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05-13-2006, 07:48 PM
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Easy thing to say is that it's just way way too early to really see what we got. Due to the lockout in parts, we are just starting to see what we got from the '98 draft, which was almost 8 years ago. Ryder played in his 2nd season and Ribs has had about 3 seasons of experience, with Markov being the veteran of the draft. So as you can see it takes a long time, especially with the Habs due to the way we develop our prospects, slow and steady for the most part.

I would say lets bring this up again in 5 years, should be fun to see how the comments would change.

That said the '01 draft is looking great, '02 was a weak year but Higgins alone is well worth it, '03 is likely not going to be as good as hoped but there's still a lot of potential there. '04 and '05 are the Gainey era drafts and while I personally didn't care for '04 much at all, it's looking very interesting now, much better then I would have thought at the time. On the other hand I felt the '05 draft may have been one of our best drafts I've seen over the last 10 years or so that I closely followed the draft. But time can easily change things, so we'll see what happens.

'00- bust just like '99, '97, '96, '95, '94, etc... Out of all those drafts, we got Theodore which turned to Abby, Garon which turned into Huet/Bonk, Hossa turned into Murray and Balej into Kovalev. There's Ward, Robidas, Asham, Vokoun, etc.. but then didn't return much off each asset.

'01- 3 NHLers, with hopefully a lot more upside in Perezhogin, a steady but upcoming Komisarek and a solid and skilled forward in Plekanec. We are just starting to see what these kids can do, should be interesting to see what they bring to the team over the next couple of years. I don't expect much from the rest of this draft. Milroy and Archer have been an average AHLers, would be great to see them do more, but I'd settle for them being really good AHLers. rest of the picks bust already.

'02- Higgins, Higgins, Higgins. I could see him being the only NHLer out of the 6 picks and come another month we might only have the rights to 3 of the 6. I would be all for seeing a Korneev or Linhart come over, but in a short time from now we will find out if we are going to get any sort of value from these guys. Ferland is a guy I really like but injuries have really hampered his development imo. Still I would not count him out for being an effective 4th liner. Lambert has NHL abilities, speed, skating, shot, size but is too much of a one way player that lacks consistency, effort and intensity at times. If someone could get him going I'd think he could be a very good AHLer but time is running out as he enters his final contract year next season.

'03- It's early and so far it's not setting the league on fire. Everyone knows that Kostitsyn is a huge gamble, boom or bust type. I'm glad they went for it and if he fails I'll still be glad they went for it when I'm watching Higgins, Pleks, Komisarek and others continuing to develop. That said I still have hopes for Kostitsyn. I do not think he has been a big disappointment, he was 2nd on the Dogs in scoring despite being one of the youngest players on the team. That said we are about out of excuses for him. He has the tools, shot, size, strength, skating, speed, passing. He's still very raw and needs a lot of work imo, but there's also a lot to get excited about. Next year we should start to get a better idea of what he can do, but I still think he's a couple years away from putting it all together if at all. He struggles with consistency, intenisty, accuracy, intelligence, effort. That's something we can only hope he can work on and improve. If he does great for us, if not, others will have to step up in his place.

It gets much worse the next pick when it comes to Urquhart. He's got size, offensive skills, but is as soft as they come. He seems to have made some strides this year and I expect him to step it up in the AHL next year but he's got his work cut out for him and other prospects are ready to push him out of the way.

Lapierre I dont see how anyone could not like this guy. He's Begin with more offense hopefully. He works hard, does whatever he can to help the team win, is very aggressive, physical and he continues to get stronger and fill out his frame. NHLer no doubt, in fact I think the Habs will have a hard time sending him to Hamilton. If not for the lack of experience I'd say he would be a lock for the team. Plus he needs to work on his offensive game a bit and must learn to find the line and stay within it cause he would way too often cross the line when it wasn't neccessary, costing his team a penalty. He didn't get over 200 pims by dropping the gloves, which he does do, just saying his mouth gets him into trouble at times but that's also a big part of his game as well.

O'Byrne imo is one guy that could have a major impact on how we look at this draft. I can bet must fans haven't seen a whole lot of him when it comes to your average fan. And there's no telling how much more progressing/developing he's going to do. That said at this point he's almost a lock for the NHL and with our lack of D prospects it helps his cause even more. That said he might be another year away before he even hits the AHL and could be 2-3 years away from looking for an NHL spot. (which is a total guess) He made huge strides this year, he's really improved his defensive play and he's getting a ton of experience as his ice time has skyrocketed to the point where he has seen over 30 minutes in a game. Will he continue to progress, we'll see. Frankly I can bet this is one prospect that could have a big impact with the team down the road if he continues to develop.

Locke I myself was disappointed in but he did lead the Dogs in scoring. He's got the offense skills but needs a lot of work in other areas. Hopefully he works really hard this summer cause the Dogs will need him. His NHL future is really hard to say at this point, I could see him making the NHL but I would think it would be with another team at this point.

Heino I was hoping to see him come over this summer, if he's not signed next summer, we lose him, so we'll see. With Price and Halak he's got his work cut out for him. I really like what I've seen from him but I would also think he's the most raw of the 3, although I have not seen him play in over a year.

Korpikari is another guy I was hoping to see this summer and still hope to see him, although he doesn't need to be signed for another year and this was his first full year in the FNL. I think he could be a solid bottom pairing guy but I think we need to see him in Hamilton to see how he adapts to the NA game. To me he seems like the kind of guy that would not have a problem with the smaller ice. He's big, strong, skates well, takes the body, just lacks the offense from what I've seen. Still got a lot of hope for him.

Bonneau has come a long way from his draft year but sadly he still has a long ways to go. I could see him being an effective AHLer with another season or two hopefully.

Halak has really surprised me as one of our better prospects. I felt Heino was the more skilled from what I saw at the prospects camp but Halak stepped into a struggled ECHL team and went on to be the top goalie in the ECHL in terms of gaa and save %, then steps into the AHL and not only does he play well but he makes the team have some tough decisions in regards to their netminding, and the other goalie was the co mvp of the AHL All star game. I really don't know what his upside is, but for me he's really put himself on the map and has shown he was one of our better prospects.

'04- just too early to say. Chipchura looked good in the little I saw of him in Hamilton. But it gives me a lot of hope for him to be a big part of the Dogs next season. The more I see him, the more I like him. Plus he's a really great kid from the chance I got to interview him.

Emelin has burst on the scene and made a huge name for himself as one of Russia's top young defensemen. We'll see what happens with him in the near future, but getting him over would be a great step.

Grabovsky is right there as well. He's small, Locke small so some will discount him right off the bat. But he's fast as any prospect we have and he imo should easily have the best acceleration of any Hab player or prospect. His offensive game on a smaller ice surface, his lack of upper body strength, seem to be the big question marks. Getting him over this summer would also be a great step. After that it gets tough to say, Streit imo was solid for a 9th rounder. He stepped in and struggled at times but also made some good plays. No clue what his future holds and perhaps he just doesn't have the body strength to handle the NHL.

Wyman plays more of a power game then most of our prospects, he's big and strong and should have a couple years to add to his frame (he's recently turned 20) That said I had hoped for him to be more of an impact player, but he might turn out to be more of a checking line player. He's still likely years away, as I would guess he'll play 2 more years in the NCAA and then on to Hamilton.

Stewart is a guy I like but fear he's more on the bubble then I thought. Still I think he could be a good depth guy and a possible 4th liner down the road.

The rest I don't know if they will be with the organization much longer. Gleed I would hope to see him given a chance.

'05 isn't even a year into it yet but what a year these kids had. Yikes! Our top 2 prospects of the bunch likely had the more disappointing of the group, which imo is actually really good news cause I pretty much feel we are in good shape with Price and Lats. Price I must say I've never really been that impressed with, but there's a reason why he was considered one of the best goalies in the WHL at 17. This year things did not go his way, so there's some concern but for me not much. When he gets to Hamilton in 2 years, we'll start to see more of what we got.

Latendresse I have been a big fan since he was 16. ISS had him at 3rd overall back then. I must say I have very high hopes for him. In fact I would not have a problem saying I think he has among the highest upside on any prospect aside from Kostitsyn. His blend of phyiscal strength and hands is damn impressive. Yes there are still lots of concerns about his game. HE must improve his mobility, skating, speed, but he's already made strides and that's good news indeed. The shoulder, the lack of consistency, these things could be big factors, or he might overcome them in time. It's just too early to say in this stage of his development. That said I do have a lot of hope for him, time will tell though who's right.

Now you got a lot of interesting guys like Mikus, Aubin, Kostitsyn, D'Agostini, Paquet, all having solid years.

Mikus I had hoped for me but until he's over here I really can't say too much about him. I saw him once and wasn't impressed.

Aubin I wasn't a big fan of but what a year he had, likely one of the top seasons of any of our prospects. I really look forward to seeing what he can do at the AHL level.

Same thing goes for D'Agostini who I like more and more with each time I see him play. really like the smart all round game he plays, works hard, creates offense.

Kostitsyn is actually a guy I didn't even want us to draft but now I can see him as one of our top prospects. This kid is so damn impressive. I freaking love how he will take the body, bounce right back up from a big hit and seems to have no fear in going to the net with the puck at high speed. On top of that he's got some impressive skills. I hope to see him get stronger over time but I have really come to enjoy watching him play and can not wait to see what he does in the future.

Last but not least is Paquet who I need to see more of but I was surprised at how much I liked him. He's bigger then I expected and he should grow a good bit more. Skates really well with speed and doesn't seem to have a problem taking the body. Next year I hope to see more of him but he's clearly an under the radar type of prospect that is still really raw at this point.

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