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Stanley Cup Odds
Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
1998 NHL Entry Draft Preview
by LCS Hockey
NHL ENTRY DRAFT
The 1998 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Buffalo on Saturday, June 27. LCS Hockey will have several representatives covering the draft to bring you, our valued readers, a unique perspective on the event.
NHL Draft Order
The following is the draft order for the June 27th National Hockey League Entry Draft in Buffalo: 1. Tampa Bay Lightning (from San Jose/Florida) 2. San Jose Sharks (from Tampa Bay) 3. Nashville Predators 4. Vancouver Canucks 5. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 6. Calgary Flames 7. New York Rangers 8. Toronto Maple Leafs 9. New York Islanders 10. Chicago Blackhawks 11. Carolina Hurricanes 12. Colorado Avalanche (from San Jose) 13. Edmonton Oilers 14. Phoenix Coyotes 15. Ottawa Senators 16. Montreal Canadiens 17. Colorado Avalanche (from Los Angeles) 18. Buffalo Sabres 19. Colorado Avalanche (from Boston) 20. Colorado Avalanche (from Washington) 21. Los Angeles (from Colorado) 22. Philadelphia Flyers 23. Pittsburgh Penguins 24. St. Louis Blues 25. Detroit Red Wings 26. New Jersey Devils 27. Dallas Stars
TOP PROSPECT BIOS
The following are capsule summaries of the top prospects for the June 27th National Hockey League entry draft in Buffalo:
(PLAYERS LISTED ALPHABETICALLY) SKATERS Ramzi Abid LW 6-2 195 3/24/80 Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 68 GP, 50 G, 85 A, 135 PTS, 266 PIM Was ranked eighth at mid-season but fell to 11th at the end of the campaign. Patterns himself after Philadelphia Flyers power forward John LeClair. Played in the 1998 Quebec League All-Star Game. Led the QMJHL in scoring in 1997-98. Scored a goal in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Member of the QMJHL First-Team All Stars. Has a quick, heavy shot. Described by NHL scouts as a "high-intensity" player with a "mean streak." Also sees a lot of action on special teams. Raised in Montreal, he is of Tunisian descent. Dimitri Afanasenkov LW 6-1 183 5/12/80 Yaroslavl (Russia) 45 GP, 19 G, 11 A, 30 PTS, 28 PIM A skilled offensive talent who excels in 1-on-1 situations. Scouts question whether he can keep it going at the NHL level. His lack of size also has some questioning whether he will be durable enough to play at the highest level. Still, others tab him as a top-flight goal-scorer. He was the leading scorer at the Six Nations tournament, where he also was selected the top player. Has never had more assists than goals, prompting some to label him as selfish. Bryan Allen D 6-4.5 208 8/21/80 Oshawa (OHL) 48 GP, 6 G, 13 A, 19 PTS, 126 PIM Limited to 48 games in his second year of major junior hockey by injuries, a bout with mononucleosis and a suspension. His impressive size made him the third-ranked prospect by NHL Central Scouting after he was fifth at mid-season. Was Oshawa's top pick in the 1996 OHL draft and played for the Generals in the 1997 Memorial Cup tournament. Also won a gold medal with Canada at the Three Nations Tournament in 1997. Played in both the OHL All-Star and Top Prospects games in 1998. Despite his size, he's mobile and possess solid agility and balance. Described by scouts as "arguably the most complete defenseman in the draft in terms of skill, toughness and skating ability." Christian Backman D 6-2 187 4/28/80 Frolunda Jr. (Sweden) 28 GP, 5 G, 14 A, 19 PTS, 12 PIM If a team is looking for a pure offensive threat from the blue line, Christian Backman could be the man. One scout likened his style to those of Brian Leetch, Scott Niedermayer and Phil Housley. Owns a hard shot from the blue line and like those other NHL defensemen, one day should be able to lead the power play. Won a gold medal with Sweden at the European Junior Championships and starred at the Viking Cup tournament. Detractors question his defensive skills, although Backman could crack the top 10 in the first round. Finished the season as the fourth-ranked skaters among Europeans by NHL Central Scouting. Mark Bell C-LW 6-3 185 8/5/80 Ottawa (OHL) 55 GP, 34 G, 26 A, 60 PTS, 87 PIM Finished the season as NHL Central Scouting's 16th-rated pick, up from 22nd at mid-season. Still, many believe he could crack the top 10 because of his speed, puckhandling skills and passing ability. Also plays well in his own zone, where he is an adroit shot-blocker. Scored a goal in the 1998 OHL All-Star Game and played in the Top Prospects Game in Toronto. Scouts like his attitude, hockey sense and wrist shot. "He won't be around for the 10th pick," predicted his junior coach, Brian Kilrea. "He can do everything." Others, however, think he could fall out of the first round and project him as little more than a second- or third-line center. Blair Betts C 6-1.5 183 2/16/80 Prince George (WHL) 71 GP, 35 G, 41 A, 76 PTS, 38 PIM Solid two-way player whose defensive ability could lift him into the first round. Jumped slightly from 19th at mid-season to 18th among North American prospects by NHL Central Scouting. Won a gold medal with Canada at the 1997 Under-18 Tournament in the Czech Republic. Was top rookie for his junior team in 1996-97 at the age of 16. Played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Brings a lot of intangibles to the game. Can kill penalties, is solid on faceoffs and excels in his own zone. Detractors knock his skating ability, although Central Scouting says he "possesses very good straightaway speed and is very strong on his skates." Mathieu Biron D 6-6.5 212 4/29/80 Shawinigan (QMJHL) 59 GP, 8 G, 28 A, 36 PTS, 60 PIM Huge younger brother of Buffalo Sabres goaltending prospect Martin Biron. Although he was fourth among draft prospects at mid-season and seventh at the end of the year, many believe his size is his best asset. Just completed his first year of major junior hockey but picked up an assist in the 1998 Top Prospects Game and was a member of the QMJHL All-Rookie Team. Likens his style to that of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Chris Chelios. Possesses surprising skating ability for a player of his size and is hard to knock off his skates. Solid passer with uncommon poise for an 18-year-old. Third-ranked North American defenseman in the draft, according to NHL Central Scouting. Jonathan Cheechoo RW 6-0 205 7/15/80 Belleville (OHL) 64 GP, 31 G, 45 A, 76 PTS, 62 PIM Jumped 11 spots to become the 21st-ranked prospect by the end of the season, according to NHL Central Scouting. Still, many believe this native of Moose Factory, Ontario will be available in the second round. Native American and member of the Cree Nation, he burst onto the scene in his first year of major junior hockey and was second in scoring among OHL rookies. He scored a goal and was named his team's MVP at the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Played the point on his junior team's power play because of his hard shot. Also possesses an excellent backhand and is considered by some a natural goal-scorer. Eric Chouinard C 6-2 195 7/8/80 Quebec (QMJHL) 68 GP, 41 G, 42 A, 83 PTS, 18 PIM Son of former Atlanta and Calgary Flame Guy Chouinard, who was Eric's coach in juniors. Scouts liken his style to that of his father, who was a good skater and passer with oustanding offensive skills. His cousin, Marc, is in the minor-league system of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Was third in scoring among QMJHL rookies and scored a goal in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Won a gold medal with Canada at the Under-18 Three Nations Cup in the Czech Republic. Strong on faceoffs and uses his long reach to excel on forechecking. Fell from 16th in mid-season rankings by NHL Central Scouting to 19th at the end of the year. While some scouts laud his skill, others point to the fact that he had only 18 penalty minutes as proof he needs to get more involved in the play. Randy Copley RW 6-1.5 205 10/4/79 Cape Breton (QMJHL) 69 GP, 34 G, 42 A, 76 PTS, 194 PIM Although he finished the season ranked 22nd by NHL Central Scouting, many believe Copley will fall into the middle of the second round. Size makes him a candidate for power forward. Broke into major junior hockey with Granby of the QMJHL in 1997-98 and had just seven goals in 70 games, but blossomed with Cape Breton in his native Nova Scotia, scoring 34 goals in 69 games. Played in the QMJHL All-Star Game and the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Hails from Inverness, N.S., the same hometown as St. Louis Blues defenseman Al MacInnis. Strong skater with good speed. Like MacInnis, owns a heavy shot and a quick release. Can play both wings and is hard to move from in front of the net. John Erskine D 6-4 197 6/26/80 London (OHL) 55 GP, 0 G, 9 A, 9 PTS, 205 PIM Dropped from 25th at mid-season to 29th in the final NHL Central Scouting ratings. Is expected to go even later in the second round due to a lack of speed. But he makes up for that with toughness, as his 205 penalty minutes attest. As a rookie, saw more than his share of action in pressure situations and some scouts believe he can sneak into the first round. Rico Fata C 5-11 202 2/12/80 London (OHL) 64 GP, 43 G, 33 A, 76 PTS, 110 PIM Slipped from seventh to 10th in final rankings by NHL Central Scouting. Was taken first overall by London in the 1996 OHL draft. Spent the year before as an underage player with Sault Ste. Marie and was the youngest player in the OHL since Wayne Gretzky in 1982-83. Played in the 1997 OHL All-Star Game and won a gold medal with Canada at the 1997 Under-18 Tournament. Played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game and was the fastest skater in the skills competition. His exceptional speed makes him a top prospect. Plays with a lot of emotion and spent the 1996-97 season on a line with Joe Thornton. Can play a physical game, but some scouts question his hockey sense. Jiri Fischer D 6-5.5 210 7/31/80 Hull (QMJHL) 70 GP, 3 G, 19 A, 22 PTS, 112 PIM Native of the Czech Republic completed his rookie season in the Quebec junior league. Ranked ninth by NHL Central Scouting, he won the European Championship with the Czech Republic in 1997. Admires the play of New York Rangers defenseman Jeff Beuekboom, although scouts say he needs to step up his physical play to be compared to Beukeboom. Had an assist in the Top Prospects Game. Strong skater who is considered a blue chip prospect that needs some patience. Scouts say he has a "booming point shot and is excellent on the penalty-killing unit." Came over to North America on the advice of Pavel Rosa. Simon Gagne C 6-0 165 2/29/80 Quebec (QMJHL) 53 GP, 30 G, 39 A, 69 PTS, 26 PIM Missed 15 games this season due to a broken finger, but he still showed major improvement over his rookie season at the junior level. Teammate of Eric Chouinard with the Quebec Remparts who is considered not as offensively gifted. As a rookie, played under current Montreal Canadiens coach Alain Vigneault at Beauport. Solid skater who is always near the puck and excellent in 1-on-1 situations. Scouts rave about his attitude, although he also missed time in 1996-97 due to a broken collarbone. Played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game and won a gold medal with Canada at the Under-18 Three Nations Cup in the Czech Republic. Unselfish player who was used in all game situations. Scott Gomez C 5-10 180 12/23/79 Tri-City (WHL) 45 GP, 12 G, 37 A, 49 PTS, 57 PIM Native of Anchorage, Alaska, Gomez is believed to be the first Mexican-American to play in the WHL. Played under former NHL defenseman Rick Lanz with the Tri-City Americans. Scouts rave about his attitude and NHL Central Scouting said, "he is not afraid and will sacrifice himself to make the play." Deceptive skater who is effective at going to the outside. Ranked 20th by Central Scouting but could slip into the second round. Played for the United States at the 1998 World Junior Championships and participated in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Shoulder injury early in the season limited him to 45 games this season. Was fourth in scoring among WHL rookies. Jeff Heerema RW 6-1 171 1/17/80 Sarnia (OHL) 63 GP, 32 G, 40 A, 72 PTS, 88 PIM Jumped five spots from mid-season to grab the 13th ranking from NHL Central Scouting. Named to the OHL All-Rookie Team after ranking fourth in scoring among the league's freshmen. Good skater with outstanding speed and quickness. Scouts describe him as an "exceptional playmaker" with a "good touch around the net." Works well in traffic and uses his size to his advantage. Likens his play to Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings. Had a 17-game points streak, the longest in the OHL this season. Michael Henrich RW 6-2 206 3/4/80 Barrie (OHL) 66 GP, 41 G, 22 A, 63 PTS, 75 PIM Slipped from third at mid-season to fifth, according to NHL Central Scouting. As evidenced by his statistics, is considered a natural goal-scorer. Has size and speed and has been described by scouts as "a power winger who drives to the net with authority." An OHL All-Star who was named his team's player of the game with an unassisted goal and an assist at the Top Prospects Game. Had eight game-winners during the season for Barrie of the OHL. Strong along the boards and in the corners, he won't last long in the first round. Dimitri Kalinin D 6-2 198 6/22/80 Chelyabinsk (Russia) 26 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, 24 PIM Top-ranked European skater, he is expected to go in the top 10 of the first round. Considered by most scouts as a typical Russian defenseman, Kalinin is agile but physical. Excelled at the Six Nations Tournament but did not play as well at the European Junior Championships and was left off the national junior team. Has not scored a goal in three seasons but is capable of making the breakout pass. Milan Kraft C 6-3 191 1/17/80 Plzen Jr. (Czech Rep.) 24 GP, 22 G, 23 A, 45 PTS, 12 PIM Tall and lanky, Kraft has scouts split almost down the middle. Some see him as loaded with potential after he split the 1997-98 season between the Plzen junior team and the elite league squad. Dazzled scouts at the Viking Cup in Canada, leading some to believe his game is suited for the smaller North American rinks. Also had 10 points in six games at the European Junior Championships. Vincent Lecavalier C 6-4 180 4/21/80 Rimouski (QMJHL) 58 GP, 44 G, 71 A, 115 PTS, 117 PIM Virtual lock to go to Tampa Bay with the top overall pick, Lecavalier was the top prospect at mid-season and at the end of the year, according to NHL Central Scouting. Wore No. 4. in juniors because he admired Bobby Orr and his father liked Jean Beliveau. Despite his offensive prowess, plays with a mean streak, as his 117 penalty minutes attest. Receives top marks from Central Scouting in both puckhandling and hockey sense. "An accurate passer and is always a dangerous scorer who possesses tremendous vision of the play," NHL scouts say. Named QMJHL and Canadian Hockey Rookie of the Year in 1997 when he had 103 points in 64 games for Rimouski. Played for Canada at the 1998 World Junior Championships and participated in the Top Prospects Game. Named male athlete of the year in Quebec in 1997. Shifty player who can change direction quickly. Plays with poise, confidence and intelligence. David Legwand C 6-1.5 175 8/17/80 Plymouth (OHL) 59 GP, 54 G, 51 A, 105 PTS, 56 PIM If Vincent Lecavalier somehow is not taken first overall, Legwand will be. He was NHL Central Scouting's second-rank pick all year after becoming the first rookie to capture MVP honors in the OHL since Jack Valiquette in 1974. Legwand was just the second American-born player to win that honor, joining current Washington Capitals center Pat Peake. Played for the United States at the 1998 World Junior Championships and in the 1998 OHL All-Star Game. Participated in the Top Prospects Game and likened his style to Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche. Described by scouts as an exceptional skater, he has excellent acceleration and can change pace and direction easily. Skates as well without the puck as he does with it. Has a hard, accurate shot and "is always a threat to score," according to Central Scouting. Able to raise his game, making him a valuable player in key situations. Manny Malhotra C 6-1.5 210 5/18/80 Guelph (OHL) 57 GP, 16 G, 35 A, 51 PTS, 29 PIM Was the sixth-ranked prospect all year, according to NHL Central Scouting, but could go even higher on draft day. Don't look at his number when trying to gauge his potential. Perhaps the best two-way player available, he can play in any situation -- with a one-goal lead, on the power play, shorthanded. Described by Central Scouting as "a big, strong impact player ... with outstanding work ethic." Unselfish player, tenacious checker and hard hitter. Was MVP of championship game at 1997 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Captained Canadian entry at the 1998 Under-18 Tournament in the Czech Republic. Played at the World Junior Championships, OHL All-Star Game and Top Prospects Game, where he collected an assist. Steve Moore C 6-2 190 9/22/78 Harvard (ECAC) 33 GP, 10 G, 23 A, 33 PTS, 46 PIM Was named 1998 ECAC Rookie of the Year after averaging a point per game as a Harvard freshman. Uncle and two cousins spent time in the minor-league systems of the Edmonton Oilers, Atlanta Flames and Hartford Whalers. At almost 20, is one of the oldest draft-eligible players. Older brother, Mark, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Strong skater who is quick to the puck. Anticipates the play well and always finishes his checks. Was the 24th-ranked prospect, according to NHL Central Scouting, who described him as "a relentless worker who drives hard to the net. He has the ability to force turnovers in all areas of the ice." Chris Nielsen C 6-2 185 2/16/80 Calgary (WHL) 68 GP, 22 G, 29 A, 51 PTS, 31 PIM Jumped 13 spots in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings to 26th. Selected first overall in the 1995 WHL bantam draft. Won his team's humanitarian award in 1997. Played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Once compared to Mike Modano, he suffered two concussions in 1996-97, costing him 10 games. Solid puckhandler who works well in traffic, is expected to go in the middle of the second round. Justin Papineau C 5-10 160 1/15/80 Belleville (OHL) 66 GP, 41 G, 53 A, 94 PTS, 34 PIM Jumped seven spots to 27th in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings but could sneak into the first round. Was named MVP at the Under-18 Three Nations Cup tournament in the Czech Republic, where he outplayed more ballyhooed prospects like Vincent Lecavalier. Led his junior team in scoring and was ninth in the OHL. Played in the Top Prospects Game and was the second-fastest skater in the Skills Competition. Also was fourth in the agility with the puck event. If the NHL continues its crackdown on obstruction penalties, Papineau could excel due to its electrifying speed. According to Central Scouting, "He is a very astute puckhandler who is capable of eye-catching plays." Is primarily an offensive force who is working on his defensive responsibilities. Stephen Peat D 6-2.5 205 3/10/80 Red Deer (WHL) 63 GP, 6 G, 12 A, 18 PTS, 189 PIM Dropped from 23rd at mid-season to 30th in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. Plays with a mean streak and has the size to make it in the NHL. Missed time in the first half of the season with a hand injury. Possesses a heavy shot but could drop into the second round because of defensive inconsistency. Scouts question his decision-making skills. Andrew Peters LW 6-4 195 5/5/80 Oshawa (OHL) 60 GP, 11 G, 7 A, 18 PTS, 220 PIM Is expected to go early in the second round after he maintained his draft ranking of 28th, according to NHL Central Scouting. Has size and likes to throw his body around. Older brother, Geoff, was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. Very physical player who drives to the net but has limited offensive skills, as evidenced by his 11 goals in 60 games as an OHL rookie. Robyn Regehr D 6-2.5 211 4/19/80 Kamloops (WHL) 65 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 PTS, 120 PIM Brazilian-born son of missionary parents, Regehr is a big, strong defenseman who is expected to stick in the NHL for a long time. Won a gold medal with Canada at the Under-18 Three Nations Cup in the Czech Republic. Also played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Does most of his work in the defensive zone, having combined for 37 points over two seasons in the WHL. Powerful skater who can accelerate quickly. According to NHL Central Scouting, which ranked him 12th, "He is a very defensive-oriented played who is very reliable and always plays at a high-intensity level. A physical presence on the ice and always finished his checks with authority." Kyle Rossiter D 6-2 200 6/9/80 Spokane (WHL) 61 GP, 6 G, 16 A, 22 PTS, 190 PIM Shoulder injury limited him to 61 games in his second year of major junior hockey. He was named WHL scholastic player of the year. Ranked 21st at mid-season, he fell to 25th at the end of the year, according to NHL Central Scouting. Tries to pattern his game after Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils. Played in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Has a quick first step, pivots well and plays a strong transitional game. Anticipates and reads the play well. Effective on special teams and a good puckhandler who makes accurate passes. Michael Rupp LW 6-5 218 1/13/80 Windsor-Erie (OHL) 64 GP, 16 G, 11 A, 27 PTS, 117 PIM One of four American-born players who participated in the 1998 Top Prospects Game. Big specimen whose actual weight may be closer to 230 pounds. Just completed his first year of major junior hockey, one in which he was traded from Windsor to Erie for NHL first-round draft pick Jason Ward. Doesn't have a lot of experience against top-flight competition, but has a heavy shot and can be a physical presence. "He battles his way to the net, where he works for his scoring opportunities," said NHL Central Scouting, which ranked him 23rd among draft prospects. Martin Skoula D 6-2 195 10/28/79 Barrie (OHL) 66 GP, 8 G, 36 A, 44 PTS, 36 PIM Czech-born defenseman is the latest European prospect to play for Barrie of the OHL. Adjusted well to the North American game this year and was ranked eighth by NHL Central Scouting. Played in the OHL All-Star and Top Prospects games and was selected to OHL's All-Rookie Team. Has the ability to create room for himself on the ice. "He has a very good feel for the game and always knows where his teammates are," said one scout. "Although he is not an overly physical player, he has good strength and knows when to use it." Sees action on the power play and one scout projects him as a potential power-play quarterback. Brad Stuart D 6.2.5 215 11/6/79 Regina (WHL) 72 GP, 20 G, 45 A, 65 PTS, 82 PIM Expected to go third overall, behind Vincent Lecavalier and David Legwand. Jumped from 10th at mid-season to fourth in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. Another defenseman who tries to emulate Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils. Recorded the hardest shot and fastest sprint the Top Prospects skills competition in February. Nominated for the award given annually to the WHL's top defenseman. Tried out for Team Canada for the 1998 World Junior Championships. Has strong numbers, which include a plus-minus rating of plus-49, show unlimited potential. Demonstrates poise and intelligence and "can dominate a game," scouts say. According to Central Scouting, Stuart "plays an aggressive style and thrives in a physical game. He is an excellent open-ice hitter and punishes opponents in front of the net." Petr Svoboda D 6-3 194 6/20/80 Jihlava (Czech Rep.) 12 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, N/A PIM If he slips higher than his projected draft position of early second round, he could become the second Petr Svoboda taken in the opening round. His namesake, currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, was taken fifth overall in 1984 by the Montreal Canadiens. Has a solid shot and sees action on the power play, but needs to bulk up to keep up with the rigors of the NHL. Spent the 1997-98 season with three different clubs, starting with Jihlava before moving on to Havlickuv Brod and Dukla Jihlava. Enters the draft as the 14th-ranked European prospect by NHL Central Scouting. Alex Tanguay C 6-0 180 11/21/79 Halifax (QMJHL) 51 GP, 47 G, 38 A, 85 PTS, 32 PIM Final NHL Central Scouting ranking was 14th, down from 13th at mid-season, although Tanguay is not expected to be drafted until late in the first round or early in the second. Actually scored three more goals in seven fewer games than Vincent Lecavalier, but lacks Lecavalier's size and speed. Natural scorer, he can play at both ends of the rink and was described by scouts as "a gritty competitor who is very steady and dependable." His work ethic and tireless forechecking could help him sneak into the first round. Had an assist in the Top Prospects Game. Led his junior team in scoring and was 16th in the offensive-minded QMJHL. Ossi Vaananen D 6-3 200 8/8/80 Jokerit Jr. (Finland) 31 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 PTS, 24 PIM Ranked only 13th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, although his stock has risen and he could crack the first round. Stay-at-home defenseman who had just six points in 1997-98 after picking up a goal and two assists as a rookie the season before. He starred at the Viking Cup tournament last year and is expected to play for Finland at next season's World Junior Championships. Mike Van Ryn D 6-1 190 5/14/79 Michigan (CCHA) 31 GP, 4 G, 14 A, 18 PTS, 36 PIM Because he opted to skip te 1997 NHL draft, Van Ryn is one of the older players in last year's crop of prospects. Canadian-born defenseman who went south of the border to play for Red Berenson at Ann Arbor. Won an NCAA championship as a freshman with Michigan. A member of the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Was the only U.S. college player on Team Canada at the 1998 World Junior Championships, where he did not see much action. Strong skater with solid offensive skills. Has a hard shot from the point and is effective on the power play and as a penalty-killer. Clears the net well and plays with intensity. Vitaly Vishnevsky D 6-1 187 3/18/80 Russia Yaroslavl 80 GP, 15 G, 7 A, 22 PTS, 50 PIM Ranked second among European skaters behind fellow Russian defenseman Dimitri Kalinin, although his style differs radically from his countryman. Unlike Kalinin, Vishnevsky has displayed offensive ability as evidenced by his 15 goals for Yaroslavl. Because he has displayed aggressiveness, he has been likened to Darius Kasparaitis and Vladimir Konstantinov, although scouts say he not nearly as physically imposing. Played for Russia at the European and World junior championships. Alexander Zevakhin W 6-0 187 6/4/80 Russia Red Army Jr. 64 GP, 28 G, 25 A, 53 PTS, 35 PIM Fifth-ranked European skater in the draft, according to NHL Central Scouting. Played for Central Red Army junior team, where he played on a line with Denis Shvidky, who is expected to be a top pick next year. Plays well at both ends and captained his team's entry at the European Junior Championships, where he had seven points in six games. Likely will go early in the second round, although some question whether he is big and tough enough to make it in the NHL. GOALTENDERS Name Ht. Wt. Birth Team Mathieu Chouinard G 6-1 200 4/11/80 Shawinigan (QMJHL) 54 GP, 32-18-3, 2.79 GAA, 2 ShO Is expected to be the second goalie taken, behind Patrick Desrochers, and could go late in the first round. Like Desrochers, has great size, but scouts question his mobilty. Style is similar to Roberto Luongo, who last year became the highest goalie ever taken, going to the New York Islanders with the fourth overall selection. Was a junior teammate of defenseman Mathieu Biron, who is expected to be a high first-round pick. Jomar Cruz G 6-1 177 4/5/80 Brandon (WHL) 30 GP, 16-9-1, 3.05 GAA, 3 ShO Excelled in his first year of major junior hockey, where he was not expected to see much action at the age of 17. Saw more playing time after Brandon traded one of its top two netminders. Has unorthodox style, he helped lead the Wheat Kings to the WHL finals after winning his first five playoff games. Could crack the second round, although more likely to go in the third. Patrick Desrochers G 6-3 1/2 195 10/27/79 Sarnia (OHL) 56 GP, 26-17-11, 3.35 GAA, 1 ShO Top-ranked goalie in the draft, he's expected to break the Quebec Junior League's stranglehold on goaltending prospects. Has the size to excel in the NHL along with a quick glove hand. Played in the Top Prospects Game in February and stopped 20 of 22 shots. Became just the second goalie selected in the first round of the Ontario League draft, joining Rick Tabaracci (1986). Led the OHL with four shutouts in 1996-97. Wears No. 37 and is a fan of Washington Capitals netminder Olaf Kolzig. Jamie Hodson G 6-1 180 4/8/80 Brandon (WHL) 20 GP, 12-2-2, 3.24, 2 ShO Teammate of Jomar Cruz, who is expected to go just ahead of Hodson in the second or third round. After Cruz faltered in the WHL playoffs, Hodson came off the bench and won five straight games. Became first goalie in WHL history to record shutouts in his first two career starts. Not related to Detroit Red Wings backup netminder Kevin Hodson. Jason Labarbera G 6-2 205 1/18/80 Portland (WHL) 23 GP, NA, 3.38 GAA, 1 ShO Jumped from 10th at midseason to fifth among goaltending prospects, according to NHL Central Scouting, despite seeing no action in the WHL playoffs and making only 23 appearances during the regular season. Did appear at the Top Prospects Game, turning aside 13 of 15 shots. Has tremendous size, although is considered a draft wildcard. Philippe Sauve G 6-0 1/2 175 2/27/80 Rimouski (QMJHL) 40 GP, 23-16-0, 3.38 GAA, 1 ShO Son of former NHL goaltender and current player agent Bob Sauve, who is representing him. Physically more imposing than his father, although they share similar styles. Was a junior teammate of Vincent Lecavalier, who is expected to be the top overall selection. Buffalo native is expected to go in the early to mid-second round. Alexei Volkov G 6-1 185 3/15/80 Krylja Sovietov (Russia) Statistics not available Top-rated European goaltender, he likely will not go until the late second or early third round. Scouts have likened his style to that of North American goalies. Has size but some question his quickness. General lack of success among Russian goalies will be held against him.
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