Islanders 2001 draft evaluation

By Leslie Treff

The New York Islanders felt that the 2001 NHL Entry Draft was not particularly strong, so the team attempted to use their first two rounds of picks (the second and 31st overall) as part of two big pre-draft trades. In the first trade, the Islanders sent defenseman Mathieu Biron and the Islanders 2001 second round selection to Tampa Bay for defenseman Adrian Aucoin and right winger Alexander Kharitonov. Even though Kharitonov played only five games in the 2001-02 in an Islander uniform before returning to Russia, this was an excellent trade for the Islanders, as Aucoin played three fine seasons for New York, and Biron never blossomed into the player that he had the talent to become.

The second big trade prior to the 2001 haunts the Islanders to this day. The team traded Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the Islanders’ first round pick (2nd overall) to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin. The Islanders then signed Yashin to a 10-year deal. The team is still trying to figure out how to get value out of Yashin, while Chara has become a premiere defenseman in the league, and the Senators’ pick in the Islanders’ slot, Jason Spezza, is one of the finest young centers in the game.

Finally, the Islanders took their third round selection and traded it to the Florida Panthers for Florida’s fourth round pick in 2001 and third round selection in 2002.

So, it was not until the fourth round that the Islanders finally got a pick in 2001. In all, the team chose eight players in the mid-to-late rounds of that draft, and only one has ever played a game in the NHL. Some of that is clearly the fault of the Islander organization, as two of the draft picks, both goaltenders, were not nurtured by the team. One netminder is playing in Europe and the other is a prospect of another NHL club. Although one of the team’s ninth round picks, Roman Kukhtinov, is still listed as an Islanders’ prospect, it does not appear that the 30-year-old will ever play in North America.

The eight players played a total of eight games in the NHL, for an average of just one game per pick, the second lowest average next to Washington, who also was without a first round pick.

Cory Stillman, C
Fourth Round (101st overall), OHL Kingston Frontenacs
DOB: 3/2/83 Height: 6’2, Weight: 211
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Not to be confused with the Cory Stillman who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes, this Cory Stillman spent the 2005-06 playing for the Central Hockey League’s Fort Worth Brahmas. After four years with Kingston, Stillman played his overage year (2003-04) with the OHL Barrie Colts, registering 59 points in 64 games. He began his professional career with the AHL St. John’s Maple Leafs in the 2004-05 season, after playing in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Rookie camp. However, Stillman never played a game for St. John’s before being reassigned to the ECHL Pensacola Ice Pilots on December 10, 2004. Stillman was on the injured reserve three times in as many months during the Spring of 2005, however, the big center managed to play in 47 ECHL games in 2004-05, tallying 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) and 51 PIM. This past season, Stillman recorded 59 points (29 goals, 30 assists) in 64 games with Fort Worth.

Dusan Salficky, G
Fifth Round (132nd overall), Plzen, Czech League
DOB: 3/28/72 Height: 6’1, Weight:185
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

The Islanders picked a long-shot in Salficky with their fifth round pick, but it actually was not as much of a stretch as would first appear. It is true that Salficky was 29 years old at the time, but he was playing excellently for Plzen in the Czech League, and he had previously come to North America in 1990-91, albeit briefly, playing two games for the WHL Tri-City Americans. After signing a one-year contract with the Islanders in 2001-02, Salficky joined the Islanders in training camp, but he was the fourth goaltender on the depth chart and was assigned to Bridgeport. He played in four AHL games that season, with a record of 3-1, a GAA of 1.00 and a .960 save percentage. Because Rick DePietro was getting the majority of the netminding duties for the Sound Tigers, Salficky decided to return to Europe, and join a Russian team. He has continued to play in the Russia, and in international tournaments. In 2005-06, Salficky played with Mytishi Khimik of the Russian Super League; in 42 games, he had a GAA of 2.08 and a save percentage of .918.

Andy Chiodo, G
Sixth Round (166th overall), OHL Toronto St. Michael’s Majors
DOB: 4/25/83 Height: 5’11, Weight: 201
Status: Pittsburgh NHL Prospect
NHL Games Played: 8

Chiodo continued to play for the OHL St. Mike’s Majors for two years after he was selected by the Islanders in the 2001 Entry Draft. Like Salficky, Chiodo dropped in the depth chart when several Islanders’ goaltender signings occurred after draft day. When he was not signed to an NHL contract by 2003, Chiodo reentered the draft and was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the seventh round (199 overall) in the summer of 2003. Since that time, Chiodo has mostly divided his time each season between the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the ECHL affiliate the Wheeling Nailers. In 2003-04, he played eight games in Pittsburgh.

In 14 regular season games with the AHL Penguins this year, Chiodo had a record of 8-4-2, with a GAA of 2.21 and a save percentage of 9.25.

Jan Holub, D
Seventh Round (197th overall), Liberec Bili Tygri HC, Czech League
DOB: 5/3/83 Height:6’3, Weight: 185
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Holub is a big defensive defenseman in the Czech League. He has played for Liberec Bili Tygri for the past four years, and in 2005-06, registered four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in 39 games. The Islanders took a chance that Holub would come to North America to play, but he never did and is no longer considered a team prospect.

Mike Bray, RW
Eighth Round (228th overall), Quebec Remparts, QMJHL
DOB: 12/17/82 Height: 6’3, Weight: 208
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

At the time he was drafted, Bray was a big forward who accumulated 20 points and 317 PIM in 41 games during the 2000-01 season. Bray spent the 2001-02 season in the QMJHL (with Quebec and Montreal) and recorded approximately the same offensive numbers and penalty minutes. There was no evidence that he was going to develop his game, so, in November 2002, Bray was released from the QMJHL. He spent most of the season in junior A hockey, but he had a brief professional encounter at the end of the season, when he played five games for the UHL Flint Generals. He tallied one assist and no PIM and then retired from hockey.

Bryan Perez, LW
Ninth Round (260th overall), Des Moines, USHL
DOB: 2/5/82 Height: 6’1, Weight: 195
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

After being drafted by the Islanders, Perez enrolled at Michigan Tech University, and played for two seasons. He played well in that program, but there were some scholastic and discipline issues, and he left school to play in the ECHL during the 2003-04 season. As a left wing for the Roanoke Express, he recorded 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) and 38 PIM in 42 games. When the Express folded after the 2003-04 season, Perez moved to the ECHL Louisiana IceGators in 2004-05. In 58 games with the IceGators, Perez tallied 11 points and 28 PIM. After the IceGators folded, Perez did not join another team.

Roman Kukhtinov, D
Ninth Round (280th overall), Novokuznetsk Metallurg
DOB: 12/1/75 Height: 6’1, Weight: 207
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

The 30-year-old defenseman has played nine years of hockey in Russia, most of it in the Russian Elite League. A defensive defenseman, Kukhtinov has never come to North America to play hockey, nor is it likely at this point that he will. In 2005-06, Kukhtinov played for Magnitogorsk Metallurg, registering five assists and 18 PIM in 31 games.

Juha-Pekka Ketola, C
Ninth Round (287th overall) Lukko Jr. Finland
DOB: 1/21/83 Height: 6’1, Weight: 178
Status: NHL Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

After Ketola was drafted by the Islanders, he came to North America to play junior hockey. The lanky center played one season for the QMJHL Sherbrooke Beavers, tallying 35 points (8 goals, 27 assists) in 67 major junior games in 2001-02. He then returned to Europe and played two seasons for Finland’s top professional league, SM-liiga. In those two seasons with the team Assat Pori, Ketola played in 83 games and scored four points. He is no longer playing top level hockey.

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