UPDATED: September 23, 2003
INCH's Flight Risks
Paul Martin signed with the New Jersey Devils earlier this month.
Losing a player
a year – or two...or three – early to the professional
ranks has become a routine occurrence in college athletics. It's
especially true in hockey, a sport in which most players are drafted
prior, or a year into, their college careers. And those who aren't
drafted and cobble together a solid season or two stand to earn
some decent money on the free agent market.
With that in mind, Inside College Hockey presents its list of 11
players who may be wearing different sweaters – those of NHL
or AHL teams – as the puck drops on the 2003-04 season. The
potential departees are highlighted below, in no particular order.
And for those
who have already signed on the dotted line, check out: Pro
playoff run gives the team a little extra cash to sign the Buckeyes’
power forward, a 2001 first-round draft pick who seems bored
with the college games at times.
UPDATE: Has left school, although
he still hasn't signed with the Canucks.
on a show in Buffalo last month. Don’t be surprised if
the Sabres take him with the fifth overall pick in Nashville
next month and add him to their stable of young prospects.
UPDATE: Drafted by the Sabres, but
they have said that Vanek will return to Minnesota for his sophomore
the big blueliner – an undrafted free agent – is
tired of the tumult surrounding the Golden Knights’ program.
He was among the nation’s top-five scoring defensemen
UPDATE: Signed with Philadelphia,
Kovalchuk and Kozlov, Atlanta’s stable of forwards is
pedestrian. He’d need a year or so in the minors, but
this 2002 first-round selection could give the Thrashers some
UPDATE: Back and captaining the 2003-04
pick of Phoenix in 2002, they’d likely have to pay the
rookie cap to secure his services. But $2 million over two years
is more appetizing to the cash-strapped ‘Yotes than paying
mega-bucks for the aging Sean Burke, who earned $3.25 million
last season. Even if Phoenix doesn't make a bid for his services,
the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen – who own LeNeveu's major
junior rights – are sure to.
UPDATE: Signed with Phoenix, July
Canadiens will be under pressure to get back to the playoffs
next year, and the co-ECAC Player of the Year could be a better
answer than Mariusz Czerkawski was for the Habs last year. Plus,
the bleu, blanc et rouge hasn't shown a fondness for
letting players develop in college (Mike Komisarek, Ron Hainsey).
UPDATE: Signed with Montreal, May
mate Grant Stevenson off to the pros – he was signed by
San Jose – Joseph will be hard-pressed to duplicate the
65 points he scored in 2002-03.
UPDATE: Has a new wingman in freshman
are owned by Chicago and the Blackhawks have a glut of goalies
(Thibault, Passmore, Leighton and Andersson and the rights to
Denver’s Adam Berkhoel) and are run by the skinflint Wirtz
family. Still, for Ayers’ sake, sometimes it’s best
to strike when the iron is hot (see: Dubielewicz, Wade).
UPDATE: Returning to Durham for his
draft pick, the Sens throw loonies around as if they were manhole
covers. But no team is better at replacing veteran (read: high-priced)
players with home-grown talent, and the team’s track record
of developing young players is impeccable.
UPDATE: Back in Grand Forks along
with high-scoring partner Zach Parise.
with the Wolverines say the goalie will return to backstop a
team that will likely be ranked in the top three in the nation’s
preseason polls. But it wouldn’t be the off-season without
a U-M defection, and it wouldn’t shock us to see Montoya
– who will be eligible for the 2004 NHL Draft –
bolt for the OHL.
UPDATE: Will backstop the CCHA-favorite
blue line isn't exactly full of Ray Bourques. Heck, there aren't
even any Phil Bourques back there. Still, it would
be a surprise for a franchise that recycles aluminum cans just
to make payroll to sign Whitney, whom most feel could use another
year at BU to refine his skills.
UPDATE: He's back on Babcock Street.
to an article in the July 3 Minneapolis Star Tribune,
the New Jersey Devils (the owner of Martin's rights) are ready
to talk contract. Martin says he'll make a decision by Aug.
1. It seems like a no-lose situation for Martin – who
would either return to the defending national champs or join
fellow WCHAers David Hale and Matt DeMarchi in the Devils farm
system – but we'll lean ever so slightly toward him staying.
UPDATE: Signed with New Jersey, Aug.
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