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JUNE 25, 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 6


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MARC CIAMPA, a native of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada is the staff sports writer for Renaissance Online Magazine. A student at the University of Alberta, Ciampa is the public relations coordinator for the St. Albert Saints and writes a weekly article in the Edmonton Sun on junior hockey during the winter. During the summer he runs the official Calgary Cannons website.

 

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Daniel Sedin
 

NHL Entry Draft poses many more questions than answers

MARC CIAMPA

Usually every year when the NHL Entry Draft rolls around a lot of questions come with it. 1999 is no different in that regard.

However, this year there's an additional dilemma: who will go number one? Lately, around this time of year the team that is due to pick first overall is already deep into contract negotiations with its projected pick, but this year insiders believe that the Lightning don't even know who they want as of yet.

Most of the year, people thought that the Lightning and Calgary Hitmen star Pavel Brendl were due for a pairing, but offseason moves have complicated matters slightly. If Jacques Demers was still in charge, his choice would be Brendl - he watched him countless times during the WHL playoffs - but if the sale of the Lightning goes through before Saturday, newly-appointed Rick Dudley will be heading their table on draft day. His choice, many believe, is Swedish phenom Daniel Sedin.

Here is an overview of the draft class of '99 and where I think each player will go on June 26:

  1. Daniel Sedin, MoDo (Sweden) - Tampa Bay
    POS: LW
    HT: 6-1 WT: 194 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Sept 26, 1980

    A lot of people picked Daniel Sedin and his brother Henrik to go in the top three or four of this year's NHL draft, but very few had him pegged at number one. The reason for this was likely the brothers' poor showing at the World Junior Championships in Winnipeg this past winter. At least one person it seems was not fooled by their poor performance under pressure - Tampa Bay President Rick Dudley. Dudley flew to Sweden to see Sedin play at least 15 times this past season (on his former employer Ottawa's dime no less!) and if he's heading Tampa's draft chair, Sedin's name will be called before any other.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    98-99 MoDo Swe. 50 21 21 42 20

  2. Patrik Stefan, Long Beach (IHL) - Atlanta
    POS: C
    HT: 6-3 WT: 205 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Sept 16, 1980

    They don't get much closer to eligibility than Patrik Stefan. The cut-off date for players entering a draft comes on September 15th so Patrik Stefan was one day away from going in last year's draft. He is such a highly thought of prospect, that some scouts and executives stated that Stefan would have gone number one or two last year if he had to. The extra year of development helped Stefan as he established himself as the player most likely to step into the NHL next year. The only question with Stefan is concussions, and the fact that his agent would not let other teams examine him in the days leading up to the draft. The doubt surrounding his very serious injury is enough to bump him from being a consensus number one pick to a question mark.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    97-98 Long Beach IHL 25 5 10 15 26
    98-99 Long Beach IHL 35 11 24 35 26

  3. Pavel Brendl, Calgary (WHL) - Vancouver
    POS: RW
    HT: 6-0 WT: 204 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Mar 23, 1981

    Brendl had an amazing year in the WHL but questions about his defensive play may slip him down to third in this year's draft. Many actually have Brendl pencilled in as their choice to go number on in this year's draft, but I think that the WHL player of the year and rookie of the year will be bumped down a few notches. Regardless, he'll be an excellent choice wherever he goes and will probably be ready to jump into the NHL next season if called upon.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    98-99 Calgary WHL 68 73 61 134 40

  4. Henrik Sedin, MoDo (Sweden) - Chicago
    POS: C
    HT: 6-2 WT: 196 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Sept 26, 1980

    Some think that he may end up being the better of the two Sedins in the long run. Generally regarded as the smarter but not as talented brother, he just might end up the steal of the draft if he goes as low as number four. Talent and character both play key roles in the development of a hockey player, and if Henrik has as much of the latter as people think, the 'Hawks would be wise to hang on to him rather than make a trade and see where he takes them.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    98-99 MoDo Swe 49 12 22 34 32

  5. Kris Beech, Calgary (WHL) - NY Islanders
    POS: C
    HT: 6-2 WT: 178 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Feb 5, 1981
    HOMETOWN: Sicamous, BC

    Kris Beech just might be the lowest risk player available in the entire 1999 draft. Almost all scouts project him to be no worse than a second liner and there's a chance that he could be the first-line centre that so many teams are looking for. While his numbers are a bit unimpressive (68 games, 26 goals, 67 points) for a player who could easily go top five, don't let them fool you. Beech played behind the highly-touted Pavel Brendl for the entire 98-99 season and was not called upon for most offensive situations.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    96-97 Sicamous JrB 49 34 36 70 80
    Calgary WHL 8 1 1 2 0
    97-98 Calgary WHL 58 10 25 35 24
    98-99 Calgary WHL 68 26 41 67 103

  6. Jamie Lundmark, Moose Jaw (WHL) - Nashville
    POS: C
    HT: 6-0 WT: 180 SHOOTS: R
    BORN: Jan 16, 1981
    HOMETOWN: Edmonton, AB

    Oftentimes, the best player from a draft class is actually not the player taken first overall. This year might not be different as this youngster from Edmonton has many scouts projected the sky as his limit. While players such as Brendl and Stefan are highly touted and could step in right away, after two more years of seasoning in junior, Jamie Lundmark might be set to dominate the NHL. All he needs is a little bit of time to grow - both physically and mentally - and he won't disappoint whomever selects him.
    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    96-97 St. Albert JrA 35 10 9 19 8
    97-98 St. Albert JrA 57 33 58 91 176
    98-99 Moose Jaw WHL 70 40 51 91 121

  7. Denis Shvidki, Barrie (OHL) - Washington
    POS: RW
    HT: 6-0 WT: 195 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Nov. 21, 1980
    HOMETOWN: Kharkov, Ukraine


    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    96-97 Yaroslavl Rus 17 3 2 5 6
    97-98 Yaroslavl Rus2 32 20 13 33 20
    Yaroslavl Rus 15 1 1 2 2
    98-99 Barrie OHL 61 35 59 94 8

  8. Tim Connolly, Erie (OHL) - NY Islanders
    POS: C
    HT: 6-0 WT: 186 SHOOTS: R
    BORN: May 7, 1981
    HOMETOWN: Baldwinsville, NY

    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    96-97 Syracuse JrA 50 42 62 104 34
    97-98 Erie OHL 59 30 32 62 32
    98-99 Erie OHL 46 34 34 68 50
    USA WJC 6 1 0 1 8

  9. Oleg Sapryikin, Seattle (WHL) - Calgary
    POS: C/LW
    HT: 6-0 WT: 173 SHOOTS: L
    BORN: Feb. 12, 1981
    HOMETOWN: Moscow, Russia

    YEAR TEAM LEA. GP G A PTS PIM
    97-98 Central Army Rus2 15 0 3 3 6
    98-99 Seattle WHL 66 47 46 93 107

  10. Brian Finley, Barrie (OHL) - NY Islanders
    POS: G
    HT: 6-2 WT: 180 CATCHES: R
    BORN: July 3, 1981
    HOMETOWN: Sault Ste. Marie, ON

    YEAR TEAM LEA. W-L-T Pct. GAA
    96-97 Sault Ban ? ? 2.38
    97-98 Barrie OHL 23-14-1 .909 2.92
    98-99 Barrie OHL 36-10-4 .913 2.66
    Canada WJC 0-0-0 .667 6.00

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