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02-28-2006, 07:48 PM
Kevin Wey
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Des Moines
Posts: 1,927
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I don't know...Niskanen isn't an overly flashy player. Mario Scalzo will probably continue to be a better puckmover than Niskanen. Niskanen can move the puck reliably, if that's what you mean.

I guess I see Niskanen as a strong two-way defenseman. Scott Sandelin told me early in the season that many UMD fans were disappointed in Niskanen, they expected more flash because of the hype and his draft position, but that's not Niskanen's game. Niskanen may have scored a lot of points in Minnesota High School, but so do a number of players who move to the USHL and are just average players there.

I guess I'm personally expecting Niskanen to become more like Jordan Leopold, maybe not so much this season in particular, but in comparing him to successful WCHA defensemen.

Grossman: I don't think he'll be NHL worthy full-time next season. He may see some emergency action. I'd like to see him become more consistent in his offensive game. Not that he'll ever be an offensive defenseman, but seeing his potential from time to time, I'd like to see him develop that possibility to his game. Needs to improve his backwards acceleration a bit, but overall I'm pretty impressed Grossman. I think any NHL organization would be happy to have him as a prospect.

Fransson: I hope he comes to North America. He needs to continue to develop his offensive game and be another puckmoving defenseman for Iowa next season, along with Scalzo and maybe Patrick Traverse again. As far as defensive defensemen, they will have Grossman and Fistric, and maybe Jancevski again. Then there's Shawn Belle, who's looking better and better, and the possibility of Matt Nickerson!!!

I think Belle needs to realize he's not going to be an offensive defenseman in the AHL or the NHL. However, he's been playing more physical recently, playing his angles better when standing people up. Belle has so much power in his game. He can really contribute by being a punishing defenseman, it doesn't have to be on the scoresheet. He really likes joining the play low and crashes the net harder than most forwards. He has a pretty hard shot...

Don't forget Mario Scalzo...he's extremely skilled and is improving his defensive game.

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