Friday, August 06, 2010

2010 UFHL Farm Ranking: #1 - #9

UFHL Summer 2010 1-9 Farm Ranking

1st - Dallas Stars - GM: John
Top 5 farm players: Taylor Hall (F), John Tavares (F), Tyler Seguin (F), Jordan Eberle (F), Jacob Markstrom (G)

Strength: Dallas possessing Hall, Tavares, and Seguin, Yikes. While most teams would be happy to have just one of those bluechip forwards, Dallas also boasts arguably the top goalie prospect in the world in Jacob Markstrom. To top that, the Stars have several more highly regarded forwards in the pipeline. Jordan Eberle's heroic in the last two WJC’s, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, put up good numbers in Sweden and will be playing in North America this year. Lars Eller also had a successful AHL debut in 2009-10 and will be looking to become a full time NHLer this fall.

Weakness: If it is possible to have a downside to having all of those tremendous forwards, Dallas doesn't quite have a bluechip defenseman by comparison. Jared Cowen may crack the NHL as soon as this year, but projects to be a solid stay at home defenseman which might not translate to a ton of points. Brian Lee has been on the cusp for a couple seasons but might actually get leapfrogged by Cowen for a permanent spot. After completing four years at the University of Michigan, Chris Summers turned pro late last season. While he put up modest numbers as a Wolverine, Summers has some long-term offensive

Analysis: It might not take long before many of these prospects graduate and Dallas becomes a formidable force in the league. 2010-11 will maybe be the last rebuilding year for the Stars, but they could find themselves in a calculated draft position next year to add yet another promising prospect.

2nd - San Jose Sharks - GM: Shveik
Top 5 farm players: Tyler Myers (D), Nazem Kadri (F), Vlad Tarasenko(F), Cody Hodgson(F), Brendan Smith (D)
Strength: The forwards are a definite strength of this team. What makes this Forward group really strong is that most are close to the NHL and all of them have a very realistic shot at making it. Kadri, Tarasenko and Hodgson are the high end Forwards. However, MZA and Rensfeldt could surprise!
Weakness: The clear weakness is Goaltending. San Jose only has 1 goalie prospect in the top 15(Greiss). If Greiss does not pan out as a #1, the team will have to depend solely on Rask. Adding another top goalie prospect would be wise.
Analysis: San Jose has a very deep pool of prospects. We did not even mention the prospects on Defense, who are led by rookie sensation Tyler Myers and one of the best young D prospects out there, Brendan Smith. All San Jose needs is maybe another solid goalie prospect to really make this group shine!

3rd - Florida Panthers - GM: Don
Top 5 farm players: John Carlson (D), James van Riemsdyk (F), Michael Del Zotto (D), Brayden Schenn (F), Alexander Burmistrov (F)

Strength: While lacking a true bluechip prospect, the Panthers have accumulated some depth in their prospect pool. With a defense in shambles entering the 2008 Draft, Florida added two much needed cornerstones in Carlson and Del Zotto. James van Riemsdyk had a moderately successful rookie campaign in 2009-10 and Brayden Schenn may follow suit in 2010-11. The Panthers might have landed a 1st line caliber center in Alexander Burmistrov in this year's Draft as teams were likely scared off by the Russian factor. Florida boasts some secondary forward prospects. Luke Adam, Patrice Cormier, and Tyler Pitlick look like they'll be NHL players, but may be relegated to checking line roles in the big show.

Weakness: Certainly lacking a top tier goalie prospect. Jake Allen will enter the AHL this year but appears as though he'll need at least two full seasons of seasoning. Kevin Poulin was added as a free agent and will also be an AHL rookie this fall. The team added a pair of goalies from the 2010 Draft, but both Scott Wedgewood and Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault are longterm projects.

Analysis: After committing to a rebuild in 2007, the Panthers are gradually reaping the benefits from recent drafts.

4th – Toronto Maple Leafs - GM: Rick
Top 5 farm players: Jamie Benn (F), Colin Wilson (F), Luca Sbisa (D), Tyler Bozak (F), Evgeny Grachev (F)
Strength: A strength of the Leafs current collection of prospects is that there are a number of forwards among them that have a high probability of being NHLers. Benn, Wilson, Bozak, and Stalberg should all graduate. After they are gone, the team should be able to depend on Grachev, Etem, Sheahan, Hayes and Petrov to provide the next wave of prospect depth at forward. At defense, only Sbisa looking like a guaranteed blueliner, though Teubert and Voinov are worth watching.
Weakness: The Leafs are currently carrying five unproven goaltending prospects (Janus, Koskinen, Salak, Scrivens, and Curry). While each has some promise, the Leafs need to gain some clarity on their goaltending situation this year. They are desperate for a goaltender to step forward out of this pack to join Jonas Gustavsson, however none of the goalie prospects on the team are the heir-apparents of their NHL clubs. The team could also use another prominent defense prospect.
Analysis: Overall, the Leafs have a well-balanced farm team that includes players of a number of positions who are respectably ranked on their respective NHL teams’ depth charts.

5th – Anaheim Ducks- GM: Gino
Top 5 farm players: Alex Pietrangelo (D), Dmitry Kulikov (D), Cam Fowler (D), Jakub Kindl (D), Brett Mclean (F).
Strength: Defense is clearly the organizational strength for the Ducks. In addition to having Pietrangelo, Kulikov, Fowler, and Kindl, the team has already graduated Victor Hedman to the pro ranks alongside Braydon Coburn and Marc-Edouard Vlasic who are both on the upsides of their careers.
Weakness: There are no sure-fire NHL forwards in the system. Cody Almond had good junior numbers, and Brett Mclean has been developing in a positive manner, but outside of them there is little to get excited about. The goaltending may be in better shape than the forwards, as Olivier Roy, Cedrick Desjardins and Calvin Pickard offer up some hope. However, are any of these guys close enough to provide relief for the lack of established starters that the team is currently faced with.
Analysis: Anaheim’s relatively high position in this ranking is due entirely upon their strength at defense. Pietrangelo, Kulikov, and Fowler may be stars. The Ducks actually need them to be so that they can think about moving the likes of Coburn, Vlasic, Meszaros, Gorges, or Hainsey to rescue their forward corps which is precariously built on the fragile Patrice Bergeron, the enigmatic Guillame Latendresse, and Corey Perry – the only bonafide star forward on the team.

6 - Minnesota Wild - GM - Ben
Top 5 Prospects: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D), Nikita Filatov (F), Kyle Turris (F), Michal Neuvirth (G), Zach Budish (F)
Strengths: Depth, the Wild have a decent assortment of forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders in their farm that will allow them to continue to climb the UFHL standings, hopefully for years to come. Their top four prospects should see time in the NHL this year, and each one of them should make an impact with the team they play for. Outside of Ekman-Larsson, Filatov, Turris, and Neuvirth there could be up to a half dozen "farm" players that will see time in the NHL this year.
Weakness: Youth, to some people youth shouldn't be a weakness but with seven players that have played more than 400 NHL games the Wild team has a fair amount of players that have yet to establish themselves in the NHL, i.e. Patrick Berglund, and until those players have established themselves the Wild could be in for a rocky time.
Analysis: With continued development of the players on the Wild the team should continue to be a UFHL playoff team, and decent scouting and good drafting and free agent signings the Wild hopefully will continue to have a top 10 farm team in the league.

7th - Buffalo - GM: Randy
Top 5 farm players: Mikael Granlund (F), Jeffrey Skinner (F), Evgeny Kuznetsov (F), Jordan Schroeder (F), Jamie McBain (D)
Strength: elite scoring potential, several probable first line players.
Weakness: goaltending, some D prospects are high risk; size is a concern.
Analysis: Buffalo has invested in small to mid size prospects with elite talent; goaltending and Defence need attention.

8. Washington – GM: Ken
Top 5 farm: Erik Karlsson (D), Ryan Johansen (F), Oscar Moller (F), Mathieu Perreault (F), Andrei Loktionov (F)
Strength: Washington has a plethora of forward prospects that should help round-out up some of the bottom line concerns in the up-coming season. Adding in Karlsson and Johansen to the mix adds potential franchise players to an already deep roster. Majority of the farm is also NHL ready, as more than half play in the AHL.
Weakness: With Fleury and Howard there might not be a need to draft or pick up a goaltender but that would probably be the only pure weakness in Washington’s farm. Adding another stud defensive prospect wouldn’t hurt either.
Analysis: Deep forward pool, very NHL ready defensemen and a lot of grinders and power forwards to compensate the skilled ones, Washington has built a very solid blend of prospects in the farm, while remaining very diverse.

9. Edmonton – GM: Joey
Top 5 Farm: Evander Kane (F), Logan Couture (F), Leland Irving (G), Peter Holland (F), Jacob Josefson (F)
Strength: Plenty of potential top end forwards in Kane, Couture and Holland makes Joe’s farm a very strong one to watch out for. Not to mention adding in the likes of highly skilled Josefson, Tatar and Straka, Joey has decided to build from the forwards back so to speak.
Weakness: Not much to look at in terms of defensive prospects with high end potential. Another potential weakness is that if Irving doesn’t develop as expected, it could pose another deep threat/hole for Joe between the pipes.
Analysis: Joe has solidified a very strong forward crop that could rival anyone in the near future and already does rival everyone based on pure potential. The defense outside of McDonagh needs some tinkering and potentially even a goaltender spot. But with all the strong pieces upfront, he could juggle some forwards around for a prized defenseman.