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09-04-2011, 03:21 PM
The Czech Condor
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My notes:

1. Great to see Boychuk slide down a bit with the amount of talent that has been infused into the system. A lot of people get caught up in AHL numbers, but the fact remains that Boychuk has gone into camp 3 times with a locker with his name on it and hasn't kept it for more than a few games in any one stretch. We're talking about a prospect who remembers Justin Williams as a Hurricane here. He was already almost a year advanced on his '08 eligible peers and is only about 4 months older than Brandon Sutter. Eyes are slowly opening on Boychuk and I would be lying if I said I didn't feel some kind of vindication in that sentiment despite never, ever, rooting against his success... only observing the lack of progress. Will be first in line to eat crow should the occasion call for it.

2. Danny Biega, despite me being a huge fan of his, got too much of a bump here in my estimation. Alt, Levi, and Lowe all have claims to that territory. Levi in particular being a notable bit lower than he should be in my estimation via giving up about six months in age to the others and being WJC eligible next year with a strong possibility to make the USA squad that traditionally ignores CHL talent.

3. I still like Dumoulin ahead of Faulk, but I can see why Faulk's willingness to come straight out has increased his exposure and profile enough to push him ahead of Dumoulin.... but I still think Carolina values Dumoulin quite a bit. Dumoulin is so much better in his own zone than Faulk that it's ridiculous at this stage and arguably, Dumoulin can handle the puck just as readily. Faulk has a much better shot and better mobility, but Bobby Sanguinetti has them all beaten there. I didn't like a lot of what I saw from Faulk with Charlotte at the end of the season in his own end. I know he's pretty much under age for that level but it was disconcerting to me.

4. Viktor Rask being ranked 5th surprised me a bit, but a positive surprise. I like it when we have a player we aren't afraid to back in regards to ranking them where we feel talent places them. I think a lot of fans that haven't seen anything of Rask are going to be more inclined to agree with that ranking once they see him in the WJC this season playing a pivotal role for Sweden. It's too bad he's not 2 or 3 years more advanced, because he profiles to be exactly what we need at the professional level right now down the middle. Strong two way center with draw skills and more a distributor than scorer. Character issues overblown in my estimation. Hope to see him in the Dub this year and not Charlotte.

5. Unsure how Mattias Lindstrom keeps hanging around the order. One would think he would have needed to show more tangible improvement to beat out a few guys for a spot on the list.

6. The criminally delisted or unranked: Oskar Osala and Justin Krueger. For Osala to go from 8th *?* to unranked in the matter of a year without a major injury or a disappointing season in Charlotte is mystifying to me. The stigma attached to playing a year in the KHL is incredible. I don't find it to be a death sentence. Quite the contrary, I think it's a logical step for a player who struggles with skating to go to a larger surface and improve that facet of his game. It helped Anton Babchuk, in my estimation, round his game into a near Top 4 capacity. As far as Krueger is concerned, he's right up there in regards to players that JR expects to be in the mix to contribute this year from the blueline. Surely there could have been room for both on the list at the exclusion of perhaps Lindstrom and Peters.

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