Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Rankings 16-21

21nd Toronto Maple Leafs – 2010 Rank: 4th – Movement (-17)

Top 5 Prospects: Dougie Hamilton (D), Alexander Salak (G), Kirill Petrov (F), Evgeny Grachev (F), Nikita Kucherov (F)

Team Analysis: Probably one of the biggest movements from the past list, Toronto’s pure issue was the graduation of their top 4 prospects from last year’s list. A problem I am sure most of us would love to endure (meaning they made it to the big leagues). The key to Toronto’s farm is the prize of Dougie Hamilton, the total package in terms of defensemen. Salak could become a serviceable backup this coming season if Chicago fails to sign tryout Ray Emery. Add in a few Russian super skilled wingers and the future could become deadly for Toronto up front. Outside of Hamilton, the only other big quality defenseman is Colten Teubert. With only one pick next year, our staff fully believed that Toronto will wheel and deal and gain more picks before next year’s draft. On top of constant scouting, Toronto could very well move back into the top 10 as early as next year’s list.

20th overall Chicago Black Hawks – 2010 Rank: 15th – Movement: (-5)

Top 5 Prospects: Zach Kassian (F), Louis Leblanc (F), Brock Nelson (F), Martin Marincin (D), Nathan Gerbe (F)

Team Analysis: Depth is the key word when describing Chicago. A top ten that heavily boosts forwards could really develop into a dilemma of uncertainty in terms of figuring out who to move and who to keep them. All top forwards outside of Gerbe have strong, powerful games that will make them essential to their respective clubs. The only real concern is the lack of a quality goaltender as there’s really no golden boy between the pipes and with an aging Kiprusoff and uncertainty in Pavelec, there could be concerns. There is also no real prized PP QB unless Marincin continues to show some signs of developing into that role. A lack of more defensive depth and a quality tendy are the only concerns moving forwards. Two first rounder could easily eliminate both concerns.

19th overall Carolina Hurricines – 2010 Rank: 20th – Movement: (+1)

Top 5 Prospects: Derek Stepan (F), Ryan Ellis (D), Linus Omark (F), Justin Faulk (D), Kiril Kabonov (F)

Team Analysis: Ryan Ellis and Derek Stepan could potentially be off this list all together next season. Stepan is a stud forward who’s offensive awareness is top notch as well as his release. Ellis is a tremendously skilled blueliner who will be on the opening day squad if not this season, then next season for sure. Faulk is a kid who might be 2-3 years away but could flourish in the right system and with Carolina always having defensive deficiencies; this could pay big dividends for both him and Carolina. Defense is essentially a strength with the current cast as well as the farm, invcluding the two previously listed as well as Dylan McIrath and Cody Coloubef. Up Front there’s a some skill but nothing high-end outside of Stepan. Kabonov is a roll of the dice and Noesen projects to be more of a second-third liner. A lack of quality goaltending really hurts an already deficient tendy team. Once the goaltending situation is addressed, Carolina might be on the prowl.

18. Phoenix Coyotes - 2010 Ranking: 19th - Movement - (0)

Top 5 prospects: Kevin Shattenkirk (D), Charlie Coyle (F), Robin Lehner (G), Carl Klingberg (F), Ethan Werek (F)

Team Analysis: There is a lot to like about the Phoenix system because it is so well balanced. On defense, Kevin Shattenkirk has the potential to bring stability to the Phoenix blueline. While Charlie Coyle will likely hold on to his amateur status for another season, he is a tremendous fantasy hockey prospect who should end up as a productive top-six forward. Rounding out the top three, Robert Lehner is a highly ranked goalie prospect who is already highly coveted. Through the rest of the farm the Yotes have offensive depth such as Klingberg, Werek, Rakell, and Lucia, as well as some significant other names between the pipes.

17. Edmonton Oilers - 2010 Ranking: 9th - Movement - (-8)

Top 5 prospects: Jacob Josefson (F), Ryan McDonagh (D), Tomas Tatar (F), Jake Gardiner (D), Peter Holland (F)

Team Analysis: It is a testament to the UFHL that Phoenix and Edmonton can rank 18th and 19th in farm depth, however Edmonton's farm in particular could easily make the voters look silly in a few years. Did voters notice that eight of the Oilers prospects are former first rounders, or, because most of them were later in the opening round, did players like Peter Holland, Quinton Howden, and Kevin Hayes slide under the radar? This is an exceptionally promising top dozen prospects, and their biggest fault may be that they are not better known. The fact that the Oilers have successfully compiled such a long list of unsung prospects could mean the phone lines could start to burn up as these 'ugly ducklings' start to develop. Edmonton's goaltending situation is somewhat tenuous. Success at the pro level will require Dubnyk to thrive and for veteran JF Giguere to get adequate games this season.

16. Colorado Avalanche - 2010 Rank: 16th - Movement: (-1)

Top 5 Prospects: Jack Campbell (G), Mark McNeil (F), Thomas Hickey (D), Sami Vatanen (D), Blake Geoffrion (F)

Team Analysis:
After a lot of patience, the Avalanche have a number of goaltenders on the horizon who could help rescue the atrocious starting goaltending situation that has Jason Labarbera (and his back to back 17 game seasons) as their most proven goaltender. Colorado's top prospect is Windsor Spitfire Jack Campbell (Goalie guild ranked 9th), and he is likely two seasons away from NHL action, however Mark Dekanich (Goalie guild ranked 16th) could push Steve Mason for the starting job in Columbus this year. While the goaltending is the strength of the Avs farm, McNeil and Geoffrion, as well as Robak and Percy offer legitimate hope at forward and defense as well. Keep an eye on Geoffrion this year. He had a strong audition last season and could make a big jump.