As the result of a miserable 3-14 start for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL), the Spitfires have fired their head coach. How does this effect Jeff Zehr, who was indefinitely suspended by the team you may ask? The new coach wants to play his best available players which means that Zehr is back in the picture. He was suspended because of disobeying team curfew rules. Interim GM, Dave Pripick on Zehr “perceived character flaws” said, “I had Jeff play for me for two years, and I never had a problem with him.” His first move was to summon Zehr back to the starting lineup. Through 9 games played this season, Zehr has compiled 3 goals, eight assists and 38 penalty minutes. Jeff Zehr , who was selected in the second round with the Islanders third choice 31st overall in the 1997 Entry Draft, improved at the midpoint of last season just enough for Central Scouting to rank him to go in the middle of the first round. By fortune for the Islanders, this future power forward, who has been compared to Brenden Shanahan, was available early in the second round. Last season he played 57 games, 27 goals, 32 assists, totaling 59 points and 196 penalty minutes. He is a big guy at 6’3″, 195 lbs. Some observers have justified the Islanders decision to select a goaltender and a defenseman because of the selection of such a highly touted power forward. Most scouts feel that he has the talent to become a first line superstar, but he has to harness his talent. If he is unable to complete that feat, he might only be a third line checking forward.
Following is an early-season look at the Top 50 players available for the
1998 NHL Draft. The draft is scheduled for Saturday, June 27, 1998 at
Buffalo’s Marine Midland Arena.
1. Vincent Lecavalier-C-Rimouski-6-3/177–With a blend of speed, quickness,
great puck skills and excellent on-ice vision, Lecavalier is a dynamic
offensive force. While earlier comparisons to Mario Lemieux may be
unwarranted, Lecavalier could be a superstar. He needs to get stronger,
improve his playa way from the puck and raise his intensity level.
2. Manny Malhotra-C-Guelph-6-2/205–A strong two-way pivot who knows how to
create offense. Malhotra is strong on his skates and a fine playmaker who is
willing to battle along the boards. He is also a team leader who thrives
3. Brad Stuart-D-Regina-6-1/200–A solid, steady blueliner, Stuart is a
prototypical defenseman. He has good size and strength, moves the puck out
of danger effectively, and is a smart one-on-one defender. He also has an
excellent shot and recovery speed.
4. Rico Fata-C-London-5-11/200–One of the most talented players in the
draft, Fata remains a bit of a mystery. With all his talent, why hasn’t he
put it all together yet? The physical tools are there, but it’s the
intangibles that has teams concerned. His status as a high-end pick could be Read more»