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March 28, 2012
Pucks From The Past
Saskatoon Westerns, 1999-2000

by Iain Fyffe

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It's a Euro-heavy top of the class at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, according to fictional GM Ardal Ekrub's Project-a-Tron objective drafting system, which to our modern eyes bears a remarkable similarity to the Projectinator, often discussed at this site. Six of the top-10 best draft prospects are European, however three of these (Pavel Brendl, Patrik Stefan, and Oleg Saprykin) already play in the North America. The Sedin twins are appropriately ranked consecutively at numbers four and five, though in reverse order of how they would be drafted by Vancouver. The other teams do an unusually good job at selecting the top prospects identified by the Project-a-Tron, as five of the top seven are taken in the first five picks.

Top 30 Players Available at 1999 Entry Draft

Rank	Player			Pos	League	PGVT+	Drafted
1	Brendl, Pavel		F	WHL	20.3	4
2	Stefan, Patrik		F	IHL	13.7	1
3	Comrie, Mike		F	CCHA	13.1	91
4	Sedin, Henrik		F	Swe	12.4	3
5	Sedin, Daniel		F	Swe	11.4	2
6	Murley, Matt		F	ECAC	10.8	51
7	Connolly, Tim		F	OHL	9.5	5
8	Saprykin, Oleg		F	WHL	9.0	11
9	Zion, Jonathan		D	OHL	8.8	110
10	Cereda, Luca		F	Sui	8.8	24
11	Zigomanis, Mike		F	OHL	8.4	64
12	Haydar, Darren		F	HE	8.4	248
13	Jillson, Jeff		D	CCHA	8.3	14
14	Connolly, Sean		D	CCHA	8.2	-
15	Finley, Brian		G	OHL	8.2	6
16	Ouellet, Maxime		G	QMJHL	8.1	22
17	McCarthy, Steve		D	WHL	8.0	23
18	Auld, Alex		G	OHL	7.6	40
19	Kelman, Scott		F	WHL	7.3	15
20	Block, Brady		G	WHL	7.0	-
21	Lysak, Brett		F	WHL	6.8	49
22	Lundmark, Jamie		F	WHL	6.7	9
23	Weinhandl, Mattias	F	Swe	6.7	78
24	Beech, Kris		F	WHL	6.6	7
25	Rita, Jani		F	Fin	6.6	13
26	Havlat, Martin		F	Cze	6.6	26
27	Rybin, Maxim		F	Rus	6.5	141
28	Zetterberg, Henrik	F	Swe	6.4	210
29	Lajeunesse, Simon	G	QMJHL	6.3	48
30	Thinel, Marc-Andre	F	QMJHL	6.1	145

The third-best prospect, Mike Comrie, is available for the Saskatoon Westerns braintrust to select with the 27th pick of the draft. And who's that player Ekrub claims in the fifth round? Henrik Zetterberg? I wonder if he'll turn out to be much of a player. One can only assume the Red Wings were able to draft Zetterberg so late in the real world is that they were the only team really scouting him. That's one advantage an objective ranking system has—you don't need eyes on the player to be able to determine a ranking. Can you really scout every first division team in Europe? It's difficult enough to scout every elite-level team as it is.

Saskatoon Westerns 1999 Draft Picks

Pick	Player			Pos	League	PGVT+
27	Comrie, Mike		C	CCHA	13.1
65	Zion, Jonathan		D	OHL	8.8
76	Haydar, Darren		RW	HE	8.4
95	Connolly, Sean		D	CCHA	8.2
104	Block, Brady		G	WHL	7.0
125	Rybin, Maxim		LW	Rus	6.5
155	Zetterberg, Henrik	LW	Swe	6.4
185	Bergeron, Remi		G	QMJHL	5.9
214	Smith, Kenton		D	WHL	5.7
242	Balastik, Jaroslav	LW	Cze	5.6
271	MacDonald, Joey		G	QMJHL	4.9

Having a good group of young defensemen making their way toward everyday jobs in the NHL, Ekrub is not too distressed to lose Alexei Zhitnik, who to date has not been adequate without the puck, in the Expansion Draft. Ekrub also trades Frantisek Kaberle and Bill Bowler to Los Angeles for their third round (76th overall) and fourth round (104th overall) picks.

Vyacheslav Kozlov is not re-signed, and he goes to Detroit as a free agent. Kozlov is at an age that decline in performance often sets in, while contract dollars generally go up. As good as Kozlov has been for the team, Ekrub needs the roster spot for his young forwards. The GM releases Derek Wilkinson, Dustin Whitecotton, Aaron Keller, Jani Hassinen, Tomas Blazek, Martin Gendron, Chris Snell, and Ryan Smith to finalize his Reserve List for the season.

Saskatoon Westerns 1999-2000 Reserve List

Pos	Name			Age	Acquired
G	Bergeron, Remi		18	Draft, 1999 (185)
G	Biron, Martin (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (15)
G	Block, Brady		18	Draft, 1999 (104)
G	Brind'Amour, Frederik (k)19	Draft, 1998 (133)
G	Garon, Mathieu (k)	21	Draft, 1996 (36)
G	Henry, Frederic (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (162)
G	MacDonald, Joey		18	Draft, 1999 (271)
G	Theodore, Jose (k)	23	Draft, 1994 (26)
D	Boyle, Dan (k)		23	Draft, 1995 (216)
D	Campbell, Brian (k)	20	Draft, 1997 (130)
D	Clark, Brett (k)	22	Draft, 1996 (77)
D	Connolly, Sean		19	Draft, 1999 (95)
D	Corvo, Joe (k)		22	Draft, 1996 (49)
D	DuPont, Micki (k)	19	Draft, 1998 (245)
D	Ference, Andrew (k)	20	Draft, 1997 (102)
D	Guren, Miloslav (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (52)
D	Julien, Stephane (k)	25	Draft, 1992 (239)
D	Kinch, Matt (k)		19	Draft, 1998 (161)
D	Markov, Andrei		20	Draft, 1997 (213)
D	Mitchell, Kevin (k)	19	Draft, 1998 (106)
D	Musial, David		23	Draft, 1995 (56)
D	Numminen, Teppo (k)	31	Draft, 1986 (15)
D	Salo, Sami (k)		25	Draft, 1993 (51)
D	Smith, Kenton		18	Draft, 1999 (214)
D	Van Impe, Darren (k)	26	Draft, 1991 (104)
D	Zidlicky, Marek (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (108)
D	Zion, Jonathan		18	Draft, 1999 (65)
D	Zubov, Sergei (k)	28	Draft, 1990 (81)
C	Briere, Daniel (k)	21	Draft, 1996 (23)
C	Brylin, Sergei (k)	25	Draft, 1992 (30)
C	Comrie, Mike		19	Draft, 1999 (27)
C	Kapanen, Niko (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (119)
C	Kosick, Mark		20	Draft, 1998 (43)
C	Lapointe, Claude (k)	30	Draft, 1988 (229)
C	Lyashenko, Roman (k)	20	Draft, 1997 (14)
C	Malov, Roman		21	Draft, 1996 (186)
C	Marchant, Todd (k)	26	Draft, 1992 (215)
C	McLean, Brett (k)	21	Draft, 1996 (159)
C	Nieuwendyk, Joe (k)	33	Draft, 1985 (9)
C	Norris, Warren (k)	24	Draft, 1994 (104)
C	Perreault, Yanic (k)	28	Draft, 1990 (102)
C	Perrin, Eric (k)	24	Draft, 1994 (78)
C	Peterson, Toby		20	Draft, 1998 (78)
C	Ribeiro, Mike (k)	19	Draft, 1998 (26)
C	Richards, Brad (k)	19	Draft, 1998 (31)
C	Robinson, Todd (k)	21	Draft, 1996 (105)
C	Savard, Marc (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (27)
C	York, Mike (k)		21	Draft, 1997 (22)
LW	Balastik, Jaroslav	19	Draft, 1999 (242)
LW	Bicek, Jiri		20	Draft, 1997 (76)
LW	Butsayev, Yuri		20	Draft, 1997 (49)
LW	Demitra, Pavol (k)	25	Draft, 1993 (77)
LW	Hossa, Marian (k)	20	Draft, 1997 (12)
LW	Kallio, Tommi (k)	22	Draft, 1995 (72)
LW	Kariya, Steve (k)	21	Draft, 1997 (186)
LW	Kratena, Ondrej		22	Draft, 1996 (132)
LW	Miettinen, Tommi (k)	23	Draft, 1994 (182)
LW	Mikahilov, Egor		21	Draft, 1996 (212)
LW	Recchi, Mark (k)	31	Draft, 1987 (142)
LW	Rybin, Maxim		18	Draft, 1999 (125)
LW	Sejna, Peter		19	Draft, 1998 (190)
LW	Whitney, Ray (k)	27	Draft, 1991 (21)
LW	Zetterberg, Henrik	18	Draft, 1999 (155)
RW	Bednar, Jaroslav	22	Draft, 1995 (80)
RW	DeCecco, Bret (k)	19	Draft, 1998 (42)
RW	Fleury, Theoren (k)	31	Draft, 1986 (204)
RW	Gionta, Brian		20	Draft, 1998 (74)
RW	Haydar, Darren		19	Draft, 1999 (76)
RW	Lehtinen, Jere (k)	26	Draft, 1991 (131)
RW	St. Louis, Martin (k)	24	Draft, 1994 (52)
RW	Sidyakin, Andrei	20	Draft, 1997 (157)
RW	Tuomainen, Marko (k)	27	Draft, 1991 (175)
RW	Varvio, Jarkko (k)	27	Draft, 1991 (153)
RW	Vasiljevs, Herbert (k)	23	Draft, 1995 (189)
RW	Zalesak, Miroslav	19	Draft, 1998 (53)

Players on Reserve List (Maximum 80): 75
Players Under Contract (Maximum 50): 50

Injuries to Jere Lehtinen, Sami Salo, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Yanic Perreault try their best to slow down the Westerns during the 1999-2000 season, but Saskatoon still manages to finish second in their division, and second in the NHL. Ekrub notes that his roster is aging now, and this will have to be addressed in the near future, before too many players get too old.

Saskatoon Westerns 1999-2000 NHL Season Results

GP	W	L	T	GF	GA	Pts	Finish
82	46	26	10	268	218	106	2nd place, Central; 2nd overall

Player			No.	Age	Pos	GP	OGVT	DGVT	GVT
Recchi, Mark (A)	8	31	RW	82	16.8	5.5	22.3
Demitra, Pavol		38	25	LW	71	13.2	4.4	17.6
Whitney, Ray		13	27	LW	81	13.0	2.0	15.0
Numminen, Teppo (A)	27	31	D	79	6.4	6.5	12.9
Theodore, Jose		33	23	G	34	0.0	12.2	12.2
Biron, Martin		43	22	G	43	0.0	10.8	10.8
Zubov, Sergei		46	28	D	77	4.5	5.9	10.4
Perreault, Yanic	49	28	C	58	9.0	1.1	10.1
Fleury, Theoren		14	31	RW	80	7.1	2.8	9.9
Marchant, Todd		39	26	C	82	4.4	5.2	9.6
Salo, Sami		5	25	D	37	2.6	3.3	5.9
Nieuwendyk, Joe (C)	25	33	C	48	4.2	0.8	5.0
Zidlicky, Marek		3	22	D	65	1.5	3.3	4.8
St. Louis, Martin	15	24	RW	73	2.7	2.1	4.8
Clark, Brett		2	22	D	77	1.2	2.6	3.8
Hossa, Marian		22	20	LW	45	2.8	0.9	3.7
Savard, Marc		9	22	C	58	2.6	1.1	3.7
Van Impe, Darren	48	26	D	79	2.2	0.6	2.8
Kariya, Steve		12	21	LW	30	1.4	1.3	2.7
Brylin, Sergei		47	25	LW	64	0.6	2.1	2.7
York, Mike		16	21	C	16	1.9	0.1	2.0
Lapointe, Claude	17	30	C	76	1.6	0.3	1.9
Lehtinen, Jere		20	26	RW	17	0.6	1.0	1.6
Briere, Daniel		18	21	RW	35	0.8	0.4	1.2
Boyle, Dan		21	23	D	26	0.9	0.2	1.1
Perrin, Eric		10	24	LW	21	0.9	0.1	1.0
Campbell, Brian		44	20	D	12	0.6	0.0	0.6
Corvo, Joe		7	22	D	16	0.1	0.4	0.5
Kapanen, Niko		29	21	C	6	0.2	0.1	0.3
Guren, Miloslav		19	22	D	24	-0.3	0.5	0.2
Tuomainen, Marko	45	27	RW	31	0.1	0.1	0.2
Varvio, Jarkko		11	27	RW	3	0.0	0.0	0.0
Vasiljevs, Herbert	37	23	RW	7	-0.3	-0.1	-0.4
Garon, Mathieu		32	21	G	5	0.0	-0.5	-0.5
Total						82	103.3	77.1	180.4

For the second consecutive season, the Westerns are the league's best team at winning faceoffs, taking 55.4% of their draws, a full two percentage points ahead of second-best Detroit. Saskatoon would surely have been further ahead, had they not missed Yanic Perreault and Joe Nieuwendyk for so many games to injury, as these players were numbers one and two in faceoff winning percentage, respectively. It still remains to be seen whether this success at taking draws will be persistent into the future for the team, or if it's merely a coincidence that objective drafting resulted in selecting players like these two, who by themselves have a huge influence on the team's faceoff numbers.

Saskatoon Westerns 1999-00 Faceoff Stats

Player			Pos	GP	FO	FOW	FOL	FO%
Perreault, Yanic	C	58	987	610	377	61.8
Nieuwendyk, Joe		C	48	924	546	378	59.1
Marchant, Todd		C	82	1195	632	563	52.9
Lapointe, Claude	C	76	1156	624	532	54.0
Fleury, Theoren		RW	80	490	277	213	56.5
Savard, Marc		C	58	176	87	89	49.4
York, Mike		C	16	111	53	58	47.7
Brylin, Sergei		LW	64	72	30	42	41.7
Recchi, Mark		RW	82	88	44	44	50.0
Demitra, Pavol		LW	71	20	8	12	40.0
Briere, Daniel		RW	35	58	28	30	48.3
Whitney, Ray		LW	81	66	32	34	48.5
Vasiljevs, Herbert	RW	7	13	6	7	46.2
Kapanen, Niko		C	6	12	3	9	25.0
Tuomainen, Marko	RW	31	4	1	3	25.0
St. Louis, Martin	RW	73	4	0	4	0.0
Hossa, Marian		LW	45	4	2	2	50.0
Kariya, Steve		LW	30	2	1	1	50.0
Total				82	5382	2984	2398	55.4

Playoffs, First Round

The Los Angeles Kings push the Westerns to the limit in the first round of the playoffs, but the Canadian club takes a one-goal victory in Game 7 to advance (2-3, 4-6, 2-1, 4-2, 1-2, 5-2, 2-1).

Playoffs, Second Round

The Westerns, who were second overall in the regular season, have the misfortune of meeting the team that finished first overall, in just the second round. Due to division winners being ranked artificially high, Saskatoon (who were second in their division) has to face Detroit, and takes them to six games but falls to the Red Wings 3-6, 3-4, 0-2, 3-0, 5-1, 1-2.

Saskatoon Westerns Season Results Through 1999-00

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
Total		1264	700	418	146	5073	3874	1549	.612

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