Written by Tom Peacock
A look at Former Prospects
Former ninth round pick (and perennial junior/AHL star) Eric Houde is currently tearing up score-sheets in a tier-two German league, leading his team (the Essen Mosquitoes) with 72 pts (24 goals) in 49 games.
Everyone’s favourite 1991 first round pick (17th overall) Brent Bilodeau (a defenseman) has 12 points in 53 games with the ECHL’s “Slapshot”-affiliated Johnstown Chiefs. He is a -11.
Our 1995 third-round defenseman, Miroslav Guren, has 6 points in 28 games with the RSL’s Novosibirsk Siber. The team’s top scorer has 15 points in 56 games ouch!
Remember 1995 fourth-rounder Jonathan Delisle? He played one game with the Habs in the 98-99 season before plummeting into a life of minor-league obscurity. Now he’s playing his second season with his LNAH team, holding his own with 72 points and 162 PIM in 55 games.
Uber-bust Matt Higgins, picked 18th overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, is playing in the German leagues now, and has posted 23 points in 25 games with the Iserlohn Roosters so far this season. To give context, current Oiler Mike York (who is roughly the same age as Matt) has 61 points in 51 games.
Kim Staal has 21 points in 34 games in the Swedish Elite League, on Malmo IF. He picked up his scoring after a semi-slow start to the season.
Timo Vertala, a 1996 seventh-rounder, took until 2001 to come over to North America, fleeing to Finland the next year after posting a seven point, thirty game season in the AHL. Today he is behind Ville Nieminen in team scoring with Tappara Tampere, where he’s put up 19 points in 48 games.
Always worth a mention, the easily pronounceable Ilkka Mikkola is playing with Finland’s Karpat team (with former overage pick Viktor Ujcik and current prospect Oskari Korpikari). In 45 games, he’s tallied four goals and sixteen assists.
1997 fifth-rounder Gennady Razin’s four seasons in the AHL left a lot to be desired, so he ran off to Russia in 2002. Now he’s got an occasional spot on the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik roster, where he has six goals and 0 assists in 23 games, far below Mikhail Grabovsky in team scoring.
2000 ninth-rounder Jonathan Gauthier was never signed, but he’s found a spot in the LNAH, the notorious Quebec semi-pro league. He has 33 points in 50 games with the Laval Chiefs (not too shabby for a d-man), though his 45 PIM are a bit low for a semi-pro player.
Lots of us were upset when the Habs left pint-sized junior scoring star Eric Himelfarb unsigned after the deadline. When Detroit signed him to their AHL roster late last season, we became a little scared. When he posted 5 points in 7 season games and 3 points in 4 playoff games with the Griffins, we became very scared. This year, he got off to a strong start, scoring at a point-per-game pace in the AHL, but has recently slowed down a tad. Still, he has 31 points in 58 games with the Griffins not too bad for a 21 year-old, 5’9″ centre. last off-season, we left two NCAA players unsigned. Ryan Glenn (5th rd, 2000), who had a career season with St. Lawrence, was a bit of a surprise however, at 24 years old, perhaps more than 29 pts in 40 games were expected in a college league. Anyway, after being left unsigned, he attended an AHL training camp, but was eventually signed by the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. In 50 games, he has 21 points and 41 PIM (not awful for a d-man). A brief call-up to the Hartford Wolf Pack during the season yielded 11 pointless, PIM-less games probably with limited icetime.
The second NCAA player we left unprotected was Scott Selig (6th rd, 2000), who played a pointless season with Northeastern University in 03-04 (the biting conclusion to a steady decline in production over four years in the NCAA). He has 9 points (2 goals and seven assists) in thirty games thus far with the Central Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Blazers, along with 36 PIM. Interestingly, Oklahoma City is the team that signed Brenden Morrow to a contract earlier in the season Morrow had 22 points in 19 games before leaving the team.
Andre Deveaux (6th rd, 2002) was left unsigned last summer after a number of feisty but inconsistent seasons with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. He was picked up by Tampa Bay’s new AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, and has seven points (3 g, 5a) in 57 games with the team. He’s also kept up his reputation in the penalty box, posting a solid 155 PIM so far this season.
At the end of last season, undrafted NCAA graduate Brent Robinson joined the Bulldogs for 5 games as a tryout. I thought he looked alright, but he failed to score at all during his tryout. He was picked up by the ECHL’s Trenton Titans this year, where he has 44 points (15g, 29a) in 54 games this year. A midseason call-up to the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL yielded one assist in five games.