following season. In
2003-04 he split his time between Jokerit and SaiPa, scoring a goal with each
team in 36 total games. Malmivaara has good size at 6’4 and 205 lbs. which is
helpful in his own zone and he has improved his play since joining SaiPa. In 56
games this past season he had nine goals, 10 points and 89 penalty minutes.
There is not much chance of him being brought over by Chicago.

Alexander Barkunov, D
– 5th round, 151st overall (Russia – Yaroslavl Torpedo)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

In the fifth round, Chicago selected Alexander Barkunov from Russia, 151st
overall. He has remained in Russia since the draft and has played for a number
of different teams over the last few years. He had five points in total with
three different teams in 2001-02 and played for Russia at the 2001 World Junior
Hockey Championships where he had two points and a +5 rating in seven games. The
Russians finished in seventh place during the tournament in front of a home
crowd in Moscow.

Last season Barkunov played 20 games with Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod of the
Russian Hockey League and had two points and a -5 rating. Good with the puck,
Barkunov can hold his own one-on-one against opponents. In 2004-05 he played for
Zauralie Kurgan and had seven goals, eight points and a -3 rating in 50 games.
He’s unlikely to ever come to North America.

Mike Ayers, G
– 6th round, 177th overall (USHL – Dubuque Fighting Saints)

Status: NHL Prospect

NHL Games Played: 0

Mike Ayers was the first of two goalies the
Blackhawks picked in 2000. He played four seasons of NCAA
hockey with the University of New Hampshire. In 2002-03 he had his best season
with 27 wins in 47 games played, seven shutouts and a .926 save percentage. He
followed that up in his senior year with 17 wins in 36 games, five shutouts and
a .899 save percentage. During his NCAA career he was handed several awards and
broke records at the University of New Hampshire.

Unsigned by the Blackhawks, in 2004-05 he played
for both Cincinnati and Grand Rapids in the AHL, but spent most of his time with
the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL. In 51 games he had 15 wins, a 2.90 goals against
average and a .913 save percentage.

Joey Martin, D
– 6th round, 193rd overall (USHL – Omaha Lancers)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

With their second pick in the sixth round, Chicago selected Joey Martin. He
played four seasons in the NCAA with the University of Minnesota and was part of
two championship teams, in 2002 and
2003. He logged the most ice time in 2002-03 where he played 24 games with three
goals and seven points.

A big defenseman at 6’3 and 203 lbs., Martin has size and is strong in his
own end. Unsigned by Chicago, in 2004-05 he began the season with the Greenville
Grrrowl, before being traded to the Toledo Storm. He had one assist and 34 penalty minutes with
Greenville and one goal and 30 penalty minutes with Toledo.

Cliff Loya, D
– 7th round, 207th overall (NCAA – University of Maine)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

With their first of two picks in the seventh
round, Chicago
selected their third American born player in a row, Cliff Loya. He played four
seasons of NCAA hockey with the University of Maine. His senior year, in
2002-03, was his best where he had one goal, seven points and 38 penalty

Unsigned by Chicago, in 2003-04 he moved on to the San Diego Gulls of the ECHL where he had three
goals, 12 points and 37 penalty minutes in 63 games. A physical player who plays
aggressively in the corners, Loya is a good skater who can handle the puck well.
In 2004-05 he played with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL and managed two
goals, six points and 64 penalty minutes in 66 games.

Vladislav Luchkin, C
– 7th round, 225th overall (Russia – Cherepovets Jr.)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

Vladislav Luchkin has remained in Russia since being drafted and had his best
season in 2003-04 with Molot-Prikamie Perm where he had nine goals, 26 points
and a +25 rating in 26 games. That same year he had eight goals and a +3 rating
in 13 playoff games.

Luchkin has good hockey sense and acceleration to go with his strong
passing skills. In 2004-05 he split his time between Molot-Prikamie Perm where
he had two goals and a -16 rating in 39 games and Spartak Moskva where he had
one assist and a -6 rating in 12 starts. 

Adam Berkhoel, G
– 8th round, 240th overall (USHL – Twin Cities)

Status: NHL Prospect

NHL Games Played: 0

In the eighth round the Blackhawks selected their second goaltender of the
draft, Adam Berkhoel. He played four seasons of NCAA hockey with the
University of Denver. His senior year in 2003-04 was a strong one, in 39 games
he had seven shutouts, 24 wins and a .918 save percentage. He was named the NCAA
Final Four Tournament MVP and was also named to the All-Tournament team for his
efforts in leading Denver to the NCAA title. Berkhoel was also awarded USA
Hockey’s College Player of the Year.

Berkhoel was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers at
the 2004 draft and signed to a rookie contract. In 2004-05 he played with the Gwinnett
Gladiators of the ECHL where he had nine wins in 24 games, two shutouts and a
.913 save percentage. He lost his only start with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL,
allowing four goals in 32 shots. Berkhoel suffered a leg and a neck injury in
2004-05, and will look forward to a healthy season in 2005-06.

Peter Flache, C
– 9th round, 262nd overall (OHL – Guelph Storm)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

With their first of three ninth round selections in 2000, the Blackhawks
selected Peter Flache out of the Guelph Storm. Flache’s best season in junior was his
final one in 2002-03 with the Saginaw Spirit. In 68 games
he finished fifth on the team in scoring with 28 points, eight goals and
155 penalty minutes.

Unsigned by the Blackhawks, Flache split his time in the ECHL in 2003-04 between the Greenville Grrrowl
and the Toledo Storm. With both teams he scored six goals and 11 points. In 2004-05 he
played with his third team in the ECHL, the Gwinnett Gladiators, and put up
his best numbers yet, with eight goals, 37 points and 81 penalty minutes in 60
games.  Traded at the deadline to the Louisiana IceGators, Flache did not
report and has retired from pro hockey.

Reto Von Arx, LW
– 9th round, 271st overall (LNSw – Davos)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 19

Reto Von Arx came
to North America in 2000-01 and split his time between the Blackhawks and the
Norfolk Admirals. In 19 NHL games he had three goals and four points. He was
fourth in scoring for the Admirals with 42 points in only 49 games. Von Arx has
also played for his native Switzerland at numerous World Championships.

He returned to play for Davos in the SwissA league and has put up strong
numbers in the last four seasons. In 2003-04 he led the team with 51 points in
47 games.  In 2004-05 his
numbers took a slide with NHL stars Joe Thornton and Rick Nash joining and
leading the team in points, but Von Arx was still able to put up solid numbers with
11 goals and 38 points in 43 games.

Arne Ramholt, D
– 9th round, 291st overall (LNSw – Kloten)

Status: NHL Bust

NHL Games Played: 0

With their last selection in the 2000 draft the Blackhawks picked Swiss-born
Arne Ramholt. He played one season in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals where he
had three goals, 11 points and 25 penalty minutes in 62 games. He returned to
the SwissA league in 2001-02 and has played for a different team in all four
seasons. His best numbers were with Zurich where he had two goals, 11 points and
44 penalty minutes in 44 games.

The defenseman has good size at 6’3 and 215 lbs. In 2004-05 he played on
Davos with fellow Blackhawks 2000 draft pick Reto Von Arx. In 43 games Ramholt
had two goals and four points.

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