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April 1, 2012
Pucks From The Past
Saskatoon Westerns, 2000-01

by Iain Fyffe

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Fictional Saskatoon Westerns GM Ardal Ekrub has some tough decisions to make in the next few seasons for his club. He knows the roster is aging, and he must keep to his plan to use older players to obtain draft picks, in an effort to avoid overpaying for their production, and to keep the young prospects rolling in. This strategy has worked for him very well thus far, and he sees no reason to abandon it now.

Unfortunately, this entails trading players the fans may love dearly at times, but there's nothing for it. So in the 2000-01 offseason, he deals Mark Recchi, who led the team in GVT the previous season, to the Flyers for their first round (28th overall) and third round (94th overall) picks. This trade brings good draft picks, and also removes Recchi's salary from the books. In a more minor deal, he sends Sergei Brylin and Marko Tuomainen to the Devils for their second round (39th overall) pick.

We can now turn our attention to the 2000 Entry Draft. It's unusual that the actual Number One does not appear on the list of Top 30 prospects as determined by the Project-a-Tron objective drafting system. In 2000, however, actual top pick Rick DiPietro is nowhere near the 30 best, coming in at a PGVT+ of only 3.1, well behind Dany Heatley's 15.4 mark and Marian Gaborik's 15.1 score. With two such prospects as Heatley and Gaborik available, it was a risky move by the Islanders to take DiPietro, given the fact that goaltenders are more difficult to project than skaters.

In this case, the Islanders' choice proved to be a bad one. DiPietro had an actual peak GVT (defined as the GVT per 82 games in the best five of 10 seasons after the draft year) of 16.3, which translates into a PGVT+ of only 6.0, which is still well below the value you expect for a first overall selection. Indeed, DiPietro would have had to compile a peak GVT of 42.1 to translate into a PGVT+ of 15.5, which would have put him ahead of Heatley. Now, DiPietro did post such a number in his best season (2006-07), when his GVT per 82 games was 43.6. However, expecting a goaltender to produce at such a level was hopelessly optimistic given his numbers in 1999-2000. And since Heatley and Gaborik produced actual peak GVTs of 21.1 and 18.9 respectively, the decision seems that much worse.

Top 30 Players Available at 2000 Entry Draft

Rank	Player			Pos	League	PGVT+	Drafted
1	Heatley, Dany		F	WCHA	15.4	2
2	Gaborik, Marian		F	Svk	15.1	3
3	Novak, Filip		D	WHL	9.1	64
4	Nedorost, Vaclav	F	Cze	8.3	14
5	Boyes, Brad		F	OHL	7.6	24
6	Hartnell, Scott		F	OHL	7.2	6
7	Schultz, Nick		D	WHL	7.2	33
8	Klesla, Rostislav	D	OHL	7.0	4
9	Stoll, Jarrett		F	WHL	6.9	46
10	Cavosie, Marc		F	ECAC	6.9	99
11	Lundqvist, Henrik	G	Swe	6.8	205
12	Mallette, Carl		F	QMJHL	6.6	107
13	Aulin, Jared		F	WHL	6.5	47
14	Ouellet, Michel		F	QMJHL	6.5	124
15	Kolanos, Krys		F	HE	6.5	19
16	Bendera, Shane		G	WHL	6.5	169
17	Bell, Thatcher		D	QMJHL	6.3	71
18	Kaltianen, Matti	G	Fin	6.2	-
19	Hilbert, Andy		F	CCHA	6.0	37
20	Bayda, Ryan		F	WCHA	6.0	80
21	Samuelsson, Martin	F	Swe	6.0	27
22	Shastin, Igor		F	Rus	5.8	-
23	Vermette, Antoine	F	QMJHL	5.7	55
24	Krahn, Brent		G	WHL	5.7	9
25	Johansson, Eric		F	WHL	5.6	255
26	Liv, Stefan		G	Swe	5.5	102
27	Bryzgalov, Ilya		G	Rus	5.4	44
28	Delisle, Miguel		F	OHL	5.0	100
29	McRae, Mark		D	ECAC	5.0	288
30	Kronwall, Niklas	D	Swe	4.8	29

With all the talk of a goaltender going number one this year, Ekrub figures it's about time he gets around to adapting the Project-a-Tron to rate European goalies, something which he has never done before. It's not a difficult task, involving a combination of factors used to evaluate major junior goaltenders on the one hand, and European skaters on the other. It's apparently a good year to do it, as four European netminders end up in the top 30 players available at the draft, including two from Sweden and one each from Russia and Finland.

Saskatoon Westerns 2000 Draft Picks

Pick	Player			Pos	League	PGVT+
28	Novak, Filip		D	WHL	9.1
29	Schultz, Nick		D	WHL	7.2
39	Stoll, Jarrett		C	WHL	6.9
61	Cavosie, Marc		L	ECAC	6.9
94	Lundqvist, Henrik	G	Swe	6.8
95	Mallette, Carl		C	QMJHL	6.6
129	Bendera, Shane		G	WHL	6.5
166	Kaltianen, Matti	G	Fin	6.2
196	Shastin, Igor		L	Rus	5.8
228	Johansson, Eric		C	WHL	5.6
260	McRae, Mark		D	ECAC	5.0
292	Thomson, Ben		C	WHL	4.8

Whoops, looks like we drafted Henrik Lundqvist with the 94th pick just now. You might therefore suspect ulterior motives in the timing of introducing ratings of European goalies, since we put it in just in time to get King Henrik. You'll just have to take my word that that isn't the case. Not having the European goalie ratings before this time only hurt the team's drafting. For example, Ekrub would have selected Miikka Kiprusoff (6.1 PGVT+) with the 56th pick in the 1995 Entry Draft had the ratings been active at that time. So he's certainly missed out in the past.

In the 2000 Expansion Draft, Ekrub uses his surplus of assets to control who he loses to Nashville and Atlanta. He first trades Frederic Henry and Stephane Julien to Atlanta for future considerations, specifically that they take Darren Van Impe in the draft, guaranteeing that the Westerns will not lose one of their NHL netminders. He then trades Roman Lyashenko to Nashville for future considerations, specifically that they select Tommi Miettinen in the draft.

He releases Jarkko Varvio, Herbert Vasiljevs, and Tommi Kallio to clear space on the Reserve List.

Saskatoon Westerns 2000-01 Reserve List

Pos	Name			Age	Acquired
G	Bendera, Shane		19	Draft, 2000 (129)
G	Bergeron, Remi (k)	19	Draft, 1999 (185)
G	Biron, Martin (k)	23	Draft, 1995 (15)
G	Block, Brady (k)	19	Draft, 1999 (104)
G	Brind'Amour, Frederik (k)20	Draft, 1998 (133)
G	Garon, Mathieu (k)	22	Draft, 1996 (36)
G	Kalianen, Matti		18	Draft, 2000 (166)
G	Lundqvist, Henrik	18	Draft, 2000 (94)
G	MacDonald, Joey (k)	19	Draft, 1999 (271)
G	Theodore, Jose (k)	24	Draft, 1994 (26)
D	Boyle, Dan (k)		24	Draft, 1995 (216)
D	Campbell, Brian (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (130)
D	Clark, Brett (k)	23	Draft, 1996 (77)
D	Connolly, Sean		20	Draft, 1999 (95)
D	Corvo, Joe (k)		23	Draft, 1996 (49)
D	DuPont, Micki (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (245)
D	Ference, Andrew (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (102)
D	Guren, Miloslav (k)	23	Draft, 1995 (52)
D	Kinch, Matt (k)		20	Draft, 1998 (161)
D	Markov, Andrei (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (213)
D	McRae, Mark		19	Draft, 2000 (260)
D	Mitchell, Kevin (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (106)
D	Musial, David		24	Draft, 1995 (56)
D	Novak, Filip		18	Draft, 2000 (28)
D	Numminen, Teppo (k)	32	Draft, 1986 (15)
D	Salo, Sami (k)		26	Draft, 1993 (51)
D	Schultz, Nick		18	Draft, 2000 (29)
D	Smith, Kenton (k)	19	Draft, 1999 (214)
D	Zidlicky, Marek (k)	23	Draft, 1995 (108)
D	Zion, Jonathan (k)	19	Draft, 1999 (65)
D	Zubov, Sergei (k)	29	Draft, 1990 (81)
C	Briere, Daniel (k)	22	Draft, 1996 (23)
C	Comrie, Mike (k)	20	Draft, 1999 (27)
C	Johansson, Eric		18	Draft, 2000 (228)
C	Kapanen, Niko (k)	22	Draft, 1997 (119)
C	Kosick, Mark		21	Draft, 1998 (43)
C	Lapointe, Claude (k)	31	Draft, 1988 (229)
C	Mallette, Carl		18	Draft, 2000 (95)
C	Malov, Roman		22	Draft, 1996 (186)
C	Marchant, Todd (k)	27	Draft, 1992 (215)
C	McLean, Brett (k)	22	Draft, 1996 (159)
C	Nieuwendyk, Joe (k)	34	Draft, 1985 (9)
C	Norris, Warren (k)	25	Draft, 1994 (104)
C	Perreault, Yanic (k)	29	Draft, 1990 (102)
C	Perrin, Eric (k)	25	Draft, 1994 (78)
C	Peterson, Toby		21	Draft, 1998 (78)
C	Ribeiro, Mike (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (26)
C	Richards, Brad (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (31)
C	Robinson, Todd (k)	22	Draft, 1996 (105)
C	Savard, Marc (k)	23	Draft, 1995 (27)
C	Stoll, Jarret		18	Draft, 2000 (39)
C	Thomson, Ben		18	Draft, 2000 (292)
C	York, Mike (k)		22	Draft, 1997 (22)
LW	Balastik, Jaroslav	20	Draft, 1999 (242)
LW	Bicek, Jiri		21	Draft, 1997 (76)
LW	Butsayev, Yuri		21	Draft, 1997 (49)
LW	Cavosie, Marc		19	Draft, 2000 (61)
LW	Demitra, Pavol (k)	26	Draft, 1993 (77)
LW	Hossa, Marian (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (12)
LW	Kariya, Steve (k)	22	Draft, 1997 (186)
LW	Kratena, Ondrej		23	Draft, 1996 (132)
LW	Mikahilov, Egor		22	Draft, 1996 (212)
LW	Rybin, Maxim		19	Draft, 1999 (125)
LW	Sejna, Peter (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (190)
LW	Shastin, Igor		18	Draft, 2000 (196)
LW	Whitney, Ray (k)	28	Draft, 1991 (21)
LW	Zetterberg, Henrik	19	Draft, 1999 (155)
RW	Bednar, Jaroslav	23	Draft, 1995 (80)
RW	DeCecco, Bret (k)	20	Draft, 1998 (42)
RW	Fleury, Theoren (k)	32	Draft, 1986 (204)
RW	Gionta, Brian		21	Draft, 1998 (74)
RW	Haydar, Darren		20	Draft, 1999 (76)
RW	Lehtinen, Jere (k)	27	Draft, 1991 (131)
RW	St. Louis, Martin (k)	25	Draft, 1994 (52)
RW	Sidyakin, Andrei	21	Draft, 1997 (157)
RW	Zalesak, Miroslav	20	Draft, 1998 (53)

Players on Reserve List (Maximum 80): 76
Players Under Contract (Maximum 50): 47

The departure of Recchi certainly hurts the team's performance on the ice, as the Westerns fall to fifth in the league standings, though they maintain the pace that Ekrub expects to be able to keep on a consistent basis (around 100 points, not including bonus points for losing in overtime). The goaltender is only so-so, and an injury to Sami Salo means that Sergei Zubov is the only blueliner to have a really good season.

Saskatoon Westerns 2000-01 NHL Season Results

GP	W	L	T	GF	GA	Pts	Finish
82	47	25	10	288	221	108	2nd, Central; 5th overall

Player			No	Age	Pos	GP	OGVT	DGVT	GVT
Hossa, Marian		22	21	LW	81	15.9	2.8	18.7
Zubov, Sergei		46	29	D	79	8.5	7.6	16.1
Fleury, Theoren (A)	14	32	RW	62	15.0	0.7	15.7
Demitra, Pavol		38	26	LW	44	8.5	3.6	12.1
Theodore, Jose		33	24	G	50	0.0	11.3	11.3
Marchant, Todd		39	27	C	71	5.3	4.8	10.1
Nieuwendyk, Joe (C)	25	34	C	69	9.0	0.9	9.9
Perreault, Yanic	49	29	C	76	8.7	0.8	9.5
Lehtinen, Jere		20	27	RW	74	4.0	5.4	9.4
St. Louis, Martin	15	25	RW	78	5.5	2.6	8.1
Briere, Daniel		18	22	RW	61	7.4	0.0	7.4
Zidlicky, Marek		3	23	D	75	5.3	2.0	7.3
Biron, Martin		43	23	G	30	0.0	7.2	7.2
Lapointe, Claude	17	31	C	80	0.8	6.1	6.9
Savard, Marc		9	23	LW	77	5.1	1.7	6.8
Numminen, Teppo (A)	27	32	D	72	2.2	3.6	5.8
Salo, Sami		5	26	D	31	3.1	2.0	5.1
Markov, Andrei		51	21	D	63	3.7	1.0	4.7
Ference, Andrew		27	21	D	36	2.9	1.6	4.5
Kariya, Steve		12	22	LW	60	3.2	0.5	3.7
Perrin, Eric		10	25	LW	71	3.1	0.5	3.6
Whitney, Ray		13	28	RW	46	3.1	-1.0	2.1
Corvo, Joe		7	23	D	26	0.4	0.7	1.1
York, Mike		16	22	C	24	0.1	0.6	0.7
Kapanen, Niko		29	22	C	7	0.2	0.1	0.3
Guren, Miloslav		19	23	D	9	0.2	0.0	0.2
Boyle, Dan		21	24	D	34	0.7	-0.5	0.2
Garon, Mathieu		32	22	G	2	0.0	0.1	0.1
Richards, Brad		59	20	C	3	0.1	0.0	0.1
Campbell, Brian		44	21	D	8	-0.3	-0.2	-0.5
Clark, Brett		2	23	D	28	-0.4	-0.9	-1.3
Total						82	121.9	65.9	187.8

The Westerns continue to be one of the league's best teams at taking draws, winning 55.1% of their faceoffs, which is only 0.1% behind Washington, who paced the circuit. They're led once again by Yanic Perreault and Joe Nieuwendyk, who remain two of the league's dominant centers in this respect.

Saskatoon Westerns 2000-01 Faceoff Stats

Player			Pos	GP	FO	FOW	FOL	FO%
Marchant, Todd		C	71	1317	709	608	53.8
Nieuwendyk, Joe		C	69	1262	722	540	57.2
Perreault, Yanic	C	76	1055	661	394	62.6
Lapointe, Claude	C	80	806	406	400	50.4
Savard, Marc		LW	77	417	221	196	53.0
Briere, Daniel		RW	61	214	107	107	50.0
Fleury, Theoren		RW	62	139	66	73	47.5
York, Mike		C	24	67	32	35	47.8
Whitney, Ray		LW	46	43	17	26	39.5
St. Louis, Martin	RW	78	24	10	14	41.7
Hossa, Marian		LW	81	14	6	8	42.8
Richards, Brad		C	3	12	5	7	41.7
Demitra, Pavol		LW	44	8	3	5	37.5
Lehtinen, Jere		RW	76	7	2	5	28.6
Kapanen, Niko		C	7	5	2	3	40.0
Kariya, Steve		LW	60	2	1	1	50.0
Total				82	5392	2970	2422	55.1

Playoffs, First Round

The Westerns encounter their old nemeses in the first round, as they take on the Edmonton Oilers. The series goes back and forth before Saskatoon emerges the victor in seven games (2-6, 1-3, 5-2, 6-2, 1-0, 3-6, 3-1).

Playoffs, Second Round

The Dallas Stars are next, and are very evenly matched with the team from the Canadian Prairies. The Texans emerge victorious after six games (4-5, 2-1, 2-4, 3-1, 3-6, 1-2), making it four seasons without a Stanley Cup win for the Westerns, their longest drought since they won their first championship in 1990.

Saskatoon Westerns Season Results Through 2000-01

Season		GP	W	L	T	GF	GA	Pts	Pct
1983-84		80	32	39	9	314	324	73	.456
1984-85		80	34	36	10	311	313	78	.488
1985-86		80	40	32	8	321	309	88	.550
1986-87		80	40	32	8	328	297	88	.550
1987-88		80	41	31	8	345	307	90	.563
1988-89		80	45	26	9	365	297	99	.619
1989-90		80	45	27	8	344	277	98	.613
1990-91		80	47	23	10	341	257	104	.650
1991-92		80	45	25	10	339	269	100	.625
1992-93		84	53	23	8	382	268	115	.685
1993-94		84	53	21	10	360	253	116	.690
1994-95		48	34	9	5	185	124	71	.740
1995-96		82	47	26	9	315	250	103	.628
1996-97		82	42	29	11	268	229	95	.579
1997-98		82	51	19	12	278	196	114	.695
1998-99		82	47	23	12	277	205	106	.646
1999-00		82	46	26	10	268	218	106	.622
2000-01		82	47	25	10	288	221	108	.634
Total		1346	747	443	156	5361	4095	1657	.613

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