I have a lot of difficulty seeing someone of Russel's size build and strength handling NHL forwards. I simply think he isn't strong enough, and doesn't have the frame to add enough strength. I also think quite highly of Alzner, who seems to be a stud in the making. Of course I could be wrong.
Fair enough, but I think Russell made a very good account of himself at the WJCs, and was arguably Canada's best all-around defender.
I think his speed, tenacity and hockey sense will more than compensate for his lack of size, since smaller guys like Campbell, Liles, Ference, Kronwall, Visnovsky, Timmonen, Zidlicky, Boyle, and even Bouillon can thrive in the new NHL.
Either way, Alzner looks very promising too. It just doesn't strike me as an egregious statement to say that Russell's the better prospect at this point.
I'm a habs fan but i'm kinda dissapointed in the rankings. I'll only talk about the habs prospects because I've been following them all year...
Ryan White has been just un-real this year. He has a fantastic mix of leadership, grit and heart as well as developing his offence to a point where a lot of people can't beleive he was taken so late. He's 18 and he's second in scoring in the league..pretty impressive. I would have liked to see him higher then 10th...
Maxwell is on the "honorable mention" list. i don't know..he's 18 too and was extremely impressive at the Habs camp this year. He was at the top or close to the top of the scoring list in the WHL all year before he got hurt...how is he not Top 20?
Price is debatable at #3. Mueller is a wonderful prospect and I can live with him being # 1..but I feel that as of now, Price is a better prospect then Franson...but that's just me...we're all entitled to our own opinion..
Attention veteran users of HF Boards: Mr. Vickers was not queried or involved! So, he's off the hook. Please aim all your darts at me.
Regarding the list, a few points here:
1. Franson over Price: I've spoken with both players and they are amazingly similar as low-key, soft-spoken, mature guys. Both with Hockey Canada and WJC experience...who can forget the gold medal performance last month!! Of course, Price wins any and all emotional votes at this point. However, I'm pretty sure I'd get questions even if Price had been ranked ahead of Franson. Call it a toss-up, they'll both play pro.
2. Gagnon: Welcome to the world of submission deadlines in the media!! I mean, I had him in the ranking before he was signed by Dallas. Why are so many folks in such a hurry to quit on 20-year-olds? Gagnon is playing this season like a guy with a chip on his shoulder after not being signed by Phoenix. I'll gladly give him props...
3. Hamill: Again, love those deadlines. After submitting the article, he has a seven-point game against Portland! Oh well... Anyway, great offensive skills and a very refreshing interview. He speaks "english", not "cliche". Definitely a guy I would suggest should attend the NHL Draft in person this July. But the Top 20? Okay...maybe he does fit, but let's not forget how deep the WHL is with drafted talent.
4. Schlemko & Bartley: These guys are outstanding players. It continues to amaze me as to how many USA high-schoolers are drafted ahead of guys like Bartley and Schlemko. As one WHL Director of Player Personnel said to me: "That US high-school must be some damn good hockey for these guys to go undrafted!" And yes, I understand the CBA and the NHL rules as they relate to having to sign a CHLer within two years. I root for underdogs. Plus, I trust what guys like Willi Desjardins (Medicine Hat) and Shane Zulyniak (Kamloops) have to say.
5. Wishart: A kid who is likely still having to wrap his groin before he goes to sleep. Nagging injuries have made him far more ordinary than he really is. Consensus among scouts and team brass I speak with is that Wishart will play pro. He belongs in the Top 20.
6. Ellerby: Will be among the top WHLers drafted in July, but for those who have watched him this season, they know he has not been consistent enough. And no, he is not the top d-man in Kamloops. However, he might be the toughest. For some reason, the mean streak from last season has been missing this year.
7. Russell: His performance speaks for itself...he's a guy people want to see succeed. Of course, many will count him out because of his size. For sure, he's no Dana Murzyn...
8. Alzner: My #1 WHL 2007 Eligible guy at this point. A very-well spoken and mature guy. Great skater, lateral movement without losing speed, great backward skating ability, really moves the puck well. But, there are some better drafted prospects in the 'Dub right now.
The next major WHL piece will be the Top 25 2007 Draft Eligible article/list, so I'll start a thread ahead of time to get your thoughts and ideas. Thanks for posting at HF...I appreciate constructive input.
Last edited by Glen Erickson: 02-05-2007 at 08:35 PM.