|From Russia With Luke-Warm Affection and Interest||Tweet|
|Written by Matt Bugg|
|Saturday, 17 February 2007 06:37|
It was the 2003-04 season. Brad Stuart led the Sharks in assists with 30, Jonathan Cheechoo had 47 points, and Alexander Korolyuk was 9th in team scoring. Two years later, and Joe Thornton had 90 assists, Cheechoo popped in his 47th goal, and Korolyuk... was in the RSL. Sharks property once again, we look at what this means for keeper league owners. Also, the Flyers partake in some Un-planned Parent-hood, and a mysterious Swedish prospect joins Markus Naslund, Peter Forsberg and Kenta Nilsson in the record books this week in Bugg Bytes.
30 year-old Alexander Korolyuk isn't exactly prospect material, but he bears mention this week simply because nobody else is talking about him. The winger, if you remember, was one of the first victims of the salary cap, tossed to New Jersey along with Jim Fahey for Vladimir Malakhov and a first round draft choice on October 1st, 2006. It was a notable move then only because it marked the beginning of New Jersey's fight back from the edge of salary cap hell. So why is it a notable move now? Well, Korolyuk aside, the Devils acquired a 3rd round draft choice in this year's draft. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello might keep that pick, and select a player you'll want to keep your eyes on simply because Lou picked them. But more likely, the Devils stocking up for a deadline-day deal. A veteran blueliner or backup could be on the way.
As for Korolyuk? Comments by Sharks GM Doug Wilson confirm the idea that the former Shark is looking to make an NHL comeback. With an impressive 33-43-76 line in 84 RSL games for the substandard Chekhov Vityaz squad, the 5'9 checking line dynamo hasn't lost a step since losing an NHL job. With a career PPG rate of just under 0.50, the potential 20-20-40 production isn't all that enticing. But with a cadre of skill up front- lacking two seasons ago- and Korolyuk's ability to play on any line, hot streaks are inevitable. A stint on either Marleau or Thornton's wing could mean big numbers.
In the other big trade this week, the Nashville Predators acquired Peter Forsberg. Going back the other way were of course Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent and picks. Am I the only one who thinks Parent's acquisition has been completely underrated? The Flyers have had all kinds of practice digging pucks out of their own net this year. Parent's brilliant shutdown game will finely compliment the breakout stylings of future partner Joni Pitkanen. Think back to any of the most memorable defensive pairings you can remember- Niedermayer/Stevens, Savard/Robinson, Gord Smith and Bill Mikkelson circa 1974-75. One played defense, the other played... well, defense as well, plus they rushed the puck. Parent compares most favorably to one Rod Langway. While he won't do a whole lot of scoring on his own, the occasional residual points- plus a ridiculous plus/minus rating- are sure to make him an underrated keeper league pickup for years to come.
Also something else worth mention here: with the Flyers in the east, several annual matchups against Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are assured. While we've never seen Parent face Sid the Kid- the two were teammates when they did play on the same ice- the tough-as-nails rearguard did a beautiful job of minimizing the contributions of one Alexander the Gr8 in international play. While the NHL and World Juniors are ice rinks apart, Parent may prove to be a production-killer in weeks where the Flyers and Caps face off.
And since odds are good you skipped past everything above just to see who this record-breaking Swedish phenom is, I'll get right to it. A 7th round draft choice of the Predators in 2005, 5'11 winger Patric Hornqvist accomplished one of the rarest feats in the Swedish Elite League this past week, popping in his 20th goal of the campaign. Along with the aforementioned Nilsson, Forsberg and Naslund, Daniel Sedin and Thomas Sandstrom are the only other players to have accomplished this feat as under-21 forwards in that league. 20 on January 1st of this year, Hornqvist's previous best goal total in the SEL was 5. 2nd in points (30) and goals (20) for Djurgårdens IF, the forward has had the help of SEL veteran Fredrik Bremberg, who has 33 assists to his name this season. Last year, the 33 year-old right wing had 35 helpers. Still, Hornqvist's feat is one for the ages.
Want to cash in? Well, if you've got him, see if you can pump up his value by making mention of the above record. And if you don't have him, well, shut your mouth for goodness' sakes and get him. In 2005, I saw a future 25-25-50 player in Hornqvist. That certainly doesn't change with this latest feat. He could be over here by next season at the earliest, and step right in to fill the spot vacated by Scott Upshall's departure. Further proof at just how smart Dave Poile was in moving who he did for Forsberg.
Oh, and in need of a short-term boost to your goaltending? It's the perfect time to utilize the services of one Jaroslav Halak. The most impressive 21 year-old goalie bar none in the American League ranks this season, 2003 9th round choice Halak has earned an NHL call-up following Cristobal Huet's latest setback. With a 2.00 GAA and mind-boggling 0.932 save percentage, this future NHL 1A goalie will get his shot if David Aebischer struggles in relief of Huet. With a big game against Carolina tonight, Aebischer will most likely take the reigns. Instead, Sunday's contest against Columbus is Halak's best chance at starting his first NHL game- and if not then, Tuesday's matchup with Washington. The young goaltender could conceivably start in both contests if his debut goes well enough. It says right here Halak posts numbers close to his AHL stats if he mans the crease Sunday and Tuesday.
|Last Updated on Monday, 24 September 2007 09:27|