Thread: Prospect Info: 2009 Top 25 Prospects - Redux
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02-25-2010, 04:42 PM
  #21
Dice on Ice
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I have seen a lot of these guys, so I figured I'd chip in my own opinion.

Factors for my rankings:

Potential - Where a guy's ceiling is down the road.
Development Arc - Has the player been improving, stagnating, or regressing?
Proximity to the NHL - How close the player is to making the show.
Health - Ability to stay on the ice.
Intangibles - Captaincy/leadership, nasty streak, etc.

Without further ado...

Discounted: John Tavares, Andy MacDonald, Jack Hillen --> too many games in the NHL

1. Travis Hamonic - D, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL - He's back from the shoulder injury he suffered on a cheap shot in the WJC. A big, nasty defenseman who is positionally sound, quick on his skates, and unafraid to unleash a hellish slapshot. Excellent on both the PP and PK. Ceiling: Top pairing defenseman... Floor: Mid pairing defenseman.

2. Kirill Petrov - W, Ak Bars Kazan, KHL - Ignore the idea that he's not getting any burn in Russia. He had an excellent WJC for a crap Russian team, and if he comes stateside, he's going to be a real keeper. His combination of size, speed, and hands just can't be ignored. By far the Isles prospect with the highest ceiling. Ceiling: Top line power forward... Floor: Second line forward, though there's a possibility he never makes it to America.

3. Calvin de Haan - D, Oshawa Generals, OHL - Out for the year with a shoulder injury. Before that, he was the headliner for a poor Oshawa team that no longer had Michael Del Zotto or John Tavares. He made Canada's WJC squad as its youngest defenseman, and his impressive showing there increased his stock. He gets by on his excellent hockey smarts and skating, but he needs to fill out and develop a bona fide slapshot.Ceiling: Top pairing defenseman... Floor: Will not make the NHL if he doesn't fill out.

4. Matt Martin - W, New York Islanders, NHL - In his few games with the big club, he showed an aptitude for hitting everything, parking himself in front of the net, dropping the gloves when necessary, and jump-starting the offense. He shows surprisingly decent playmaking skills and a deceptively good wrist shot. He'll need power skating lessons, but if Tim Jackman can do it, anyone can. Ceiling: Effective second line all-around bruiser... Floor: Fourth line grinder.

5. Jesse Joensuu - W, New York Islanders, NHL - The Finnish guy is big and talented, plus he's been steadily improving each year. He shows great defensive responsibility, a willingness to bang in the corners, and a nice nose for the front of the net. His instincts in the crease are still pretty raw, but you see the potential here and there. Could break through and stick as a nice replacement for Trent Hunter, just without the nice slapshot. Ceiling: Complementary second line/third line tweener... Floor: Back to the Euro Leagues.

6. Matt Donovan - D, Denver Pioneers, NCAA - Quickly proving to everyone that in spite of his fourth round pedigree, he's the real deal. More than held his own on a pairing with Cam Fowler when he won gold with the USA team at this past WJC. Great instincts for being so young. Worked his way to the top pairing wherever he's been so far, and he's only a freshman at DU. Smooth skater, good shot, great vision, nice positioning. Needs to get nastier to complete the package, but you should start getting excited about him. Ceiling: Top pairing defenseman... Floor: Bottom pairing defenseman.

7. Mikko Koskinen - G, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL - Only played a little for the Bridge before he went down with a hip injury, but his numbers don't lie: he was seeing success. It was a risk to take him at the top of the second round last year, and it's hard to say where he's headed, but this should no doubt be very interesting to watch. Gains this ranking because he's already playing pro hockey and because he could turn out to be a nice find on physical attributes alone. Ceiling: Too tough to tell... Floor: Backup goalie.

8. Dustin Kohn - D, New York Islanders, NHL - He's showed that he can hold his own in the NHL. Doesn't bring a whole lot to the table, but doesn't take anything away. Big, but not really nasty. Quick, but doesn't have blinding speed. Not a positional expert, but certainly not a pylon. Shows a nice affinity for offense, but nothing special. His value is that he's shown he can come through in a pinch on the NHL level, and perhaps establish himself as a half-decent option on the bottom pairing. Ceiling: Bottom pairing defenseman... Floor: Career AHLer.

9. Mark Katic - D, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL - He's got blinding speed and he's quarterbacking Bridgeport's PP, which says something. However, he's also going to have to overcome size issues. The Islanders have a glut of this type of defenseman in the organization, and he'll have to do something do distinguish himself from Hillen, MacDonald, de Haan, Ness, and Spurgeon. He's out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury. Ceiling: Mid pairing defenseman... Floor: Never sees the NHL.

10. Kevin Poulin - G, Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL - The scouting report on him is that he has stretches of dominating play followed by episodes that just make you shrug your shoulders. He showed elements of this in both prospect camp and the preseason, but when he's on, there's no doubt that he can make all the stops. Brings good size and athleticism to the table. Recently, Patrick Roy called him the best goalie in the QMJHL, though he's an over-ager. Ceiling: Solid NHL goalie and respectable first option... Floor: Inconsistent journeyman.

11. Jason Gregoire - W, North Dakota Fighting Sioux, NCAA - Not very present on everyone's radar, but he is carrying North Dakota almost singlehandedly. A leader, willing to bang and claw for the puck, great hockey sense, plays in all situations, decent speed, wicked hands. Great at picking and choosing his spots. A real sleeper, he's only a sophomore and is already one of the better players in all of college hockey. Ceiling: Heady second liner... Floor: Third line complementary player.

12. Aaron Ness - D, Minnesota Golden Gophers, NCAA - Though his numbers are unspectacular, he's not lacking in the skills department. The best skater of all Islanders prospects, and it's not particularly close. He is gifted offensively and pretty good on defense, but his lack of bulk really holds him back. He's stuck in a terrible Minnesota program, and it'll be interesting to see what the Isles will do with him after the Okposo episode. Ceiling: Mid pairing defenseman... Floor: Never sees the NHL.

13. Rhett Rakhshani - W, Denver Pioneers, NCAA - He's the front runner for the Hobey Baker, and he's trying to lead Denver to a national championship. He brings excellent intangibles and hockey sense, particularly on the PK, where he is a wizard. He's smart on offense, but doesn't have the hands or vision to be a mainstay on a top NHL power play unit. He's willing to get his nose dirty, but he doesn't have the size or speed to really distinguish himself from the pack. Everything about his journey to the NHL will be grit, heart, and hustle. If he ever makes it, he's a championship player in whatever role he plays. Ceiling: He's a longshot for the second line someday... Floor: Career AHLer.

14. Anton Klementyev - D, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL - Understandably written off sometimes because of his fifth round pedigree, but Klementyev put up a decent showing in the WJC and displayed his knowledge of the North American game since coming over. He knows the importance of the area in front of the net, and he does his best to defend it. Don't expect any offensive output from him whatsoever. This season and the next one are both purely developmental for him. One of those guys, like Martinek and MacDonald, that you figure the Isles kept in their back pocket on Draft Day. Ceiling: Bottom pairing defenseman... Floor: Back to Russia.

15. Casey Cizikas - C, Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors, OHL - Given a top-fifteen grade by some outlets before his unfortunate incident, the Isles scooped him up, and Cizikas is rewarding them richly. Every indication is that the past is behind him. Leads his team in points and +/-, which is saying something because they're battling for third place in the OHL. I haven't seen him play, but he looks to be a real keeper. Ceiling: Effective center behind Tavares and Bailey... Floor: Pure grinder.

16. David Ullstrom - C/W, HV71, SEL - Gets this spot because of what I've seen from him in prospect camp and on highlight films, and that's about it. Plays both center and wing, but supposedly projects as a wing. Big, mobile, and supposedly has some nice hands. Playing for one of the SEL's top teams at a pretty young age. Ceiling: Can't tell... Floor: Can't tell.

17. Anders Lee - C, Green Bay Gamblers, USHL - Looked pretty good in prospect camp, and little did we know that he would lead the USHL in goals, notch top five in +/-, and serve as the star attraction for the USHL's top team. While he battles for MVP honors there, the Isles can pat themselves on the back for taking the risk that he might choose D1 football over hockey. This one seems to be paying off handsomely so far. Headed to Notre Dame next year. Ceiling: Can't round anything out for him just yet... Floor: Too early to tell.

18. Blake Kessel - D, New Hampshire Wildcats, NCAA - Looked good last year when I saw him, but I haven't yet seen him this year, and he's putting up spectacular numbers so far. At one point, he led all college hockey defensemen in points. He's a rock in his own end, he's got an NHL body, and he seems to have the offensive aptitude. I'll tell you more as I watch him further. Ceiling: Mid pairing defenseman... Floor: Never sees the NHL.

19. Anders Nilsson - G, Lulea, SEL - In the WJC, he backed up Florida Panthers wunderkind Jakob Markstrom. He's not nearly on Markstrom's level, but he has a behemoth frame. His lateral movement is a little slow and his catching glove needs some work, but he was drafted as a raw project anyway. Time will tell. Ceiling: Too early to tell... Floor: Never brought stateside.

20. Corey Trivino - C, Boston University Terriers, NCAA - Jack Parker has a lot of praise for him for good reason. He's a good skater, he's extremely responsible defensively, and he holds his own in the offensive end. He's apparently a good leader as well. His numbers this year were unimpressive, and he's out for the year with a broken leg. However, as a sophomore, it's too early to write him off. Ceiling: Checking line center... Floor: Never signed by the Islanders.

21. Shane Sims - D, Ohio State Buckeyes, NCAA - The guy that nobody talks about because he doesn't have sick numbers and isn't part of a powerhouse program. Here's the lowdown: he boasts an NHL body, he skates pretty well, he's got nice positioning, he quarterbacks his team's PP with a boomstick of a slapshot, and his wrist shot is surprisingly accurate. He makes nice rushes up ice and is slowly perfecting the art of the tape-to-tape pass. He's a junior and will play out his college eligibility, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Isles try to fit him into the equation. Ceiling: Mid pairing defenseman... Floor: Never signed by the Islanders.

22. Stefan Ridderwall - G, Djurgardens, SEL - Never seen him play, but he gets this spot because of how well he's doing while splitting time in the SEL. Who knows if the Islanders will bring him over. Ceiling: Can't tell... Floor: Never brought over.

23. Jyri Niemi - D, Saskatoon Blades, WHL - A lot of people were excited about him when Draft Day came, considering he had an early second-round pedigree and dropped to the third. When the WJC rolled around, we saw there was a reason for that. He gets credit for captaining his team, but he had several lapses in his own end, couldn't orchestrate the offense when it mattered, and failed to make an impact when he was put against the opposition's best. He has an NHL body (that he uses only sporadically) and a 100-mph slapshot, but he badly needs to put it all together if he wants to get signed, and he needs to do it quickly. Ceiling: Bottom pairing defenseman... Floor: Never signed by the Islanders.

24. Trevor Smith - C/W, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL - He was OK when he was up here last year, but it's hard to tell if he's still in the Islanders' plans. His underwhelming season at Bridgeport may be due to a lack of playmakers, but he has to pick it up somehow if he wants another shot at the show. Ceiling: Could be a decent scorer for the bottom six... Floor: Career AHLer.

25. Justin DiBenedetto - W, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL - After a blistering over-age season in Sarnia, DiBenedetto is having a hard time adjusting to the AHL. He has time to put it together, but reports are that he's floating, which will get him nowhere. Ceiling: Haven't seen enough of him to know... Floor: Career AHLer.

Honorable Mention: Robin Figren (talented but seems to have lost his way), Tomas Marcinko (could work out as a nice fourth line player), David Toews (must overcome size issues if he wants to carve out a role on the big club someday), Jared Spurgeon (excellent numbers but is REALLY SMALL), Brian Day (doing nicely in college but his game may not translate)

Overall: The system gets a little underrated, but it's more potential-based than anything. A lot of depth, though, which is good. I think the scouting staff has done well these last three or four drafts, which is encouraging. A fair amount of sleepers.


Last edited by Dice on Ice: 02-25-2010 at 06:07 PM.
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