Have not heard/found much/many opinions/information on the following players. Any/all info greatly appreciated.
Erkki Rajamaki (while I follow the Blues closely I must admit I barely remember this kid even being drafted...)
1. MacMurchy: I don't have a lot of info on his overall play; I plan to get up to Madison at least once or twice next season and catch him live. I do know that he bulked up from 5-11, 190 as a freshman, to 6-01, 205 as a sophomore. He was also one of the scoring leaders for UW this year.
2. Stempniak: Again, haven't seen the kid live, but I've heard from a couple of people who have that he has good hockey sense, lots of character, and is a very intelligent young man, both on and off the ice.
3. Rajamaki: The reason why you don't rememnber him being drafted by the Blues is because he wasn't drafted by the Blues. He was acquired from Tampa just after New Years' for a late-round pick, in a deal that probably had something to do with the Stillman trade last year on draft day.
He's a 25-year-old (birthdate 10-30-78) LW with good size at 6-02, 205 pounds. He played one year of NCAA Division 1 hockey at Colgate in 1999-2000, and has been in the SM-Liiga in his native Finland almost exclusively since then. Seems to be pretty much a gritty defensive-type player, as he doesn't score a lot of points but does pick up more than his share of PIM's.
You may not know this, but Jarmo Kekalainen was a former ECAC college player, and his connections to that league, and to Finalnd, might have given him some insight on Rajamaki, and had something to do with the acquisition of that player.
His career stats can be found on page 315 of the 2004 NHL Official Guide and Record Book.
There's a link to his stats for this year in the FAQ v.2 thread. I'll see if he has a bio at the Ilves web site, but it'll be in Finnish...
thanks for the feedback, PB. I've seen the bio's of the players at the various sites but I appreciate the links nonetheless. I was hoping to find someone who's seen them play, talked to scouts, etc. but I know that's hard to find.
I recall the Rajamaki transaction now that you mention it.
I've seen both MacMurchy and Stempniak. So here's my observations:
Ryan MacMurchy: He's got the makings of being a good power forward. He'll drive to the net, play in front of net and can dish out as well as take the hits/abuse that goes with the play in front of opposing netminders. Good skater, who has good acceleration. He plays with intensity and works hard. If he can just keep his emotions in better check, he'd actually be alot better than he is now, not that he's a poor player right now. But his emotions have gotten him and/or his team in trouble a couple of times this past season. He's developed quite nicely from the previous season and I don't expect that to change next season (barring any serious injury, academic issues, etc.)
Lee Stempniak: IMO, he is one of NCAA hockey's most underrated players. This is a guy that you'd absolutely would love to have on your team. It's doubtful that he'll ever be a superstar (certainly at the NHL level, but this comment could also apply at the AHL or ECHL levels as well), but he does his job quite well and with little fanfare. He's offensively consistent, possesses a great work ethic and attitude. He's a good skater, sees the ice exceptionally well. As Pussian Blue mentioned, he's a really smart player. He's also an excellent leader who leads by example not to mention the consummate team player. He's not the "rah-rah" type of guy but rather a guy who lets his actions rather than his words speak for him.