When you trade a top player, what better way to cope than to dream about the future. A little later in the summer, a proper analysis will be done, but a quick update for now:
- Depth at all spots, particularly on defence.
- Skill and puck-moving ability on the blueline
- Wingers with goal scoring upside
- Players ready for graduation
- Centres and playmaking ability
- Lack of a blue chip first line forward prospect
1. Dougie Hamilton - Acquired in the Eric Staal trade, brings skill, size and outrageous potential. In some ways the other side of the coin from Justin Faulk. NHL ETA: 2012-13
2. Justin Faulk - Overachiever had an outstanding rookie year as a 19 year old. Already a top-4, if not top-2 blueliner in the NHL. NHL ETA: Arrived.
3. Kyle Palmieri - Arguably the most accomplished goal scoring prospect outside of the NHL. Has scored goals at will in the AHL. NHL ETA: 2012-13
4. JT Miller - A centre who can play wing and brings a well-rounded game. Differing opinions on long-term potential and offensive upside. NHL ETA: 2013-14
5. Jeff Petry - A mainstay in this top five for several years, has arrived as a top 4 blueliner in the NHL, but at an older age than Faulk. NHL ETA: Arrived.
6. Jake Allen - Rough start last year but was exceptional down the stretch. The goalie of the future in St. Louis. NHL ETA: 2013-14.
7. Beau Bennett - Limited by injuries in his two years at Denver, but returns and development were positive. Huge offensive upside and will play pro this year. NHL ETA: 2013-14
8. Mattias Ekholm - Wildly underrated, won the SEL D-man of the year award and the SEL Championship last year. Overachiever with great size and hockey sense. NHL ETA: 2012-13.
9. Stuart Percy - 2011 first rounder had so-so year derailed by concussion. Toni Lydman-style defender with underrated puck-moving ability. NHL ETA: 2014-15
10. Justin Braun - Another player who is NHL graduated but still an HFNHL prospect. Similar to Petry but a bit less established and not quite as talented. NHL ETA: Arrived.
11. Richard Bachman - Fared quite well last year in Dallas and may still have started potential. Lack of size is a question, but highly competitive. NHL ETA: Arrived.
12. Michael Matheson - By far the most raw prospect so far, Matheson will play 2-4 years at Boston College before sniffing the NHL. All the tools offensively. NHL ETA: 2015-16
13. Maxime Sauve - If not for injuries, would be a far more heralded prospect. Has shown in streaks that he can be an outstanding AHLer. Second line upside. NHL ETA: 2013-14
14. Alexander Urbom - Hard player to read. Has the size and mobility to play in the NHL now, but has not found his niche as offensive or defensive yet. NHL ETA: 2013-14
15. Jerry D’Amigo - Could be higher after an outstanding AHL playoff run. Overachiever who has goal scoring upside and has really rounded out his game. NHL ETA: 2013-14
16. Harri Sateri - Still raw but with starter potential. Up and down so far in the AHL, but still a long-term project. NHL ETA: 2013-14
17. Matt Nieto - Significantly improved as sophomore at Boston University. Elite speed and a hard worker. Could be Shawn MacEachern or could be Dean McAmmond. NHL ETA: 2014-15
18. Johan Sundstrom - Underrated 2011 second rounder with size, hockey sense and skill. Not a power forward and limited by choppy stride. Will play in the AHL this year. NHL ETA: 2013-14
19. Jake McCabe - 2012 second rounder with mature game and some underrated offensive tools. Being groomed at blueline factor Wisconsin University. NHL ETA: 2014-15
20. Tommy Wingels - Hard-worker with hockey sense, has a two-year one-way deal in the NHL already. Question is whether he scores or not. NHL ETA: Arrived.
HM: Brenden Dillon, Cory Conacher, Maxim Chudinov, Brian Hart, Philippe Paradis, Scott Wilson, Brian Ferlin, Justin Holl, David Warsofsky, Joakim Nordstrom, Steven Fogarty, Dillon Simpson, Nick Crawford, Jon Gillies, Drew Schiestel, Jussi Rynnas, Mitch Callahan, Willie Coetzee, Ryan Tesink
I still like Justin Faulk as your best prospect, so color me biased for sure on that one. Really like Hamilton's potential as well. When Conacher can't even crack the group with the season he just put up you know you've got a lot of quality depth. Nice write up!