What’s Next?

There are very few TV series that I follow with any regularity, but one that I did follow from Day 1 until it went off the air after seven seasons was “The West Wing”.  While I am not much into politics, it was an extremely well written show that had intelligent story lines, humor and a tremendous ensemble cast.

I have all seven seasons on DVD and with the lack of decent TV now that the Stanley Cup Finals are over, I have been revisiting the seasons over the past few weeks.

President Bartlet’s character (played by Martin Sheen) has a reoccurring line when he is ready to move on to a new subject – “What’s next?”.

To me, that is basically what I think the front office and management of the Portland Winter Hawks are quietly saying to themselves after the official comment from the WHL after the review of the Winter  Hawks situation.  It is time to move on as an organization.  Move on to what needs to happen to get the team back to a successful situation, both on and off the ice.

This week, one of the “what’s next?” questions will be answered when the Winter Hawks select third overall in CHL Import Draft on Thursday.  I haven’t heard any rumblings about who they will pick as the Import Draft isn’t necessarily an exact science.  A lot of times it has to do with who you know and that usually means dealing with the agents of the players looking to come over.

The name bantered about most is Nikita Filatov who went 6th overall in the NHL Draft on Friday evening to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  He has stated that he will move to North America this season and the Sudbury Wolves, who own the #1 overall pick in the CHL Import Draft have stated publicly that they will take Filatov at that position.  It is a risk as Filatov could make the Blue Jackets roster as an 18 year old, but its a calculated risk.

The other first rounders from the NHL Draft are longer shots – Erik Karlsson (#15 overall to Ottawa) from Sweden is already committed to playing for Frolunda in Sweden this season, Anton Gustafson (#21 overall to Washington) and Mattias Tedenby (#24 overall to New Jersey) are also Swedish born players that would most likely remain in Sweden.  The only other import from the first round is not so much an import as he grew up mainly in California – Viktor Tikhonov (#28 overall to Phoenix).  The grandson of the famous Russian Head Coach during the Red Army days, is a late bloomer (1988 born, making him an overage this season).

There were only four import players taken in the second round as this seemed to be a down year of import picks in the NHL Draft – which counteracts all of the talk I heard last year about last year being a down year for CHL Imports while 2008 would be a good year for CHL Imports.  As like most things, only time will tell.

I do expect that Radim Valchar will be back for the 2008-09 season, meaning the Hawks wouldn’t use their second round selection this year.

As you probably know by now, no current Winter Hawks were selected in the NHL Draft, marking just the second time in team history that they had no players selected.

Patrick Wiercioch, who is on the Hawks college list, was selected #42 overall in the second round by the Ottawa Senators.  Wiercioch has committed to play for the University of Wisconsin.

It was a good first round for OHL and WHL prospects, but you had to feel a bit for the QMJHL who didn’t have a player selected until #34 overall.  By that time, the AJHL, USHL and GHL each had a player selected.

Did you know that Oren Koules – one of the new owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning – once played for Portland?  He appeared in two games in 1979-80 and my Mother still has a team photo from that year with Koules in it.

I’m out for now…


1 Comment

  1. The question is: will an agent be willing to have his client play in Portland after all the shinnanigans as of late???

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