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Left Wing Profiles
In depth look at the prospects
6/19/04 - By James Weise -

1) Alexander Ovechkin – LW – Shoots: R – 6’2” 212 lbs – Moscow Dynamo
2) Andrew Ladd – LW – Shoots: L – 6’2” 200 lbs – Calgary
3) Wojtek Wolski – LW – Shoots: L – 6’3” 200 lbs – Brampton
4) Alexandre Picard – LW – Shoots: L – 6’2” 190 – Lewiston
5) Lauri Korpikoski – LW – Shoots: L – 6’1” 183 lbs – TPS Turku
6) Roman Voloshenko – LW – Shoots: R – 6’1” 189 lbs – Krylja
7) Denis Parshin – LW – Shoots: L – 5’10” 165 lbs – CSKA
8) Adam Berti – LW – Shoots: L – 6’2” 188 lbs – Oshawa
9) Bryan Bickell – LW – Shoots: L – 6’3” 210 lbs – Ottawa
10) David Booth – LW – Shoots: L – 6’1” 212 lbs – Michigan State

Is there anything that hasn’t already been said about Alexandre Ovechkin heading into the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Not only is Alexander the best LW in the draft, he’s the best player in the draft. He’s also expected to be the next great franchise player that enters the NHL. Scouts have been drooling over the kid who’s been described as “Kovalchuk with defensive ability”. Although, the Kovalchuk comparison may not be as close as a comparison to say Jarome Iginla.

Andrew Ladd is the highest rated North American skater according to the NHL’s Central Scouting. Andrew has a nice all around game that mixes size, skill, leadership, and work ethic. It would be surprising if Ladd’s name wasn’t one of the first ten called at the draft.

Wojtek Wolski is a bit of a puzzle. The Polish born and Toronto bred LW for the Brampton Battalion has a nice mix of size and skill. But, questions about Wolski’s toughness and drive have cropped up throughout the season. Although, it should be noted that Wolski led the Battalion in scoring this past season without a lot of help. In a league that needs skilled players, Wolski is likely to go in the 1st half of the 1st round.

Alexandre Picard’s motor hasn’t been questioned. He had a big year playing for the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. Picard is also known as a clutch goalscorer and a guy who is a terror in the offensive zone. His defensive abilities have been questioned by some, but he does appear to be hard working and coachable. He’s another guy that should be a mid-1st round pick this year.

Lauri Korpikoski is a player with a lot of natural offensive abilities. He is a strong skater that also has a nice mix of scoring touch and playmaking ability to boot. Korpikoski could be a boost to any team’s PP down the line and could develop into a solid 1st line player. His draft stock is on the rise and he could leapfrog Picard and Wolski to become the 3rd LW taken in the draft.

Roman Voloshenko is sniper being imported from Russia. He may not be the fastest skater in the draft, but he is a consistent scoring threat almost from the time he steps onto the ice. He’s a player that very well could turn into a value pick in the late 1st round.

Speaking of skilled Russian wingers, next up is Denis Parshin. At 5’10” 165 lbs, Parshin won’t scare anyone physically. But, he will scare people once the puck is on his stick. He’s a puckhandling wizard who’s fun to watch. The only problem is that he can be taken out of the play physically. But, you’d have to catch him first. There are also some questions about whether Parshin got his paperwork in on time or not. If he did, he could see the size issue cause his stock to drop on draft day. And if he does, he could become a value pick in the 2nd round should the NHL move to open up the game and return it to more a skills contest as opposed to the mucking and grinding affair that the NHL has become of late.

Adam Berti lost most of his 2002-03 season to a knee injury. And he had an up and down year this season for the Oshawa Generals. He’s got the size to be a power forward. The question is whether he’ll live up to his potential down the road or not. Berti should fall into the 2nd round and be a boom or bust guy.

Bryan Bickell has the size and strength to be a solid NHL player. It’s his hands and desire that have scouts wondering just how good he’ll be. Can dominate physically when he feels like it. The problem is that he doesn’t feel like it often enough. He’s likely to go in the 2nd round and be a guy that needs a hard driving coach ala Mike Keenan to get him to play to his potential.

David Booth made the decision not to opt into the 2003 Draft and that may cost him. He’s another big strong kid who’s still trying to develop into a “power forward”. Any team that will take Booth will know that he’s a work in progress. But given that he’s currently at Michigan State, a decision won’t need to be made right now as to whether he’ll be a player or not. He’s not gifted offensively, but could develop into a big, tough role player down the road and he should be a solid 2nd round pick.

Best of the rest:
Martin Karsums doesn’t have a big body, but he does have a big heart. Would be a solid late 2nd pick for a team that can look past his size.

Some other checking type LWs in this draft are Karel Hromas from the Czech Republic, Dane Byers of the Prince Albert Raiders, Shawn Weller of the Capital District Selects who will be headed to Clarkson University, and Mark Tobin of the Rimouski Oceanic.

Some of the more offensive minded prospects in this LW class are Sergei Shirokov from Russia, Kris Chucko of Salmon Arm who will be headed to the University of Minnesota, Roman Psurny from the Czech Republic, and Robbie Earl of the University of Wisconsin.

Michele Goulet’s son Vincent is a late round LW prospect that played his Jr A hockey in that noted hotbed of Texas. Vincent wasn’t the only son of a former NHLer on the Texas Tornado this past season. But we’ll leave you in suspense as to who that was…….

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