Looking Forward to the Future

By Brandon LeBourveau

The New York Rangers have some very good forward prospects in their organization. Although the overall depth at forward is not spectacular, it is solid to say the least. Most of the good young forwards in the Rangers’ organization are already playing in the NHL, in players such as Radek Dvorak, Jan Hlavac, Mike York and Manny Malhotra, but there are still the crown jewels in Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl waiting in the wings, and other players with NHL potential.

Whether or not any rookies at forward make the Rangers this season remains to be seen. Everyone who participates in training camp will be given an equal opportunity to make the team. If a certain player steps up and shows that he is ready for the NHL and can contribute to the team, Glen Sather and the New York Rangers staff will not hold that player back. Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl are heading into their 3rd training camp, and hopefully for the Rangers the saying “Three’s a charm” comes true.

Well, with that, I will now take a look at the forward prospects for the New York Rangers. (Note: Excluded from this article are Jay Dardis, Petter Henning, Brandon Dietrich and Alexei Bulatov, simply because I have not seen enough of them to give a fair assessment.)

Jamie Lundmark, C, 20 yrs old, 6’1 195 lbs, Drafted 9th Overall in ’99

Year     Team             League     GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Seattle          WHL        52  35  42   77   49
         Seattle*         WHL         9   4   4    8   16
         Canada           WJC         7   4   3    7    6
1999-00  Moose Jaw        WHL        37  21  27   48   33
1998-99  Moose Jaw        WHL        70  40  51   91  121
1997-98  St. Albert       AJHL       53  33  58   91  176
1996-97  St. Albert       AJHL       35  10   9   19    8

No matter what you believe about Jamie Lundmark, the fact is he will play in the NHL one day. Whether he will be a 1st line center in the form or Steve Yzerman or a 3rd line center who provides grit and leadership night in and night out, it will depend on himself. So far he has given us no reason to believe that he won’t be that 1st line center he has been hyped up to be ever since he was drafted. He came into his first training camp back in 1999 and put on a show, but former coach John Muckler did not want to have two rookie centers on the club. Lundmark suffered a broken bone in his wrist during the ’99 season, and when training camp rolled around in 2000, Lundmark was just getting back into the action after missing a few months nursing the injury. He wasn’t the same player we saw at training camp the year earlier, which is mostly attributed to the fact that he was rusty and his timing was off. When the Rangers sent him back to juniors for the second time, they told Lundmark they wanted him to get stronger. He didn’t disappoint them. When he came back to New York this past week for the start of rookie camp, Lundmark was weighed in at about 194 to 195 pounds. That’s around 20 pounds of muscle added since his draft year. Jamie has been working out with a personal trainer ever since Seattle was eliminated from the WHL playoffs this year. He’s determined to make the team this season and impress the Rangers’ scouts. If he doesn’t make the team out of training camp, he will start his professional career with the Hartford Wolf Pack. If Lundmark adapts well to the AHL, he could find himself in New York sooner rather than later.

Pavel Brendl, LW/RW, 20 yrs old, 6’1 210 lbs, Drafted 4th Overall in ’99

Year    Team           League      GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01 Calgary        WHL         49   40  35   75   66
        Czech          WJC          7    4   6   10    8
        Calgary*       WHL         10    7   6   13    6
1999-00 Calgary        WHL         61   59  52  111   94
Calgary*       WHL         10    7  12   19    8
Hartford*      AHL          2    0   0    0    0
1998-99 Calgary        WHL         68   73  61  134   40
Calgary*       WHL         20   21  25   46   18
1997-98 HC Olomouc     Czech Jr    35   36  20   56   35
        HC Olomouc     Czech 2     12    1   1    2   --
1996-97 HC Olomouc     Czech Jr    40   35  17   52   --

Is this the year Pavel Brendl finally makes the NHL? After coming to training camp in 1999 out of shape and playing horrible, the Rangers sent the talented forward back to the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. He dominated the league for the 2nd season in a row, scoring 59 goals and adding 52 assists for 111 points in 61 games played. Training camp 2000 was a lot better showing for Brendl, but the outcome was no different. Brendl was told coming in to camp that he needed to improve his defensive play. He did just that, concentrating on his defense and not worrying about offense just yet. But when the Rangers told him they wanted to see him play more offensively while still playing good defense, he responded with 5 points in the next 2 preseason games, which included 1 goal and 4 assists. However, Glen Sather didn’t feel he was ready for the show just yet. Back to juniors went Brendl, and you could tell all season long he didn’t want to be there. His numbers tailed off, as did his motivation. The high point of the 2000-01 season for Pavel Brendl was at the 2001 World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia where he led the entire tournament in scoring en route to winning the gold medal with the Czech Republic. After practically eliminating the Regina Pats in the 1st round of the WHL playoffs with some big goals, Brendl came down with a sore throat in the second round of the playoffs against the eventual Memorial Cup winning Red Deer Rebels, and wasn’t able to be a force on the ice for the Hitmen. If Brendl was healthy for the whole series, Calgary could have knocked off Red Deer, but, as they say certain things happen for a reason. Following Calgary’s elimination by the Rebels in the playoffs, Brendl went back to the Czech Republic to enjoy his summer. He came back to New York this past week for rookie camp to get in shape for training camp in September. Brendl was weighed in at around 215-220 lbs and hopes to get down to 210 lbs by the time September rolls around. Hopefully we will get to see Brendl in more than 4 pre-season games this year, which was the case last year. I have a feeling that Brendl will finally make this team and win a spot on the top 3 lines, but if he doesn’t, he’ll face better competition than the WHL this time, as Brendl is now eligible for the AHL. Armed with excellent offensive instincts and a helluva shot, which even left Martin Brodeur amazed two years ago in pre-season, Brendl shouldn’t have a tough time scoring in the AHL, if he can work on his defense and improve his work-ethic. He needs to play an all-around game and get rid of the “floater” tag which has been following him around since he’s been in junior hockey.

Barrett Heisten, LW, 21 yrs old, 6’1 195 lbs, Signed as a Free Agent

Year     Team          League     GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Seattle       WHL        58   20  57   77   61
         Seattle*      WHL         9    2   6    8   20
1999-00  Maine         HE         37   13  24   37   86
      USA           WJC         7    2   1    3   20
1998-99  Maine         HE         34   12  16   28   72
         USA           WJC         6    4   2    6    8

The Rangers signed Barrett Heisten after the Buffalo Sabres did not come to terms with the gritty left winger, who was drafted in the 1st round (20th Overall) of the 1999 Entry Draft. A playmaker with excellent hockey sense and vision on the ice, Heisten plays an all-around solid game. He’s solid in the defensive zone, and loves to play physical and bang around in the corners for the puck. On the offensive end, his excellent passing skills make it easier for his teammates to score. He has the ability to pass the puck through crowds of people in front of the net to the open man. Heisten left the University of Maine after the 1999-00 season to play in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Heisten was linemates with fellow Rangers prospect Jamie Lundmark, and the two had great chemistry on the ice. That could have been a factor in the Rangers’ decision to sign Heisten, although Don Maloney did say that the Rangers liked Heisten during his draft year and had an interest in selecting him in the ’99 draft. Barrett has the potential to be a 2nd liner in the NHL, putting up around 50-60 points a season a season and being a physical presence on the ice. Heisten has an opportunity to make the team this season, but if he doesn’t, he will be in the AHL developing his game with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Garth Murray, C, 19 yrs old, 6’1 205 lbs, Drafted 79th Overall in ’01

Year     Team           League   GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Regina         WHL      72  28  16   44  183
2000-01* Regina         WHL       6   1   1    2   10
1999-00  Regina         WHL      68  14  26   40  155
1999-00* Regina         WHL       7   1   1    2    7
1998-99  Regina         WHL      60   3   5    8  101
1997-98  Regina         WHL       4   0   0    0    2

Garth Murray was selected by the Rangers in the 3rd round of the 2001 Entry Draft, 79th overall. Murray is a 6’1 205 lbs center who plays a feisty, physical game while also chipping in offensively. An excellent skater with good speed, Murray plays with a lot of heart and is a leader both on the ice and in the locker room. He was teammates with Rangers’ prospect Filip Novak on the Regina Pats of the WHL. Murray scored a career high 28 goals this season while also registering 183 penalty minutes in 72 contests. Garth was a key player for the Pats during the 2001 Memorial Cup, as he was one of the better players in the entire tournament. He is currently at the evaluation camp for Team Canada, hoping to impress head coach Stan Butler and the rest of the staff to earn a spot on the team for the 2002 World Junior Championships this year. Murray will be training with the other Rangers’ rookies in early September, and hopes to at least get an invite to the main training camp, perhaps getting a chance to see some pre-season NHL action. Barring an unbelievable performance by Murray in camp, which is possible, he will be sent back to Regina for another season of junior hockey because he is ineligible to play in the AHL. Murray is a leading candidate to be named captain of the Pats, as their former captain, Barret Jackman, is graduating to the pro ranks with the St. Louis Blues.

Mikael Samuelsson, RW, 24 yrs old, 6’1 205 lbs, Acquired from San Jose

Year     Team        League   GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Kentucky     AHL     66  32  46   78   58
         Kentucky*    AHL      3   1   0    1    0
         San Jose     NHL      4   0   0    0    0
1999-00  Brynäs       SEL     40   4   3    7   76

Mikael Samuelsson was acquired from the San Jose Sharks this summer in the deal that saw long-time Ranger Adam Graves head to San Jose. Last year was Samuelsson’s first season in North America, and had a solid year in the AHL, scoring 32 goals and adding 46 assists in 66 games. He has good size at 6’1 205 lbs, and his biggest asset is his speed and skating ability. Samuelsson is known as a good all-around player, as he is responsible defensively and also above average offensively. Whether he can score at the NHL level is uncertain, but the Rangers will give Mikael an opportunity to make the team as a 3rd or 4th liner in training camp. Samuelsson saw 4 games in the NHL last season with the Sharks, and was held without a point due to seeing limitied ice time. Glen Sather felt Samuelsson was the best player being offered in a deal for Adam Graves, and pulled the trigger towards the end of the 2001 Entry Draft. If Samuelsson turns out be a good player, possibly some fans will forget the fact that such a fan favorite in Graves was dealt, but if Samuelsson can’t cut it in the NHL, you’ll be hearing a lot of criticism about this deal for a long time.

Dominic Moore, C, 21 yrs old, 6’0 185 lbs, Drafted 95th Overall in ’00

Year     Team       League    GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Harvard    ECAC      32   15  28   43   40
1999-00  Harvard    ECAC      30   12   8   20   28
1998-99  Aurora     OPJHL     51   34  53   87   70

A native of Thornhill, Ontario, Dominic Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2000 Entry Draft from Harvard University. A gritty, two way player who led the Harvard in scoring this year in his sophomore season with 15 goals and 43 points in 32 games. He more than doubled his production this year from the season before, where he had 12 goals and 20 points in 30 games. Moore is the youngest of 3 brothers drafted into the NHL. His brother Mark is in the Penguins organization, and his brother Steve just finished his senior season at Harvard and is hoping to get a contract from the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted him in the 2nd round of the 1998 Draft. Moore has the makings of an NHL 3rd line center written all over him. He is considered small at 6 feet and 185 pounds, but he is strong on his skates and doesn’t back down from the bigger, tougher opponents. A playmaker, Dominic has good hockey sense and excellent vision on the ice. He’s an unselfish player, and is always looking to dish off the puck to a teammate if they have a better scoring opportunity. Moore is returning to college for his junior season, and he will likely stay there two more years and finish his college career. Moore is a sleeper, and one to keep an eye on in the future.

Patrick Leahy, RW, 22 yrs old, 6’3 210 lbs, Drafted 122nd overall in ’98

Season   Team          League    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Miami-Ohio    CCHA      37   13   19   32   52
1999-00  Miami-Ohio    CCHA      36   16   22   38   89
1998-99  Miami-Ohio    CCHA      34   10   20   30   40
1997-98  Miami-Ohio    CCHA      28    0    1    1   24

Patrick Leahy was drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round of the 1998 Entry Draft. He was involved in the deal that would have brought Zigmund Palffy to the Rangers from the Islanders, but that deal fell through and thus Leahy remained Rangers’ property. Leahy was the best player on a weak Miami of Ohio team this past season, and his numbers suffered because teams focused on shutting him down night in and night out. Leahy finished his collegiate career and is hoping to get a contract from the Rangers’ this summer. If Leahy is signed, and he most likely will be, he’ll graduate to the pro ranks and will play with Hartford this season in the American Hockey League. One of the only power forwards in the system, Leahy has the potential to be a banger on the 3rd line in the future. Some people question Leahy’s offensive potential, and if he can put some points on the board, he could develop into a 2nd line power forward good for about 10-15 goals and 30-40 points a season. He still has much to prove, and this season should be a good growing season for the 22 year old winger.

Layne Ulmer, C, 20 yrs old, 6’1 205 lbs, Signed as a Free Agent

Year         Team      League    GP    G   A     P  PIM
2000-01  Swift-Current  WHL      68   63   56  119   75
1999-00  Swift-Current  WHL      71   50   54  104   66
1998-99  Swift-Current  WHL      72   40   35   75   34
1997-98  Swift-Current  WHL      50    8   9    17   23

Layne Ulmer was signed by the Rangers this summer after failing to come to terms with the Ottawa Senators, who drafted him in the 7th round of the 1999 Entry Draft. A big point producer in juniors, Ulmer scored 153 goals with the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL over the past three seasons, second to only another Rangers’ prospect in Pavel Brendl, who played for the Calgary Hitmen. Ulmer is a scorer, but the knock on him is his skating. He is only an average skater and has only average speed. Will he be another in a long line of players who have dominated junior hockey but couldn’t make it in the NHL? The jury is still out, but the Rangers are giving Ulmer an opportunity to prove himself NHL-worthy. Most likely a few seasons in the AHL will be needed before Layne takes the next step up to the NHL, but if he plays great in the minors, he could earn a late season call-up to the Rangers this year. Another prospect to keep an eye on, because if he improves his skating, he could become a good offensive player in the NHL.

Sven Helfenstein, RW, 19 yrs old, 5’11 176 lbs, Drafted 175th Overall in ’00

Year     Team             League  GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01 Kloten              SWI    7   0   1    1    0
        Le Chaux-de-Fonds   SWI   23   2   8   10    6
        Switzerland         WJC    7   2   1    3    4
1999-00 Kloten              SWI   40   6   3    9   28

An intriguing prospect, Helfenstein fell all the way to the 6th round of the 2000 Draft, where the Rangers scooped him up 175th overall, after being ranked 15th overall among European skaters by Central Scouting prior to the 2000 Draft. A very good player offensively, a knock on Helfenstein is that he is from Switzerland, which is not exactly known for producing NHL players. He is also considered soft, although he doesn’t back down from the physical play, and also sometimes gets caught trying to do too much offensively, and therefore is a liability on the ice in the defensive zone. An explosive skater with good puckhandling skills and a hard, accurate shot, Helfenstein bounced around last season playing for a few different teams in Switzerland before settling in with Le Chaux-de-Fonds. Is still two or three years away from the NHL, and it could be longer if he stays home in Switzerland for a couple of more seasons. One of my favorite prospects and a sleeper in my opinion.

Shawn Collymore, RW, 18 yrs old, 5’11 185 lbs, Drafted 139th Overall in ’01.

Year     Team            League    GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Quebec          QMJHL     71   24  43   67   32
1999-00  Quebec          QMJHL     64    8  16   24   22
 Quebec*         QMJHL     11    0   2    2    0

Shawn Collymore was drafted in the 5th round this year after scoring 24 goals and 67 points with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Heading into the draft many believed Collymore would be scooped up in either the 3rd or 4th round, but he fell to the Rangers in the 5th round at 139th overall. A player with amazing offensive potential, Shawn needs to bulk up to be effective in the NHL. Collymore could have had over 100 points this year if he wasn’t on a weak team like Quebec. With most of Quebec’s good players gone last year, Collymore received a large amount of ice time and will do so again this year. A flashy player with some moves that make you go “Wow”, Collymore is a magician with the puck. Defenders don’t know what to expect, as Collymore could pull a number of tricks out of his hat. As is the case with most QMJHL players, Collymore does not play physically and will need to do so while also getting stronger on his skates if he wants to play in the NHL. Has solid potential, and with a few years of development could turn into a 2nd line player in the National Hockey League.

David Inman, C, 21 yrs old, 6’1 185 lbs, Drafted 59th Overall in ’99

Season   Team         League  GP    G    A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Notre Dame   CCHA    37   11    6   17   10
1999-00  Notre Dame   CCHA    32   13    7   20   12
1998-99  Notre Dame   CCHA    38   10   10   20   74

David Inman is a prospect that hasn’t improved much since being drafted. After having a very solid freshman season in college, the Rangers selected the talented Inman in the 2nd round of the 1999 Draft. Inman is a prospect with an immense amount of talent, but he doesn’t have the hockey sense to dominate the way he could. The Ottawa Senators were thinking about selecting Inman 26th overall in the ’99 Draft, but finally decided on Martin Havlat instead. The talent of Inman is definitely there, but it doesn’t seem like he will ever be able to get it all together. Likely a career minor leaguer unless he can turn things around in his senior season with Notre Dame.

Stefan Lundqvist, LW, 23 yrs old, 6’3 223 lbs, Drafted 180th Overall in ’98

Year     Team          League      GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Skellefteå    Sweden 2    32   19   9   28   14
1999-00  Brynäs        SEL         48    6   4   10   12
 Brynäs*       SEL         11    1   0   11    0
         Brynäs        EHL          6    1   1    2    2
1998-99  Brynäs        SEL         13    0   0    0    0
         Mora          Swe Div 1   23   10   7   17   22
         Uppsala       Swe Div 1   15    7   8   15    0
1997-98  Brynäs        SEL         27    2   2    4    0
         Brynäs Jr     Sweden Jr   21   23  15   38    2
1996-97  Avesta BK     Swe Div 2   14   14  12   26    -
1995-96  Avesta BK     Swe Div 2   27   24  13   37   10
1994-95  Avesta BK     Swe Div 1    3    0   1    1    0

Stefan Lundqvist was drafted in the 7th round of the 1998 Draft. A power forward with good size at 6’3 223, some once believed that Lundqvist was a Swedish version of John LeClair. Although Lundqvist will most likely never be an all-star in the NHL, he could be a decent 3rd or 4th liner in the future. A lot depends though on the upcoming few seasons, as it would be good for Lundqvist to make the jump over to North America and refine his game in Hartford.

Nathan Martz, C, 19 yrs old, 6’3 197 lbs, Drafted 140th Overall in ’00

Season   Team          League  GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  New Hampshire   HE    37   5  14   19   20
1999-00  Chilliwack     BCJHL  59  35  75  110   97

A big center with raw skills, Nathan Martz was drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 Draft after he scored 35 goals and totaled 110 points in 59 games in the BCJHL, a tier 2 junior hockey league in Canada. Martz received a scholarship to attend the University of New Hampshire, where he registered 5 goals and 14 assists in 37 games this past year. Martz is a playmaker with good size and a lot of potential, and he is a definite sleeper prospect to look out for in the coming seasons. Many scouts believe in a year or two he will be a dominating player in college hockey, and hopefully he can transfer that over to the NHL some day.

David Duerden, LW, 24 yrs old, 6’2 200 lbs, Acquired from Florida

Year     Team            League    GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Louisville      AHL       30    9  14   23    6
         Hartford        AHL       43   16   9   25   10
1999-00  Louisville      AHL       74   25  38   63    6
         Louisville*     AHL        4    0   1    1    0
         Florida         NHL        2    0   0    0    0
1998-99  Kentucky        AHL       36    8   9   17    9
         Kentucky*       AHL        6    0   2    2    0
         Miami           ECHL      13   10   7   17    0
1997-98  New Haven       AHL       36    6   7   13   10
         Fort Wayne      IHL        7    0   1    1    0
         Port Huron      UHL        7    0   4    4   10
1996-97  Peterborough    OHL       66   36  48   84   34
1995-96  Peterborough    OHL       66   35  35   70   47
1994-95  Peterborough    OHL       66   20  33   53   21
 Peterborough*   OHL       11    6   2    8    6

Earlier in the 2000-01 season, the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, made a minor league swap of players with the Louisville Panthers, in which the Wolf Pack received David Duerden, and the Louisville Panthers received Mike Harder. This deal had nothing to do with the players’ NHL rights, but was simply a swap of teams in the minors. After seeing a lot of Duerden with the Wolf Pack, the Rangers acquired his rights from the Florida Panthers earlier in the summer for future considerations. Duerden has the potential to be a solid defensive winger on the 4th line in the NHL. He scores most of his goals from down low and close to the net, tapping in rebounds and loose pucks, but whether Dave will be able to chip in offensively at the NHL level is uncertain. A knock on Duerden is that he is soft, and doesn’t use his good size to out muscle smaller opponents. He got a 2 game call up by the Florida Panthers in the 1999-00 season, but didn’t score a point in either game. He will most likely be back with the Wolf Pack again this season, unless he impresses Rangers’ management in camp and they feel he can contribute to the team this season.

Kyle Freadrich, LW, 22 years old, 6’7 260 lbs, Acquired from Tampa Bay

Year      Team         League   GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01   Detroit       IHL     29   3   3    6  120
  Tampa Bay     NHL     13   0   1    1   36
1999-00   Lousianna     ECHL     3   0   0    0   17
          Detroit       IHL     45   0   1    1  203
          Tampa Bay     NHL     10   0   0    0   39
1998-99   Regina        WHL     52   2   2    4  215
          Syracuse      AHL      5   0   0    0   20
1997-98   Regina        WHL     62   6   5   11  259
1996-97   Prince George WHL     12   0   0    0   12
  Regina        WHL     50   1   3    4  152

Kyle Freadrich was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lighntning along with Nils Ekman for Tim Taylor earlier this summer. He is a huge winger at 6’7 260 pounds, but that is about all he brings to the table. He is a below average skater and is very slow. He also doesn’t have the offensive skills to produce many points in the NHL. If he does become an NHL regular in the future, it will be as a 4th line enforcer, as that’s what he has been known for. Providing toughness on the ice and making sure his teammates aren’t being run over by the opposition is his game. Most likely will be with the Wolf Pack this seaosn in the AHL, unless the Rangers feel they need his size and toughness in New York, but that scenario is unlikely since the Rangers already have Sandy McCarthy to fill the enforcer role.

Evgeny Gusakov, RW, 20 yrs old, 6’6 210 lbs, Drafted 226th Overall in ’99

Year     Team            League    GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Baie-Comeau     QMJHL     32   11  20   31   68
1999-00  Baie-Comeau     QMJHL     61   25  22   47  135
         Baie-Comeau*    QMJHL      6    5   1    6   10
         Hartford        AHL        1    0   0    0    0

Evgeny Gusakov is a big winger who was drafted in the 8th round of the 1999 Entry Draft. Gusakov played with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL the past two seasons, before returning to Russia towards the end of the year. If he comes back over to North America this season, he likely will have a roster spot with the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Rangers feel he is a project, and could turn into an NHL player with proper development and improvement. An intriguing prospect, but he still has a lot to prove.

Ryan Hollweg, C, 18 yrs old, 5’10 196, Drafted 238th Overall in ’01

Year    Team            League  GP   G   A  PTS  PIM
2000-01 Medicine HatWHL65  19  39   58  125
1999-00 Medicine Hat    WHL     54  19  27   46  107
1998-99 Langley         BCJHL   58  14  40   54  187

A talented center, Ryan Hollweg dropped to the 8th round of the 2001 draft because concerns over his small frame, as he stands 5’10 and 196 lbs. Would have put up better numbers in the WHL if he wasn’t on a weak Medicine Hat team. The Rangers will watch Hollweg closely during his final two seasons in junior hockey, and if the team feels he could be an NHLer in the future, they will try to sign him to a contract. Hollweg has a lot of untapped potential, and if he puts it all together the Rangers could have gotten a steal in the 8th round.

Boyd Kane, LW, 23 yrs old, 6’2 218 lbs, Drafted 114th Overall in ’98

Year     Team           League     GP    G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Hartford       AHL        56   11  17   28   81
         Hartford*      AHL         5    2   0    2    2
         Charlotte      ECHL       12    9   8   17    6
1999-00  Charlotte      ECHL       47   10  19   29  110
 Hartford       AHL         8    0   0    0    9
         B.C.           UHL         4    1   2    3    4
         B.C.*          UHL         1    0   0    0    0
1998-99  Hartford       AHL        56    3   5    8   23
 Charlotte      ECHL       12    5   6   11   14
1997-98  Regina         WHL        68   48  45   93  133
1996-97  Regina         WHL        66   25  50   75  154
1995-96  Regina         WHL        72   21  42   63  155
1994-95  Regina         WHL        25    6   5   11    6
 Regina*        WHL         4    0   0    0    0

Originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 1996 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boyd Kane failed to come to terms with the Penguins and re-entered the draft in 1998, when the Rangers scooped him up in the 4th round. After three seasons in the minors, it appears that is where Kane will stay, as he hasn’t shown that he has the ability to play in the NHL. This season was the first year he was able to produce in the AHL after a good season and a half in the ECHL, but Kane’s numbers this season (11 goals and 17 assists in 56 games) can be directed towards his linemates Brad Smyth and Derek Armstrong, who were two of the best players in the AHL last season. Kane is running out of time to turn it around and start showing the skill he had in juniors, in which he scored 48 goals and had 93 points in his final season in the WHL in 1997-98. Most likely will be back with the Wolf Pack this season, or even perhaps with the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL.

Pontus Petterström, LW, 19 yrs old, 5’11 172 lbs, Drafted 226th Overall in ’01

Year     Team         League     GP   G   A  Pts  PIM
2000-01  Tingsryd     SHA (SWE)  24   6   5   11   24
1999-00  Leksand Jr   SWE Jr     35  13  10   23   22

The Rangers liked Pontus Petterström so much that they dealt their 7th rounder in 2002 to Calgary for a 7th round in 2001 so they could draft him. They selected him 226th overall with the pick acquired from the Calgary Flames. A sleeper prospect with good playmaking skills, Petterström could be another great find European find by the Rangers. Petterström was passed over by everyone in the 2000 Draft, but came back strong this season with a good year that obviously caught the eyes of the Rangers scouts. Is still 3-4 years away from probably even coming over to North America, but with steady improvement in his game he could develop into an NHL caliber forward.

Petr Preucil, C, 18 yrs old, 6’1 174 lbs, Drafted 206th Overall in ’01

Year      Team   League  GP   G   A   P  PIM
2000-01  Quebec   QMJHL  70  12  35  47  121

Petr Preucil was drafted this past year by the New York Rangers in the 7th round, 206th Overall. Preucil finished his first season in North America this year with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, where he was linemates with Rangers’ prospect Shawn Collymore, who was also drafted in 2001. Preucil had a good first season, tallying 12 goals and 35 assists for 47 points in 70 games, including 121 penalty minutes. Petr is a playmaker with good skating ability and good speed. He’s a little on the small side at 6’1 174 lbs (about the same height and weight Jamie Lundmark was when drafted), but he doesn’t shy away from the physical play as he is a feisty player on the ice. If Preucil continues to develop his game while getting accustomed to North America and also getting stronger and adding some weight, he could very well end up being a center in the NHL.

Juris Stals, C, 19 yrs old, 6’3 210 lbs, Drafted 269th Overall in ’01

Year     Team   League       GP   G   A   P  PIM
2000-01  Lukko  Finland Jr.  45  23  22  45   26
1999-00  Lukko  Finland Jr.   2   1   0   1    2

Juris Stals was drafted this past year in the 9th round after scoring 23 goals and totaling 45 points in 45 games for Lukko of a Finnish Junior League. Stals has good size at 6’3 210 lbs and is a solid playmaker. He was drafted by the Sarnia Sting of the OHL in the CHL Import Draft this summer, and unless he changed his plans, he will be suiting up for the Sting in 2001-02. If Stals gets acclimated to North America quickly and feels comfortable on the ice, he could have a good season in the OHL. Whether he has NHL potential or not is not totally clear, but the Rangers felt like they were getting really good value for a 9th round selection. Check back in a few years and we could have an NHL player on our hands.

Well, that does it for this part, but make sure to check back in a few weeks for part three of this series, as I will be taking an in-depth look at the goaltending prospects for the New York Rangers!