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Where are they now?
Sunday, 18 July 2004
Jeff Ware
The 1990s were not the best drafting decade for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They had chances to make good picks, including in 1995 when they had the 15th overall pick. The Leafs drafted defenseman Jeff Ware from the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The promising defensive defenseman got an early taste of NHL play appearing in 13 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1996-97 regular season. He spent the next full year with the Leafs' AHL affiliate in St John's and only managed to appear on 2 more games as a Leaf. In 1998-99 he appeared in 6 games for the Florida Panthers before spending the rest of the year in the minors. He spent the last two documented years of professional hockey playing in the AHL for the Columbus Blue Jackets minor league team, the Syracuse Crunch.

Posted by hplayerz at 2:51 PM EDT
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Curtis Bowen
Curtis Bowen was born March 24 1974 in Kenora, Ontario. He played his junior hockey with the Ottawa 67's of the OHL and was drafted in the first round, 22nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1992. Bowen was a left-winger and began his pro career with the Adirondack Red Wings in the AHL. He spent 1995-96 with the Canadian National team and then went back and forth with Adirondack and the Canadian program. By 1998 he was out west playing for the Manitoba Moose of the IHL with NHL prospects looking dimmer by the day. The following season he moved to England, playing hockey for the Nottingham Panthers, Manchester Storm and Belfast Giants. He played the 2003-04 season with the Belfast Giants of the EIHL.

Posted by hplayerz at 2:42 PM EDT
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Thursday, 15 July 2004
Jason Cirone
Jason Cirone played his minor league hockey for the Cornwall Royals of the OHL and was drafted in the 3rd round, 46th overall in 1988 by the Winnipeg Jets. He began his pro career with the Moncton Hawks and got his shot in the NHL playing 3 games for the Jets in the 1991-92 season. After that short stint, he went through a bunch of teams in the minors, playing in the AHL, IHL, ECHL and WCHL. He even played two years in the RHI roller hockey league for the team based out of Buffalo. He started playing in Europe in 2000 and has spent the last three seasons playing for the Asiago HC of the Italian league.

Posted by hplayerz at 9:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004 9:11 PM EDT
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Monday, 12 July 2004
Brian Sakic
It is not very often that hockey families thrive in the NHL; the Sutters come to mind but examples are few and far between. As the Quebec Nordiques had a budding superstar in Joe Sakic, his younger brother Brian Sakic was tearing it up in the WHL. After playing two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, he really came into his own with the Tri-City Americans. In his last three years of junior he put up a phenominal 152, 168, and 128 points. Sakic was drafted in the 5th round, 93rd overall, of the 1990 entry draft by the Washington Capitals. After finishing his junior career, Sakic went straight to the East Coast Hockey League and played with the Erie Panthers. He had a couple of stints in the CoHL, WPHL, and UHL. The younger Sakic wasn't able to crack an NHL lineup and retired from professional hockey in 1999.

Posted by hplayerz at 9:40 PM EDT
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Saturday, 10 July 2004
Niklas Sundblad
The early 1990s a huge onslaught of European hockey players move to the NHL. Though Swedes were no strangers to the NHL, they joined the Russians, Czechs, Finns and other Eastern European players. In the first round of the 1992 entry draft, the Calgary Flames selected a Swedish right winger Niklas Sundblad as the #19 pick overall. Sundblad was a highly regarded prospect and began playing with the St John Flames in 1993. After three seasons in the AHL, he got his chance to play in the NHL with the Flames. He only played 2 games in the 1995-96 season and did not record any points. The next seaon he moved back to Europe and played for TPS Turku in the Finnish league, followed by seasons in the Swedish and German leagues. He played the 2003-04 season with Malmo IF of the Swedish Elite League.

Posted by hplayerz at 11:21 AM EDT
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Brent Bilodeau
Brent Bilodeau was drafted in the first round, 17th overall in 1992. The Montreal Canadiens were looking for a big tough defenseman and this 6"4' specimen fit the bill. Bilodeau was drafted from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL and had racked up his fair share of penalty minutes. He moved from junior to professional hockey in 1993-94, playing the next two seasons with the Fredicton Canadiens. He did not get a chance to move up to the big club in Montreal and from that point began his journey through the minor leagues. He played for numerous teams in the AHL, IHL, WCHL and ECHL. He spent the last three seasons with the Johnstown Chiefs of the East Coast Hockey League and has yet to play a game in the NHL.

Posted by hplayerz at 11:12 AM EDT
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Jason Muzzati
Jason Muzzati was a standout goalie with the Michigan State University Spartans of the NCAA. He was drafted in the first round, #21 overall of the 1988 NHL entry draft by the Calgary Flames. Muzzati played 3 years of NCAA hockey and then moved to the minors for some seasoning and also played a year with the Canadian National Team. He got is break in 1993-94 with the Flames, playing one game. He would only play a total of two games with the Flames before being claimed on waivers by the Hartford Whalers (since known as the Carolina Hurricanes). He spent two seasons in Hartford followed by short stints with the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks.

After hanging around in the North American minor league system for almost a decade, Muzzati moved his trade to Europe in 1998-99. He played the 2003-04 season with Milan in the Italian league.

Posted by hplayerz at 10:57 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004 11:32 AM EDT
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Steve Bancroft
The year was 1989 and the Toronto Maple Leafs had three picks in the first round of the NHL amateur entry draft. They selected all three players from an OHL street about 2 hours east of Toronto, the Belleville Bulls. Aside from all the jokes about only having a "limited" travel budget for their scouts, the Leafs were obviously big fans of Scot Thornton, Rob Pearson and Steve Bancroft. Thornton has had a good NHL career, Pearson had a few productive years but Bancroft has gotten lost in the subsequent years.

Steve Bancroft was a big defenseman who played three years of OHL hockey with the Bulls. He then went on to play with various teams in the AHL and IHL. He would never play a game with the Maple Leafs, eventually landing in the NHL for a single game stint with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1991-92. His journey from there took him through numerous hockey organizations playing in the AHL and IHL. He got another shot at the NHL in 2001-02 with the San Jose Sharks, playing 5 games and tallying up 1 assist. After that he went back to the AHL, playing the 2003-04 season with Ottawa's minor league affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.

Posted by hplayerz at 10:48 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004 11:28 AM EDT
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Sunday, 4 July 2004
Nick Stajduhar
In the first round of the 1993 amatuer entry draft, the Edmonton Oilers hockey club selected a big 6'3" defenseman 16th overall from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Nick Stajduhar was an offensive defenseman who put up 86 points in 52 games during his final year of junior. Nick's professional career saw him playing with the Cape Breton Oilers of the AHL and the Canadian National Team. His NHL stint was limited to 2 games with the Edmonton Oilers and in 1996 he began drifting from one minor league team to the next. He played for several teams in the ECHL, AHL, UHL, CHL, WCHL and IHL; finishing his pro-career in 2000-01 with the Houston Aeros of the IHL.

Posted by hplayerz at 10:53 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004 11:33 AM EDT
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Friday, 2 July 2004
David Cooper
From 1990-93, a highly touted Western Hockey League defenseman was playing his junior hockey for the Medicine Hat Tigers. David Cooper was a big, mobile, puck carrying defenseman who could score and in Alberta, comparisons were already being made between him and some other great defenseman who had played for the Oilers. But during his draft year of 1992, he fell to the 11th pick in the first round and was taken by the Buffalo Sabres. Cooper never played an NHL game for the Sabres but instead spent the next few years with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

In 1996 he signed with the St John's Maple Leafs and had a couple of very short stints totaling 30 games with the big club in Toronto. He began playing in Europe in 2001 and even spent a year playing in Russia. His last known stop was this season, playing for the Iserlohn Roosters in Germany.

Posted by hplayerz at 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004 11:24 AM EDT
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