German goalie may be here for a look-see later this month
Timo Pielmeier Kolner Haie photo
Real Paiement is feeling pretty good about the frequent phone conversations hes had with agents representing Timo Pielmeier, the young German goaltender Paiements St. Johns Fog Devils selected in last weeks Canadian Hockey League import draft.
However, the Devils head coach/GM hopes to be able to do some face-to-face lobbying with Pielmeier, whose presence at the St. Johns training camp next month could have a significant impact on the teams 2007-08 roster inside and outside the crease.
Weve had some good talks with his German agent and his Canadian agent, said Paiement this week. There is an ongoing discussion and I believe there is an opening for us to get Timo over here (to play next season).
Actually, Pielmeier, who turns 18 Saturday, could be in St. Johns later this month, giving Paiement an opportunity to meet the young man he chose 12th overall in the import draft.
Pielmeier, who was drafted by two North American hockey teams in the last 13 days he was a third-round choice of the San Joe Sharks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft will be attending the Sharks rookie camp in San Jose next week and Paiement expects the goalie to make a stopover in St. Johns on one leg of his trip.
It looks like we will have him here for a visit sometime in the next couple of weeks, probably on the way back (from San Jose), said Paiement. Well have him over here for a couple of days to have him meet our people, and show him around our city and our facilities ... show him all we have to offer.
What Paiement can also offer is a legitimate opportunity for Pielmeier to be a workhorse No. 1 goalie on a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
As it stands, veterans Ilia Ejov and Pier-Alexandre Marion are both eligible to return to St. Johns, but both are also overagers. One of Ejov or Marion might be an option if Pielmeier cant be convinced to play here, but if he does agree to come across the pond, there is no way Paiement will use a valuable overage spot on a goalie destined to be a backup. It would be available instead for a forward or defenceman.
There are certainly other quality netminders on the Devils depth chart; the team thinks highly of 2007 midget draft pick Jake Allen and lanky Corner Brooker Bradley Dyke. However, between them, those two own a single game of QMJHL experience (Dyke started a contest for St. Johns last season).
Granted, Pielmeier hasnt played any major junior hockey. But he is coming off two seasons with Cologne in Germanys top junior league, was a member of the German under-18 and under-20 national teams last season, is already in the NHL pipeline and is so highly-thought of in his home country that he has a three-year contract with the German Elite Leagues (DEL) Berlin Eisbaeren in his back pocket.
But the deal with Berlin has a clause which would allow Pielmeier to opt out and play in North America next season rather than in the DEL or with Berlins third-division farm team.
Ive spoken with his agents. Ive spoken with the Sharks and Ive even spoken with Berlin, said Paiement, and I think what everyone is looking at is where he will play the most.
At this point, actually, hes Berlins second goalie, because two of their goalies from last year left for other clubs. But its my understanding (the Eisbaeren) are looking strongly for a No. 1 import goalie.
But even if he is the second goalie (for Berlin), the question is how many games will be there for him?
So I think that is what he is looking at, his agents are looking at , San Jose is looking at and even the Eisbaeren are looking at.
Paiement feels Berlin might see the benefits of having Pielmeier play in St. Johns for a couple of years, suggesting that if the young German decided against playing at the North American pro level when he turned 20, he would still have a year left on his contract with the Eisbaeren and would provide the DEL club with a well-developed netminder.
And I think the new CBA (National Hockey League collective bargaining agreement) which allows NHL teams just two years to sign European players (they drafted) as opposed to having an unlimited amount of time to sign them, works to the advantage of junior clubs, said Paiement.
Fog Devils T.J. Brennan and Jean-Simon Allard (Buffalo) and Mario Kempe (Philadelphia) are heading for or about to head for summer rookie camps with the NHL teams that drafted them two weeks ago. And the Los Angeles Kings, who chose Devils captain and forward Matt Filler in the seventh round, are also ready to start an off-season development session ... Early next month, Brennan and Kempe will be in Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the United States national junior team evaluation camp. Brennan is on the long list for the American 2008 world junior team, while Kempe has similar status with Sweden, which along with Finland, is sending its world junior hopefuls to Lake Placid.