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Top prospects for 1999 NHL draft
Posted: Friday June 25, 1999 04:23 PM
BOSTON (AP) -- Sketches of top prospects in Saturday's NHL Entry Draft at the FleetCenter:
1. Patrik Stefan, 18, Czech Republic, 6-foot-11/2, 205-pound center with Long Beach of the International Hockey League. One of two players expected to step into the NHL as a rookie. Has size, strength and scoring talent, but concerns about two concussions last season might scare off Tampa Bay, which has the first pick. An excellent puck handler with good passing ability.
2. Pavel Brendl, 18, Czech Republic, 6-0, 204, right wing with Calgary of the Western Hockey League. Had 73 goals and 61 assists in 68 games last season. There are questions about his defensive skills but he still could be the first choice and is the other player expected to make an opening-night roster. Might have greater potential to improve than any other top players in the draft.
3. Daniel Sedin, 18, Sweden, 6-1, 194, left wing with MoDo in the Swedish Elite League. He was the top-rated European player by the Central Scouting Service. Had 21 goals in 50 games last season, impressive because of the quality of opposition he faced. Has great maturity after playing against older players in the Swedish Elite League.
4. Henrik Sedin, 18, Sweden, 6-2, 196, center with MoDo in the Swedish Elite League. Might be a tougher player than his twin brother, Daniel, but isn't as talented a scorer. Had 12 goals in 49 games last season.
5. Jamie Lundmark, 18, Edmonton, Alberta, 6-0, 184, center with Moose Jaw of the WHL. Might be the best North American in the draft and almost certainly will be the first Canadian taken. Had 40 goals in 70 games last season but still needs to develop physically. Skates well and accelerates quickly.
6. Tim Connolly, 18, Baldwinsville, N.Y., 6-0, 186, center with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League. The top-rated American has been compared with Bernie Nicholls. Led his team this season with 68 points (34 goals, 34 assists). Named Erie's most outstanding player.
7. Kris Beech, 18, Sicamous, British Columbia, 6-2, 178, center with Calgary of the WHL. An excellent passer who had 41 assists in 68 games last season. Very elusive with an ability to avoid hits but would be better if he were stronger. Part of Team Canada's gold-medal winning team at the 1998 Under-18 World Tournament in Slovakia.
8. Denis Shvidki, 18, Ukraine, 6-0, 195, right wing with Barrie of the WHL. His stock dropped during the season, although he scored 94 points in 61 games while adjusting to the North American style of play. Was named his team's most gentlemanly player with just eight penalty minutes.
9. Scott Kelman, 18, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 6-2, 185, center with Seattle of the WHL. Rated sixth in North America by the CSS but probably won't be drafted that high because of concerns about his offensive skills. Could develop into a solid checker rather than a scorer.
10. Taylor Pyatt, 17, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 6-31/2, 220, left wing with Sudbury of the OHL. Son of Nelson Pyatt, who played seven seasons in the NHL in the 1970s. He won the fastest skater competition at the Canadian Hockey League Prospects' Game. Skates with power and an impressive change of pace.
11. Branislav Mezei, 18, Slovakia, 6-41/2, 221, defenseman with Belleville of the OHL. His great size and skating ability are major assets. An admirer of Detroit defenseman Ulf Samuelsson. Consistent playing the point on the power play.
12. Oleg Saprykin, 18, Russia, 6-0, 173, center-left wing with Seattle of the WHL. Put up big numbers in various departments - 47 goals, 46 assists and 107 penalty minutes in 66 games with Seattle. He's very aggressive and annoying to opponents. Named to the WHL all-rookie team.
13. Brian Finley, 17, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 6-2, 180, goalie with Barrie of the WHL.Top-ranked goalie in the draft. Had a 2.66 goals against average and 36-10-4 record with three shutouts last season. Has excellent reflexes and a butterfly style.
14. Martin Havlat, 18, Czech Republic, 6-1, 178, center-wing with Trinec of the Czech junior league. Very offensive minded but also has good checking ability. Ranked third behind the Sedin twins in the CSS list of European forwards and defensemen.
15. Jeff Jillson, 18, North Smithfield, R.I., 6-3, 219, defenseman with the University of Michigan. Aggressive player who likes to make offensive rushes. Plays a physical style and has good passing skills.
16. Brett Lysak, 18, St. Albert, Alberta, 6-0, 190, center with Regina of the WHL. Scored 39 goals and is an intelligent puck handler but his average speed might hold him back. Led his team in scoring despite a season-ending shoulder injury.
17. Steve McCarthy, 18, Trail, British Columbia, 6-0, 197, defenseman with Kootenay of the WHL. An offensive-minded defenseman, McCarthy had 19 goals and 33 assists in 57 games for Kootenay. At 6-feet, though, he lacks the size teams seek at that position.
18. Alexander Buturlin, 17, Russia, 5-11, 183, wing with Central Army of the Russian senior league. Ranked fourth among European players by the CSS, is at his best when handling the puck but needs improvement when he doesn't have it. Has average speed.
19. Jani Rita, 17, Finland, 6-1, 206, wing with Jokerit of the Finnish senior league. His forte is defense. Scored nine goals in 20 games in the junior league but just three in 41 games in the senior league in which he was the youngest forward. A power forward who finishes checks.
20. Kiril Safronov, 18, Russia, 6-2, 196, defenseman with St. Petersburg of the Russian senior league. His stock rose during the 1999 World Junior Championships in Winnipeg, where Russia won the gold medal. A defenseman who concentrates on defense, Safronov is a physical player who doesn't take many chances with the puck.
21. Maxime Ouellet, 18, Beauport, Que., 6-0, 180, goalie with Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Could be the seventh goalie from the QMJHL in eight years drafted in the first round. A butterfly-style goalie who likes to come out of the crease to challenge the shooter. Led his league with 40 wins and a 2.70 goals against average.
22. Michal Sivek, 18, Czech Republic, 6-3, 209, center with Kladno of the Czech senior league. Some question about his goal-scoring ability but little concern about his financial security. His father is a multimillionaire. Has good size and acceleration but scored just four goals in 38 games last season.
23. Barrett Heisten, 19, Anchorage, Alaska, 6-1, 189, left wing with the University of Maine. Was considered the top collegiate prospect in the December preliminary rankings of the CSS but slipped since then. Still, his physical style helped Maine win the NCAA championship this year. Had a good showing at the World Junior Championships.
24. Barret Jackman, 18, Fruitville, British Columbia, 6-0, 200, defenseman with Regina of the WHL. Not afraid to throw his weight around, as shown by his 224 and 259 penalty minutes the last two seasons. Regina's most valuable player and fifth-leading scorer last season.
25. Evgeny Konstantinov, 18, Russia, 6-0, 167, goalie with Kazan of the Russian '2' league. Considered the third best goalie in the draft behind Finley and Ouellet. Was inconsistent last season but played well at the end.
26. Konstantin Koltsov, 18, Belarus, 6-2, 187, wing with Cherepovets of the Russian senior league. Expected to be taken late in the first round or early in the second. Was effective in the World Junior Championships with four goals in six games.
27. Jordan Leopold, 18, Robinsdale, Minn., 6-0, 193, defenseman with the University of Minnesota. Was fifth on team in scoring as a freshman last season with seven goals and 16 assists in 39 games. Has some defensive flaws and could play a more physical game.
28. Martin Grenier, 18, Laval, Que., 6-5, 231, defenseman with Quebec of QMJHL. Had the hardest shot at 96.3 mph at the skills evaluation at the Top Prospects Game in Calgary this year. Aggressive, annoying and a hard hitter who amassed 479 penalty minutes in 60 games last season.
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