A look back on the draft and prospect notes from Reykjavik

by Sylvain Tremblay | December 20, 2005, 10:32 AM ET
It’s the time of the year when players have played enough this year that we can take a look back and see if their development is heading in the right way. Here is an update on the draft picks of 2005 as well as a general small blurb about the other prospects and minor leaguers in the system for the Reykjavik Icemen. 2005 Draft Round 3: In this round, GM and Head Scout Sylvain Tremblay decided to pick two American defensemen and a good old boy from western Canada. Nate Hagemo was the first Icemen pick in the draft, early round 3. Unfortunately, he has suffered a major injury that will probably push back his development. However, the positive point is that if healthy, he looked like an almost unanimous choice for Team USA’s WJC squad this year, probably as their captain. The jury is still out on him and we will be able to do a better evaluation once he comes back to play. The other American defenseman picked in this round was Keith Yandle. In many people’s view, he should have made Team USA’s WJC after a really hot start in the QMJHL. He is arguably the best defenseman in the Quebec junior league, leading it in points among defensemen with 43 points in 35 games and a league best +/- rating of +29. The other pick from this round, Brodie Dupont, has disappointed a bit since the start of the year. Although he has almost as many points as the year before in half the games, with 20 points in 34 games, Reykjavik’s management was expecting even more from him. Plus, his +/- rating of -6, worst on his team, isn’t what was expected by GM Tremblay. 2005 Draft Round 4: The Icemen picked another American defenseman in this round, along with what they felt was an underrated forward from the QMJHL. Marc-Andre Cliche was the first of two picks that round. So far, he has developed extremely well from the previous year. He has gone from a mere 8 points in 19 games to a production of 45 points in 32 games this year. The other pick from that round, Chris Butler, is also having a great year with the University of Denver, already showing an impressive 14 points in 20 games. He has been chosen to play for Team USA in next week’s WJC. Needless to say that the Reykjavik management is pleased with his transition from the USHL. 2005 Draft Round 5: There was only one player picked by the Icemen in this round. GM Tremblay went for a big defenseman from the WHL, Gord Baldwin. Getting more ice-time this year, he has responded well, beating his numbers from the previous year already with 13 points in 38 games. He is playing behind WHL all-stars Kris Russell and Cam Barker and it will be interesting to see what he can do next year when he becomes their main defenseman. 2005 Draft Round 6: The Icemen went overseas for the picks in this round. First, they picked Patrik Hersley with the pick #138. He has been having a disappointing year even if he has increased his numbers to 4 points in 12 games, as the management was expecting him to dominate the SEL2. On the other hand, the Icemen are pleased with the other pick, Tomas Popperle, who is having another strong year after dominating the Czech Elite League in 2004-2005. This year, in the German league, he has a GAA of 2.01 and a SV% of .931. Hopefully, he will be able to come over and get a spot as a starter in the AHL. The Icemen expect him to eventually become their starter. 2005 Draft Round 7: This round saw GM Tremblay pick another player from Europe, as well as an overager. Unfortunately, the overager, Andrew Thomas has disappointed. He has failed to develop his offensive game so far, and has put up similar numbers to last year, with 3 points in 19 games. The other pick looks more promising. Playing for the first time in SEL2, Johan Ryno is one of the top forwards on his team. He has scored 8 goals and 14 points in 19 games and has shown he can be dominant. He should graduate next year to a team in SEL or if he stays in the SEL2, he should be able to bring his team to the first division. 2005 Draft Round 8: In this round, the Icemen selected players from all around North America. The #171 selection, Kyle Bailey, was picked from the WHL. So far, he has been one of the biggest surprise for the Icemen, putting up 29 points in only 28 games, just four points short of his career best in a season. The team feels he has a good chance of making the SICHL in the future and is very happy with their selection. The next selection was Nicolas Blanchard, who is playing behind the QMJHL forwards Lascek, Boisclair, Desharnais and Zagrapan. As a third line center, his production is hard to evaluate. He has currently 25 points in 33 games. We will have to wait until next year to see what he can really do offensively. The other player selected in round 8, Zach Bearson, is yet another deception so far. Expected to put up a point a game in the USHL, he only has 15 points in 26 games, including a mere 9 goals. 2005 Draft Round 9: For the last round, GM Tremblay picked two more Americans. With the #208 selection, he selected Pat Brosnihan, making his debut for Yale. The transition hasn’t been easy for Brosnihan, who is currently playing on the fourth line and has managed only one point in nine games. He is a project though and the Icemen hope he will be able to turn things around. Their last selection, Jon Rheault, has picked up things where he left them last year. He is only four points short of last year’s total, with 14 points in 15 games playing for Providence. He is another project due to his short size, but the Icemen feel he has the potential to make it eventually to the big league. Other prospects and minor leaguers: Sean Bergenheim seems to be improving, although his top potential looks to be as a third liner. He should beat last years numbers in the AHL. Travis Moen looks to have at best fourth line potential, he will probably stay a spare minor leaguer energy guy for the Icemen in the foreseeable future. Vaclav Nedorost is currently nursing a serious injury which has the Icemen management questioning his future with the team. Martin Samuelsson has gone back to Europe and will probably stay there for the rest of his career. Miroslav Zalesak looks like another who’s gone back to Europe for good. Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre is playing in the German league and could possibly return in the future to bolster the team’s defense. Aaron Johnson is having a great season with 19 points in 26 games and hopefully he will be able to make the jump to the big league next year. Bryan Muir is showing he still has a little gas in his tank with a push to come back to the big league next year. Lawrence Nycholat is unfortunately looking like a career minor leaguer… the team had previous hopes he could make the jump next year. Chris Tamer is about to hang his skates. Lance Ward is yet another player who is a disappointment, as he hasn’t developed and isn’t mobile enough for the big league. Rastilav Stana is doing well in the SEL and could be back next year to be a back-up in the big league next year. Jonas Almtorp is a lost cause. Shane Endicott is just coming back from an injury, but he has struggled since his injury. The picture will be clearer in his case by the end of the year. Paul Gaustad is having a terrific year and could start his career with the Icemen as early as next year. Toni Koivisto will probably never come over from Europe. Jimmy Cuddihy is wallowing in the CHL… nuff said. John Laliberte seems to be taking off with 16 points in 14 games for Boston University in the NCAA. He might make it eventually, but he’s still a project. Lance Monych made the jump from the CHL to the AHL this year, where he has registered a whopping 0 points in 20 games for the San Antonio Rampage. Ivan Nepriayev is someone Icemen management would rather forget they detain the rights over. Daniel Fernholm has recently made the jump from the ECHL to the AHL, where he should continue to develop. He is still adapting to the North American game. Denis Grot is currently playing in the RSL and is another project who might make it eventually if he decides to come over from Europe. Olli Malmivaara is still developing, although he will probably stay in Europe as well. Lane Manson will possibly graduate in the future to the AHL. For now, he looks like a career minor leaguer, although a fairly big one at 6’8”. Derek Meech is having a solid year with the Grand-Rapids Griffins, but he’s still far in the depth charts. Finally, Paul Ranger is doing better than expected and surprising everyone. It looks like he could make the jump as early as next year.

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