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Draft Preview 2008

Draft Preview 2008

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

IN THIS ISSUE

HABS EXUBERANT OVER CORE OF YOUTH

The Montreal Canadiens feel optimistic about their future following years of rebuilding. Not only did the Canadiens finish No. 1 in the Eastern Conference – when many expected them to miss the playoffs – but, with an average age of 27.7, they’re among the NHL’s youngest clubs. “We have a lot of depth at every position,” said Trevor Timmins, director of player recruitment and development. “We need to do a good job at the amateur scouting level to keep it stockpiled.” The Canadiens are willing to go against the norm. In 2005, they selected goalie Carey Price fifth overall when Jose Theodore and Mathieu Garon were firmly established. Today, both are long gone. Price, meanwhile, is the Canadiens’ first-stringer for years to come. The Habs don’t have holes to fill, according to Timmins. “I…

IN THIS ISSUE

DRASTIC MAKEOVER COMING TO TORONTO

When Cliff Fletcher was hired as interim GM, the suits running the organization should have handed him a stick of dynamite and a lighter. Fletcher’s mandate is clear: Blow this thing up. After three straight seasons of missing the playoffs – a humiliating feat that had not happened to the franchise in 80 years – Fletcher says his plan has two stages: 1. Make the Leafs championship contenders. 2. Build up a cache of prospects, something the team is sorely missing. “There will be no quick fixes, no short-term additions,” Fletcher said. “There will be no bringing in big-name free agents for just one year.” The bottom line: This organization needs to augment its ailing talent base, especially with young players. The Leafs are set in goal. Veteran Vesa Toskala showed he can be a No.…

IN THIS ISSUE

BACKTESTING OUR 1998 DRAFT RANKING

If the 1998 was to be re-held today, Vincent Lecavalier would still be first overall pick. But of the 26 others taken in the first round, only eight would make the grade. What’s interesting, five sixth-rounders are among the top 30, but just three second-rounders. 1998 THN RANKINGS 1. Vincent Lecavalier 2. David Legwand 3. Brad Stuart 4. Manny Malhotra 5. Bryan Allen 6. Michael Henrich 7. Martin Skoula 8. Dmitri Kalinin 9. Mark Bell 10. Rico Fata 11. Robyn Regehr 12. Ramzi Abid 13. Jiri Fischer 14. Mathieu Biron 15. Patrick DesRochers 16. Christian Backman 17. Jeff Heerema 18. Eric Chouinard 19. Vitaly Vishnevsky 20. Mike Van Ryn 21. Simon Gagne 22. Milan Kraft 23. Mathieu Chouinard 24. Michael Rupp 25. Stephen Peat 26. Ossi Vaananen 27. Justin Papineau 28. Blair Betts 29. Scott Gomez 30. Alex Tanguay ACTUAL 1998 TOP 30 PICKS 1. Vincent Lecavalier, TB 2. David Legwand, Nsh 3. Brad Stuart, SJ 4. Bryan Allen, Van 5. Vitaly Vishnevsky, Ana 6. Rico Fata, Cgy 7.…

IN THIS ISSUE

QUESTIONS IN GOAL, BUT NOT MUCH ELSE

The Detroit Red Wings are not only flourishing today, they’re set up well for the future. Most of their key players are locked into long-term deals, they have several promising players in the system and they have no glaring holes in the next several years. The biggest question is in goal. Dominik Hasek won’t decide on his future until after the playoffs. If he retires, Chris Osgood, who signed a three-year extension in January, will be their starter and Jimmy Howard will be promoted from Grand Rapids (AHL) to serve as backup. They hope Howard will assume the starting job over the next couple of years. The Wings are hoping to re-sign Brad Stuart as their No. 4 defenseman. If not, they will seek a veteran free agent to fill that void.…