Monday, March 07, 2005

Prospects, Prospects, Prospects

Well, I did the Draft outlook a week ago and with The Hockey News putting out their top-50 Prospects and Organizational rankings. That kind of re-sparked my interest in doing something like that. So, I've decided to give the "Scotty Wazz Top Three" of prospects. I will give my top three teams with my top three prospects and then go from there. So without any further ado:

1. Atlanta Thrashers: Here is a team who you bet was destined for some kind of greatness. Sure they haven't had the best go about things, but they have been able to build up a powerful amount of prospects on the farm and in the junior system to help mature the next of their flock. So now, the top three Thrashers:
  • Kari Lehtonen: Are you surprised?? In the past few seasons, Lehtonen has adjusted well tot he ups and downs of the North American pro game. There was little doubt when he came over from Finland that he would be the real deal. However, the problem when he was drafted was whether or not he would be lost in the Thrashers vast amount of goaltending at the time. Obviously, he proved he wouldn't be the runt of the litter.
  • Braydon Coburn: Here's the next big leader of the team. He can score, he can hit, he can all around play the game. His development in Lethbridge has been second to none and he will be able to show the NHL that he is the real deal in the long run.
  • Jim Slater: Slater is an old soul in the prospect list, but he will be an essential part of the Thrashers to come. He is gritty guy who will play on the checking line, but he would be able to chalk up 20 goal season if he gets the chance to.
2. Buffalo Sabres: Now say what you will about the history of the Sabres, but they have a variable farm of studs in their system. The future looks bright with stable ownership and amazing players coming up through the ranks. The Sabres have to be careful not to fall into the trap of instant success in trying to get a big name player by giving up some of their prospects because it'll turn out for the worse rather than for the better.
  • Ryan Miller: You know this kid comes from good stock and it shouldn't be a shock to see him in the lead. He has played amazingly for the Rochester Americans in the AHL and should make a run for the #1 job in the NHL when they get back to playing and my bet is that he could get the job outright.
  • Clarke MacArthur: An unknown for a long time, finally got out into the open in the WJC. MacArthur is a scrapper and will not be afraid to get into the face of anyone. He has the scoring touch without losing any of his "mucking-and-grinding" persona that he had when he came into the "Hat" a few years back.
  • Thomas Vanek: He's a 21 year old leading his team in scoring in the AHL. He has been a vocal part on the ice and one of the reasons why the Rochester Americans are doing so well this season in the AHL. He's shown he is the real deal and will put that to the test as he will be playing in the World Championships for Austria and try to show his talent on a world scale.
3. Washington Capitals: This was a tough choice whether I would include them here or in my worse list. Based on talent alone, they belong on my best list. However, ever since David Poile left, the player management has gone down the crapper. George McPhee hasn't done anything to warrant any kind of party or kinds words. He took a once proud, consistantly-in-the-playoffs Capitals and turned them into a crapshoot year after year.
  • Alexander Ovechkin: Whether the Caps can get him over is another story, but in the grand scheme of things, he is the all-around player. His numbers may not tell the tale (13 goals, 10 assist in 53 games), but that's really high for the stingy European Hockey. HE also showed his toughness by knocking out Sergei Gonchar earlier this year with a hard shoulder.
  • Maxime Ouellet: The prime jewel in the Adam Oates to Philly trade, Ouellet has had a tough time in Portland this season because of the injuries to the defense there. He's a goalie who like the consistant game play, and he hasn't been able to find a good consistant stretch where he could really flaunt his ability to play.
  • Tomas Fleischmann: An acquisition during the Caps' firesale last season from Detroit is a great skater and has great hands. The only downside to his game is his unselfish play. He would rather get the assist than get the goal. However, he needs to realize he could get an assist if he shot the puck and someone got the rebound. Heck, who knows, he could even tickle the twine himself on a shot. He has tremendous upside and just needs to get a handle on the fact that good things happen when you shoot.
There's a lot of teams I could have put there, but here are some honorable mentions:

  • Calgary Flames: Dion Phaneuf is a monster, but the problem is that all the other guys they have are very unproven and need sometime to develop
  • Philadelphia Flyers: They have great young talent, but the problem is they usually sell off their stock for a marquee name.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Though they are are stacked at the top, their depth is lacking. That will turn out to kill them later down the line and could end somewhere outside of the Steel City.
So there you have it. My top three teams their top three players. If you disagree, go ahead and comment and tell me where I went wrong. Next edition will include the Worst Three teams. That'll prove to be a very interesting one to say the least.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

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