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12-21-2011, 10:59 PM
  #16
Evgeny Oliker
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thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
That's fair. The way I see it as a Predators fan is that, while defensemen with top four potential may be harder to find, Nashville does not seem to have much trouble in that regard. Drafting offensively creative forwards has been an issue. For that reason, I would still argue Craig Smith is Nashville's top prospect. He is a piece that has been missing while Blum, Ellis, and Josi are not necessarily those pieces (but very good prospects in their own right).

Blum looked great in his first handful of regular season games and pretty good in the play offs. Of course, that was on a much more defensively responsible team with Rinne playing absolutely lights out. This year the team has not been the defensive team it has been in years past, and Blum's inexperience has shone through because of it. The same can be said for Josi, though his is a smaller sample size.

Ellis may have more upside, but I also think he has a much more difficult path to reaching that upside. His size is going to continue to be a concern. If he cannot find a way to be effective against bigger players then he will not be an effective top 4 defenseman. Rather, he will be used much like Franson was -- bottom pairing defenseman who specializes on the PP (of course, I think his offensive upside is faaaar better than Franson's).

Anyway, I appreciate the work. I know it must be tough to put together lists of prospects for every team, and you are right in saying there will always be disagreements. The sheer amount of effort involved is likely why these ratings come across as flawed.
Those are very valid points.

I do agree that Nashville's strong suit as of late has been drafting great defensemen like Weber and Suter (they do pretty well with goalies too of course). However, it is also hard to predict what the future will hold. Let's say they are unable to re-sign one of Weber or Suter in the off-season. Then developing a few more top 4 defensemen sooner rather than later does become more important.

If you take a look at ice times, Weber and Suter average over 26 minutes per game. The next defenseman in ice time is Klein, with a 6 minute drop off to just 20 minutes per game. The next defenseman in ice time is Bouillon at 19 minutes. However, he is 36 years of age and a free agent to be in the off-season. So lets say for next season you take out Bouillon and one of Weber or Suter. That leaves you with the need for 2 top 4 defensemen to fill 45 minutes! Then developing one or two of Blum, Ellis or Josi to pick up those minutes becomes very critical.

So while I did try to take into consideration the Predators lack of highly talented forward prospects, I still feel the performance and upside of the prospects is more critical than just current team needs.

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