|HFNHL Talk HFNHL is a full-simulation fantasy league that uses the FHL simulator to determine the outcome of games over a full 82-game season.|
05-18-2010, 11:45 PM
HFNHL History Recovery Project
As you may know I've recently undertaken an effort to restore the missing information in our history files regarding the initial seasons of the HFNHL.
I've been able to recover the Standings from seasons 1998-99 (the inaugural season) and 1999-2000, with the exception of the final standings of the Carolina Hurricanes in either season. In addition, the playoff records of those seasons were also recovered. Not the details, but the games played and won etc.
In addition the Awards for the first season have also been recovered.
This research was done by following the trails of the messages boards (sadly incomplete from prior to 2003, even using the waybackmachine), the yahoo message groups etc. and internet archives.
You will now find the website updated and you can find the links under the HISTORY and AWARDS links on the www.hfnhl.com main page.
Sadly one or two pieces of information are still missing so the information is far from complete: The Awards winners from some the 99-2000 season are perhaps the most noticeable, as are any player stats from the initial seasons.
It seems that a lot of this information was lost early on - there are a lot of messages regarding the lost history and requests for any information in the Yahoo emails.
Most of all what I've learnt is that in the time between when I left the league (at the start of the second season) and my return (in 2003) is that a some of the long standing GM's put so much time and effort and thought into saving the league, and they deserve a lot of props (perhaps it's time we started an HFNHL Hall of Fame, there are several deserving 'Builder' candidates) --
It's kind of sad at times (watching the Flames trades of that era! OMG) but it's also amazing to see what was accomplished. And at some point Drew and Doug and Nick I want more details on the re-construction of the six-million-dollar sim! Thanks guys!
EDIT: The Thrashers played their first season in the Western Conference in the HFNHL, so I'll have to fix that in the standings.
Last edited by MatthewFlames: 05-18-2010 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Atlanta Thrashers Note
05-19-2010, 12:26 AM
I've just had a break-through in digging up the message boards prior to 2003, some as far back as 2000.
Previously when in the WaybackMachine archives of the HFBOARDS I've been unable to get a link to the hfnhl segments of the boards - but through some manual manipulation of the URL's I'm having some success. Here's hoping some more info can be rescued - also if anyone has email archives of the periods in late 1999 to mid 2001 they can search up for info that would be great!
UPDATES: Sadly I can only get the discussion listings but not the content of the messages.
Last edited by MatthewFlames: 05-19-2010 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Updates
05-19-2010, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Wow, great stuff Matt. Crazy to think how long ago some of that stuff is. And yes, the HFNHL was on it's last legs on several occasions in it's early years.
Upon reflection, the one thing that comes to mind now is what a tremendous group of GM's we have and how deep the league is in terms of our Admin and various contributors. I'd go on about it, but I'd sound like an old man sitting on his porch waxing poetic about what it was like in the old days.
05-19-2010, 05:20 PM
ARTICLE DATED April 15, 2002
Hockey's Future National Hockey League
Top 10 Most Powerful HFNHL Owners
by Joshua Pitt
April 14, 2002
Hopefully after reading this, everyone will have a better idea of who the real players are in the league, and it might help many of us to not forget those 5 or 6 people who give up so much time and effort for little or no reward, especially in situations where things are not always running smoothly.
1. DREW NIECE
The man who makes the league work. Runs the daily sims, and does a whole lot more including setting up ratings for the every player, controlling waivers, and much, much more. Without a doubt he would be the HFNHL’s most difficult member to replace, should he ever decide to leave (hopefully we won’t have to find out!) and for that, gets the nod as the league’s #1.
2. MATT GLEDHILL
As HFNHL Commissioner, he has the responsibility of making the tough decisions to ensure the leagues success. Its not as glamorous as it might seem, and as a result, a lot of flak can come with the territory. Gledhill rarely puts his foot down, but make no mistake, the power is there when it needs to be used, and has once or twice this season.
3. RICH EPSTEIN
Love him when those trades go through, hate him when they don’t. Epstein is a vital part of the league and factors in trades, contracts and many extra’s to boot. It isn’t a fun position to be in, especially when you have to shatter someone’s dreams of a blockbuster deal. Isn’t afraid to shake up the league by sending his superstars left, right and center either.
4. DOUGLAS EMERSON
Handed over the reigns as HFNHL commish at the beginning of the season, but is still as respected as anybody around. When he speaks, everyone involved listens. Still contributes to the running of the league, though he has moved a little bit away from the spotlight.
5. SEAN GAFFNEY
His Rangers have made a massive surge this season, and have brought a bit of the spotlight with it too, but Gaffney is not just a GM of the year candidate. His work on the HFNHL site ensures that the experience of participating in the league is a good one for everyone, and like those above him, there is little (if any) personal gain from the time and effort he puts into it.
6. STEVE WRIGHT
The HFNHL’s assistant commish. The position doesn’t carry the same responsibilities that are bestowed upon the commissioner, but there are still a lot of extras that come with the position. Wasn’t entirely happy with the move to Ottawa, but a Cup could change that. Regardless, the high profile team only adds to his stature.
7. JOSHUA PITT
A major contributor to Cover articles etc. His involvement is the only reason for the GM of the month nominations, as his team just plain sucks! Suspected by some to have an involvement in Wright’s move to Ottawa, even though he claims he was more than happy for Steve to stay. If there was involvement, then maybe he should move above his new found rival purely on string-pulling ability, however that remains just a nasty rumour.
8. DION ONG
The first non-admin team member to make the list. While his team is in a really rough situation, he has become the ‘recap guy’, contributing to the HFNHL site along the way. Has essentially become the HFNHL’s non-official admin member.
9 (tie) ROB KRUEGER
The ‘other’ option on every poll from now until the end of the league will be a part of the Krueger legacy. Contributes to most areas of the league, and is a valued member of the admin team. Rumours that the Bruins star players have been involved in a keg smuggling scandal has left a black eye on the organisation, and allowed Wright to catch him on this list
9 (tie) NICK QUAIN
Like Krueger, is an important member of the admin team. Would have finished a little behind Krueger if not for the fact that there were one or two who extra people that I wanted to mention, and a top 11 or 12 just doesn’t sound right does it? So any excuse will do, even a bad one.
10. BILLY JOHNSON
With his Sharks storming to the presidents trophy, and being the Cup favourites, Johnson has a pretty big impact on the league. Could very well be the last man standing among owners and GM’s in the playoffs, and that brings some recognition with it.
A notable mention to Martin Brassard, the last of the leagues Dirty Dozen, who’s Canadiens are still defending champs.
05-19-2010, 05:23 PM
Article Dated February 20, 2002
Hockey's Future National Hockey League
HFNHL Prospect Review
by Joshua Pitt
February 20, 2002
As this is ‘Hockey’s Future’ NHL, we felt that it would be a good idea to compile the prospect lists of every team and put it into some form of cover page. So with that in mind, here is each teams prospect list, ranked and reviewed…Enjoy.
Author's Note: The list was always being updated, so I apologize if the lists aren’t exactly up to date due to missing a trade somewhere. A special thanks to Rich Epstein, Matt Gledhill and Dion Ong for really helping to put this together.
KEY PROSPECTS: Ari Ahonen-G, Henrik Zetterberg-C, Alexander Frolov-LW, Stanislav Chistov-LW, Kris Beech-C
FORWARDS: The Sabres don't just have a handful of powerhouse names up front, they have depth to boot. With each passing day, there's a different answer to the question: "Who's the Sabres best forward prospect?" At the moment, the answer may be Frolov, an offensive dynamo who excelled at the WJC's, and has had great success playing against men this year in the Russian Super League. Immediately following the 2001 draft, the answer may have been Chistov, who, regardless of his actual height, garnered great praise from the Red Line Report. Then there's Zetterberg, already a member of the 2002 Swedish Olympic Team, and Beech, former MVP of the CHL Top Prospects game. All of this without even mentioning Jared Aulin, Brad DeFauw, Marcel Goc, Igor Grigorienko and WJC star Marek Svatos. If there is one knock on this group, it's lack of size, as DeFauw is the only potential power forward.
DEFENSEMEN: The blueline isn't so much a weakness, but the position at which Buffalo boasts the least strength. In stark contrast to the smaller, skilled forwards, the premier names on defence are two big boys: Scott Hannan and Mike Komisarek. Hannan is smart, fairly mobile, has amazing endurance and is capable of playing in all situations. On the other hand, Komisarek is more in the mould of a Derian Hatcher - a strong, defensive-minded leader who's more than happy to bulldoze opposing forwards. A few other quality prospects fill in the ranks behind Hannan and Komisarek, the most HFNHL-ready being Josef Melichar and Nick Schultz, while Mike Mottau and Travis Roche have good potential.
GOALTENDING: Few teams, if any, can rival the ability of Buffalo's youth between the pipes. After a year of being called the best goalie in Europe by many, Ari Ahonen has arrived in North America. Could he become the first great Finnish goaltender in the HFNHL? Not far behind on the depth chart is Hobey Baker winner Ryan Miller. That's right, another Miller from Michigan -this one the cousin of Kelly, Kip, and Kevin.
SUMMARY: If you’re looking for a reason why most team’s lists are lacking top flight prospects then here it is. There is no major weakness to be found in the Sabres system. They have at least 8 prospects that are all deserving of the "top notch" label. Hell, several prospects that are afterthoughts on Buffalo's list would probably find their way into the top 10 of a third of the teams in the HFNHL. Add in the 4 1st rounders next season, and things get brighter, not worse.
KEY PROSPECTS : Ilya Kovalchuk-RW, Jamie Lundmark-C, Zdenek Blatny-C, Pavel Datsyuk-C, Josef Balej-RW
FORWARDS : Ilya Kovalchuk is the #1 prospect in the league. The kid is the complete package and should be an all-star by the time he is 21. Jaimie Lundmark, Pavel Datsyuk and Zdnek Blatny are a phenominal trio of centers and ensure Calgary will have a fantastic 1-2-3 punch for many years to come. Cibek, Andersson, Ryan, Novosoltsev, and Bradley provide great depth up front and ensure Calgary is right up there with the best.
DEFENSEMEN : If there is one area the Flames could improve, it is their defence. David Hale, Kristian Kudroc and Zenith Komarnski are solid prospects who should become a good 3-4-5 punch on the blueline for the Flames in the future, but none of them are likely to turn into top 2 defencemen. The depth is there, but expect the Flames to be looking to add a top flight defensive prospect in the draft or via trade to go with their vast talent up front.
GOALTENDING : Brent Krahn was labelled as the goalie of the future for the Flames when he was drafted, but has seen his stock drop a little. However he is still a solid prospect and is very likely to play a solid role in the NHL as either a starter or a backup. Russians Evgeni Konstantinov and Andrei Medvedev will be hot on his heels the whole way. Konstantinov is a very solid prospect, while Medvedev has the potential to be an all-star in the NHL, but the focus of a 5-year-old. Throw in solid-if-unspectacular goalie Andrew Raycroft into the mix and you can see the strength in numbers at this position.
SUMMARY : There is so much to talk about with the Flame’s prospects that you could write 10 pages and still leave something uncovered. Their forward crew rivals Buffalo’s and they are stronger at the other two positions than most of the teams in the league. They don’t have the potential all star goalie (ie. Ahonen) or top 2 blueliners that the Sabres do, but make no mistake, this group could boast half an all-star team if allowed to develop together and reach their potential…and with Luongo on the pro-team already, it won’t matter long term in goal, but for now it does make a difference to the prospect list.
KEY PROSPECTS : Mika Noronen-G, Pavel Brendl-RW, Michal Sivek-C, Petr Schastlivy-LW, Tim Gleason-D
FORWARDS : Like the three teams above them, the Stars are loaded up front. Michael Sivek, Jeff Taffe and Derek Roy give Dallas both talent and depth up the middle. On the wing, Pavel Brendl is the teams key prospect, and GM Eric Danis really needs for him to develop as hoped to justify his dealing of young All-Star blueliner Ed Jovanoski. There is talent behind him however, as Peter Shastlivy, Jason Pominville and Evgeny Artukin are also around. The Stars might need to be careful however, as there is not real size up front on both the prospect list or in the Pro’s.
DEFENSEMEN : Tim Gleason has probably been hyped more than any defenseman in the 2001 draft. Much of that is a PR trick, but the kid is still a wonderful skater and a very talented blueliner. Alexei Semenov is a mountain of a man and a ferocious hitter, but like most European big men, is struggling to maintain consistency. Never the less, he has the potential to be a top 2 defender. Behind those two there is talent in Agris Saviels, Nolan Yonkman, Christian Chartier and Chris Dyment. Not all of them are likely to make it, but Saviels has too much talent not to, and Yonkman is in the right situation for a player of his ability.
GOALTENDING : Mika Noronen represents the future of the Stars at the goalie position. He is probably the most NHL ready of all prospect goalies, and while he doesn’t have the potential of players like Ouellet and Ahonen, is probably better than both right now. There isn’t much depth behind him, but the stars won’t be worried with Manny Fernandez and Marty Turco already on the pro team.
SUMMARY : The Stars have some top flight prospects, and good talent at every position. The combination of the two makes for a strong list. As a young rebuilding team already, the list can only brighten their hope for the future. Look for the Stars to be major players in a few years.
KEY PROSPECTS : Brian Finley-G, Lars Jonsson-D, Eric Cole-LW, Igor Knyazev-D, Mikhail Yakubov-C.
FORWARDS : A nice, solid assortment of players with much of the strength being on the wing. Not a legit top-liner in the list, but a couple of very capable hustling, physical 2-way 2nd liners in wingers Cole and Karlsson and a solid 3rd line center in Ritchie, which will allow the ‘Canes to have a nice physical touch. Kolnik is the lone sniper of any quality and Carolina could really use his scoring touch as soon as it is ready. Yakubov is the guy the Hurricanes need to become a quality player. He has potential, but if he doesn’t come around, then they could be rudderless for a number of years. Look for Swede Joel Lundqvist to be a darkhorse here, he has real talent.
DEFENSEMEN : Lars Jonsson has had a rough time of late, but nobody doubts his ability. He had a solid showing at the WJC’s and is regularly compared to Sandis Ozolinsh…without the shocking defensive play. 2001 draftees Igor Knyazev and the much underrated Andreas Holmquist are a great pair of well rounded blueliners, and could form a very nice pair if used together in the future. Knyazev was also extremely impressive in the WJC’s and could make the Lalime deal look great for the Canes in a year or two. PP quaterback Nathan Paetsch and bruisers Matt Spiller and Libor Urstnal do a nice job of rounding out a great group.
GOALTENDING : Brian Finley and Patrick Des Rochers should form a good 1-2 punch for the future. The top goalie taken in the ’99 draft (Finley) has been surpassed by Ahonen, Miller, Ouellet and possibly Tellqvist from the same year, but all of those goalies have been labelled as potential stars. The lack of hype is not because of Finley’s lack of ability, but due to the fact that the ‘99 draft has proven to be the best for goalies in a long time, and Brian has been the quiet developer of the group. Still a quality prospect and a legit future #1. GM Dion Ong won’t be rushing him into the team with Steve Shields about, as goaltending is about the only position the ‘Canes have any strength at. Des Rochers is a former 1st round pick that has suffered many problems, but is finally starting to come around.
SUMMARY : A very solid if unspectacular group of prospects, with strength at every position, especially on defence. The only concern may be that the team’s most offensively gifted prospect is playing on the blueline. Never the less, the group is extremely deep, and is a #1 center away from being up there with the best.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks
KEY PROSPECTS : Pavel Vorobiev-RW, Niklas Kronwall-D, Alexander Polushin-RW, Jean-Marc Pelletier-G, Mike Cammalleri-C
FORWARDS : The strength of this deep and impressive group of prospects. Vorobiev looked like a sure star in the making, until a knee injury wiped out his season. How well he recovers and whether he can make up for a lost season of development will be a key for Anaheim's future. Polushin has good size and skill, and if the physical game follows, he can be a force. Cammalleri had an outstanding World Juniors, leading all players with 7 goals and 11 points. Plekanek and Milley add scoring depth, while Fedoruk will provide a physical presence.
DEFENSEMEN : Not many all-stars in the future, but a solid group. Kronwall is the best of the bunch, a solid two-way defensemen although his size is less than ideal. Karel Pilar is a stay at home D-man, who at 24 years old could be in the HFNHL soon. Lance Ward, the most physical of the Ducks future blueliners, seems to finally be ready to make the league.
GOALTENDING : Not much for Ducks fans to be raving about here. Pelletier has been a major disappointment thus far, but it is too soon to give up hope. Cody Rudkowski has potential, but is just a sophomore in college and is likely several years away. Mark Rycroft is also in the mix.
SUMMARY : One of the deepest groups in the league. The only real weakness is in net, but hopes there rest with 25 year old Brian Boucher, who is already in the big leagues.
San Jose Sharks
KEY PROSPECTS : Vaclav Nedorost-C, Mikka Kiprusoff-G, Kiril Safranov-D, Konstantin Koltsov-LW, Oleg Saprykin-LW
FORWARDS : The Sharks have a great deal of talent up front. Vaclav Nedorost is a potential #1 center and has all the tools to be an offensive force in the league. Konstantin Koltsov might be the best skating prospect…anywhere, but just needs to work on his finishing. Oleg Saprykin was considered a world class talent 18 months ago. The ability is still there, but the Sharks will be hoping he can put it all together fairly soon. With centers Adrian Foster and Jaron Jaspers, plus wingers Miroslav Zalesak, Martin Spanhel and Ruslan Zainullan, the Sharks will have a lot to work with.
DEFENSEMEN : If there is one area of weakness for the Shark’s prospect list, it is their defence. Kiril Safranov is a very talented young blueliner and a future #2 or 3 defenceman, but behind him there isn’t much to boast about. Jim Fahey and Jeremy Van Hoof could make the NHL, but neither is a lock, and neither will be likely to make a huge impact should they make it. Don’t expect there to be much concern however, because the team does have some young talent at the pro level, with the most notable name being Brad Stuart.
GOALTENDING : With Ed Belfour and Johan Hedberg at the pro level, the Sharks have a nice situation in goal. The prospect situation is just as bright. Mikka Kiprusoff is not the most spectacular goalie, but he has a reputation for getting the job done…a lot. Shane Bendera is the other decent prospect. He has been a great success in the WHL and nearly made the Canadian team for the recent WJC’s. Its a safe bet that one of these two will develop into a decent #1 at an NHL level, and give the Sharks 1 less position to worry about.
SUMMARY : The team has the top end talent to compete with almost any prospect list in the league. The big difference between the Sharks and the teams above them is that they don’t have the same abundance of depth behind their key prospects. Never the less, this is a prospect list that almost any team would be happy to have.
KEY PROSPECTS : Rostislav Klesla-D, Maxime Ouellet-G, Nikita Alexeev-RW, Justin Papineau-C, Carlo Colaiacovo-D,
FORWARDS : A group with three fairly high-end prospects, but not a lot of depth to speak of. In spite of a minor setback in his development this season, the leader of the pack is clearly Alexeev. Big, hulking, Russian power forwards are a rarity in today's HFNHL. As such, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Alexeev's game is presently very similar to Oleg Kvasha's. Both are surprisingly good skaters. Both are strong on the puck. Both need to develop some attitude. In stark contrast, both Papineau and Weinhandl are smaller skill players that have already proven they can excel in the AHL and SEL, respectively. A sleeper in the Bruins system may be Anthony Acquino, who may have enough skill and hockey sense to overcome his size deficit.
DEFENSEMEN : A solid, if unspectacular bunch suddenly became spectacular with the aquisition of Rostislav Klesla, the number 1 defensive prospect in the league. Behind him there is good depth, led by Carlo Colaiacovo, who has the potential to become a very good two-way defenseman; the sort that does a lot of things well, but has no single skill that blows people away. At the beginning of the season, Rene Vydareny appeared to be on a similar path to Colaiacovo. Now, his future appears very much in question, as he has jumped back and forth between the AHL and ECHL. Ilya Nikulin certainly has the size to play the North American game, and it's only a matter of time before he makes his way across the pond.
GOALTENDING : In net, the Bruins are a one trick pony...but oh, what a pony. Ouellet was easily the best prospect in the Boston system before Klesla’s arrival, and may have as much of a claim on the title of "Best Goaltending Prospect" as anyone. Like most every goalie to have come out of the QMJHL over the past 15 years, Ouellet has modeled himself after Patrick Roy. It should be no surprise that his one flaw is the same as St. Patrick's: stickhandling.
SUMMARY : In the long run, depth could be a bit of a problem for the Bruins, as several of the key players on their roster are now on the wrong side of 30. That said, very few teams have a pair of studs like Klesla and Ouellet, and Alexeev, Weinhandl, and Acquino all play the position where Boston is likely to need help the soonest: right wing.
KEY PROSPECTS : Jordan Leopold-D, Alexander Svitov-C, Denis Arkhipov-RW, Andy Hilbert-C, Mathieu Garon-G,
FORWARDS : Alexander Svitov and Andy Hilbert represent the Predators greatest strength. The two should give Nashville a quality 1-2 center punch for the future and could press David Legwand in 2-3 years. Svitov has had difficulties in Russia, mostly through lack of ice time, and became very frustrated, which became clear at the recent WJC’s. RW is almost as strong with Denis Arkhipov and Marc-Andre Thinel. Steve Ott, Petr Sykora and Jason Chimera provide depth. The only glaring weakness here is the complete lack of talent at LW, but that shouldn’t be too big a concern.
DEFENSEMEN : Jordan Leopold is the Pred’s PP QB of the future. As good as Tom Poti is, Leopold could be as good or even better, and he won’t break down as easily on defence. He could make Poti obsolete, or give Nashville a devastating pair of point-men with the man advantage. Luke Sellars is a solid if unspectacular stay-at-homer and a even though his stock has dropped badly of late, should still make it in some capacity. If he doesn’t make it, then Kent Sauer could have a genuine chance at the Pred’s #6 slot in a few years.
GOALTENDING : Mathieu Garon is heir to the throne here. In fact, Tomas Vokoun is really only warming it until Garon is ready. The two could form a great tandem together, and while Garon isn’t likely to be an all-star, he should be a solid #1. There isn’t much behind him between the pipes, but that’s not something to stress about in this instance.
SUMMARY : LW is terrible, that’s for sure, but it is the only position with a problem. C and RW are set with both top end talent and depth, and defence is in a similar situation, even if it is a little shallower. The situation in goal is once again quite strong, even if it is weaker than the three mentioned before it. A strong list that should be ready to help a young and improving side very soon.
KEY PROSPECTS : Mikael Tellqvist-G, Alexei Smirnov-LW, Colby Armstrong-RW, Jeff Woywitka-D, Eric Chouinard-LW,
FORWARDS : Smirnov, Armstrong and Chernov represent potential top 2 line prospects at each position. As an added bonus, the styles of the three would compliment each other nicely, although Chubarov might not be offensively gifted enough to work more than the 3rd line. LW Eric Chouinard, C Antoine Vermette and RW’s Jonathan Cheechoo and Alexander Burtulin give Montreal good depth at every position up front. If a second complimentary grouping isn’t enough, the Candiens also have LW Jason Ward, C Roman Tverdon and RW Branko Radivojevic who are unlikely to make it, but could make the cut onto the 4th line if they really develop.
DEFENSEMEN : 2001 draftee Jeff Woywitka is the best of this bunch. He isn’t likely to be a dominant defenceman, but has good potential and figures to play solid sized role in the future. Antoine Bergeron, Gerard Dicaire, Ilkka Mikkola and J.P. Cote back him up. Not one of them is a shoe in for the pro’s, but it would be a safe bet that one of them will be able to make a decent career at the NHL level as a 5th, 6th or 7th defenceman.
GOALTENDING : The trade of Turek brought back a significant prospect in Tellqvist. He instantly becomes Montreal’s #1 prospect and could push Theodore in a couple of years. Vadim Tarasov is the other goalie of stature on the Canadiens prospect list. While not a standout, he has shown to be quite capable, and is considered to be a bit of a darkhorse as a #1 for the future. Not a certainty to start in the Pro’s, but should be there in some capacity, and could surprise.
SUMMARY : A nicely balanced squad with some very solid depth. With 1 or 2 top flight prospects, could be in the top 10. Even though their depth and balance is better than a few of those teams ahead of them, the Canadiens just don’t have a big name prospect. In fact, the only player who likely has the potential to be a genuine top line player right now is Alexei Smirnov, but he is extremely inconsistent, and is looking more like heading the way of Victor or even Vyacheslav Kozlov, than that of Russian superstars like Kovalev or Fedorov. Of course it is just early days, and only time will tell. A week is a long time in sport…let alone a year.
SCORE : 72
KEY PROSPECTS : Kristian Huselius-LW, Mikhail Kuleshov-LW, Dimitri Afanasenkov-LW, Tomi Kallio-LW, Martin Samuelsson-LW
FORWARDS : One thing is clear, GM Ville Isopaa loves his European LW’s. The Av’s will not have to worry about the left side for the next decade. Huselius is going to have to be the favourite next season for the Calder, especially with the line-mates he will have. Unfortunatlely for Colordao, the rest of the Forward positions are quite badly lacking. Steve Moore has a shot as the Av’s 4th line center, and Brian Willsie is in a similar situation at RW, but that’s a best case scenario for the best prospects at each position.
DEFENSEMEN : The Avs have some good depth without having a top 3 bleuliner in the bunch. Rick Berry is a big stay at homer, and possibly the best on the list, but Martin Grenier and David Cullen will be pressing him for that title the whole way. Nikos Tselios and Alexander Riazantsev are also in the mix, and could make it as 5th, 6th or 7th defencemen. The Avs could use a stud here, but in the mean time, depth will have to do.
GOALTENDING : Petr Hamrlik has always had great potential, but his lack of consistency and production have always been his biggest drawbacks. While the Av’s are hoping for him to come around, his window of opportunity is starting to close just a bit. There is still time, but he can’t really be counted on at this point in time. Phillipe Sauve is the only other notable prospect here, but he will struggle to make it at an NHL level…period.
SUMMARY : An amazing cast of LW’s combined with a deep group of 2nd tier blueline prospects and mid-to-long shot goalies combine for a decent list. The Avs do need to address a few things up front and in goal, but for now they can sit just inside the top 10.
Detroit Red Wings
KEY PROSPECTS : Brad Boyes-C, Tomas Kopecky-C, Brad Tapper-RW, Ramzi Abid-LW, Barrett Heisten-LW
FORWARDS : Looking at the key prospects above tells you everything you need to know about where the Wings strength lies. Brad Tapper and Brad Boyes provide strength at C and on the wing. Boyes has a reputation of being a good faceoff man and a great puck handler, and Tapper has overcome many hurdles already. Tomas Kopecky is big and talented, and plays a well rounded game, while Abid, McCelment, Tjarnqvist, Knopp, Hunter and Heisten give Detroit fantastic depth up front. None of them is a bona fide all-star, but the future is certainly bright here.
DEFENSEMAN : Looking at the key prospects above tells you everything you need to know about where the Wings weakness lies. Brent Sopel and Mike Van Ryan are the best Detroit has to offer, but they are 5th or 6th defencemen at an NHL level and are the only 2 blueliners in Detroit’s top 15 prospects. Expect this need to be addressed in the upcoming draft.
GOALTENDING : Like the defence, the Goaltending situation is not terribly flash. Henrik Lundqvist is a decent prospect, but equates to a solid backup at an NHL level. There pretty much isn’t anything behind that. Once again, another need that will probably be addressed at the draft.
SUMMARY: Considering the Wings have almost nothing on defence or in goal, you would expect them to be ranked lower than what they are. The reason for such a high ranking is that the forward group is both talented and very, very deep. Talent is always more important on a prospect list than balance, as teams strengths change often, meaning that a trade or two can always fix things up.
New Jersey Devils
KEY PROSPECTS : Jeff Jillson-D, Christian Berglund-RW, Jarrett Stoll-C, Justin Mapletoft-C, Mathieu Chouinard-G
FORWARDS : Berglund is the class of this group. The winger has shown the ability to score at every level so far, and possesses good hockey sense along with a knack for finding loose pucks. One question mark: will his low center of gravity allow him to bounce off checks at the HFNHL level as it has at other levels? Berglund lacks the elite speed and leg drive needed to squirt by along the boards. Stoll and Mapletoft are fairly similar players that excel in multiple facets of the game. Stoll is probably more of a natural scorer, while Mapletoft is the more gifted playmaker. Stoll likely has the higher upside, but also has more question marks than Mapletoft. 6'6" Martin Podlesak could be an interesting project.
DEFENSEMEN : If it's not Rostislav Klesla, it's quite possible that Jillson is the best defensive prospect in the HFNHL. The 6'3", 220 pound former Wolverine is an absolute workhorse. Jillson has all the tools to become an elite defenseman in the HFNHL, the kind that dominates all 200 feet of the ice. A few interesting prospects behind Jillson on the depth chart are Richard Jackman and Shaone Morrisonn. Jackman has a booming shot that could garner him power play duties in the HFNHL someday. Morrisonn has potential, but needs to fill out and improve his play in the defensive zone.
GOALTENDING : Chouinard has the ability to become a #1 goaltender, but his biggest obstacle in getting to the HFNHL may be his mental game. Also plays more of a stand-up style, which he may need to adjust. In Scott Clemmensen, the Devils likely have Chouinard's future backup.
SUMMARY : Jillson and Berglund are stud prospects, no question. However, though there's talent to be found throughout the rest of the system, most of the Devils other prospects either carry significant question marks, or are projects.
Columbus Blue Jackets
KEY PROSPECTS : Krys Kolanos-C, Brian Gionta-RW, Jan Lasak-G, Mathieu Biron-D, David Steckel-C
FORWARDS : An impressive and well rounded group. Kolanos has all the tools to be a top line center for years to come. Gionta can score, if his size doesn't hold him back. Steckel has the size that Gionta lacks, and the skills to match. Sheldon Keefe is a wild card, tons of talent, but can he get his head on straight. Adam Mair has enough heart to guarantee a spot on the checking line for years to come.
DEFENSEMEN : A definite problem area. Biron has good size and tons of potential, but has not developed as quickly as hoped. Antti-Jussi Niemi is a solid if unspectacular stay at home defenseman. Bubba Berenzweig was a waiver draft pick up that could find a spot as a 5th or 6th defenseman.
GOALTENDING : Thin. Jan Lasak should be ready to contend with David Aebischer for the starting job within 2-3 years. Ty Conklin was the most sought after rookie free agent in the off season, and has only improved his stock since beginning his pro career. Could be a career backup, could be a star. Only time will tell. Columbus better hope that nothing goes wrong with the development of either of these goalies, because there is nobody else.
SUMMARY : Considering what this teams future looked like 6 months ago, Jackets fans have to be ecstatic. The list has certainly developed and is now in the top half of the league…a long way ahead of where it was. Considering that this team couldn't find a GM because the future was so bleak, new general manager Douglas Emerson has to be congratulated for putting this group, especially the forwards, together.
KEY PROSPECTS : Jason Spezza-C, R.J. Umberger-C, Mark Popvic-D, Marcel Hossa-LW, Matt Murley-LW
FORWARDS : If looking at the 5 names above tells you anything, its that the Pens are set at C and LW. Jason Spezza is a fantastic playmaker, and one of the best prospects to hit the NHL in years. R.J. Umberger is no slouch either and is a wonderfully talented pivot. With Shane Endicott around as well, the Pens should be set at center for years. Marcel Hossa will provide scoring on the wing, and Matt Murley will give it a bit of grit. Behind those four there are also RW’s Eric Meloche and Teemu Sainomaa, who could get a shot somewhere along the line.
DEFENSEMEN : Mark Popovic is the Pens best prospect in defence. He is a gifted offensive defenceman and figures to be a good #2 or 3 for the Pens in the future. Mike Commodore is right on the verge of becoming a full time NHL’er. He’s not flash but he will do everything a stay-at-home defenceman should do. Like Commodore, Noah Welch is a big bruising defenceman and should be a solid blueliner when he gets to the NHL, but for the moment he is still at least 2-3 years away. Alexei Vasilev is the last of the Pens decent blueline prospects, but is seeing his window of opportunity slipping by with every year he doesn’t make the cut.
GOALTENDING : Looking at the Pens strengths up front and on defence, it is surprising to see that they do not have 1 goaltending prospect who is even close to a shot at the NHL. This is an area the Pens must really address. With J.S. Aubin in goal the pro team has very little to boast about, and even if they trade for a veteran starter, the Pens could really use a good young prospect here to secure their future in goal. Maxime Daigneault would make perfect sense in the upcoming draft.
SUMMARY : The Pens have a strong group up front, and a solid group of blueliners, but they are really let down by their non-existent goaltending. With these strengths, look for more of the same Penguins that we have become so familiar with over the last decade as they will try to win shootouts as opposed to showing any real commitment to defence.
KEY PROSPECTS : Raffi Torres-LW, Brandon Reid-C, Brett Lysak-C, Igor Radulov-RW, Dan Jancevski-D
FORWARDS : A good strong group that just lacks that potential superstar. Raffi Torres has the ability to be an very intimidating winger, but will probably never be an all-star with any regularity. However, he is a quality prospect for the Capitals future. Brandon Reid and Brett Lysak are not big name prospects, but both are potential 2nd line centers. Igor Radulov, Jeff Heerema and Sergei Zinovjev give a lot of depth at RW.
DEFENSEMEN : There isn’t much that is ready to make an impact on the blueline in Washington right now. Dan Jancevski is a big bruising defenceman that forwards will try to avoid at all cost. He should be on the capitals roster as a stay-at-home defenceman/enforcer in a few years. There are a few blueliners that could have a chance at the NHL behind him, but none of them are likely to play a significant role if they do make it.
GOALTENDING : Sebastian Caron is the top goalie prospect for the Capitals. He is not likely to be a #1 goalie, but an solid backup. He should be ready to step in as the backup for the HFNHL Caps about 2 seasons from now, but if Irbe leaves, they may need him to back-up Brent Johnson sooner than the team would have liked.
SUMMARY : The Caps on talent nestle nicely into the middle of the league, a long way behind the likes of Buffalo and Calgary, yet a long way ahead of the teams at the bottom of this list. As for their balance at each position, they are clearly stronger up front than anywhere else. This list might get weaker if the Caps swing a few deals to make a play-off run, but for the moment it is a decent prospect list on a good team. A nice combination.
KEY PROSPECTS : Dan Blackburn-G, Tuomo Ruutu-C, Brooks Orpik-D, Ilya Bryzgalov-G, Jiri Novotny-C
FORWARDS : This group revolves around 2 players. Tuomo Ruutu and Jiri Novotny are not high powered offensive centers, but both are talented with great 2-way skills and should give the Sens some great player at center on their 2nd and 3rd lines for many years. Ruutu has already forged a reputation as a feisty leader. On the wings the recent departure of Ales Hemsky and Jani Rita has hurt the Sens prospect list quite badly. RW Kyle Wanvig is now the best winger Ottawa has on its prospect list and he is really the only one.
DEFENSEMEN : Brooks Orpik is the big physical defenceman that teams covet. He has developed into one of the better defensive prospects in the league and should be an ideal partner for an offensive defencemen in a year or two. Behind him there are a few names but none of them are certainties to be NHL regulars. Lupashchuk is solid but doesn’t figure to be a top 3 defender, while Mokhov and Hill are all decent prospects that might find their way into the NHL, but with Ottawa’s blueline, it won’t be with the HFNHL Senators.
GOALTENDING : Here is the real strength of the Senators prospect list. Dan Blackburn and Ilya Bryzgalov form one of the strongest prospect pairings in the league at this position. In fact, possibly only the combination of Ahonen and Miller is stronger. Blackburn has been labelled a star from day one, and was a major reason GM Todd Bolt traded future superstar Roberto Luongo to Calgary, while Bryzgalov has the makings of a potential #1 thus far. Mike Minard is also around, but don’t expect much from him.
SUMMARY : The goaltending tandem gives the Sens great strength at one position. The defence is steady while Ruutu and Novotny carry the load up front. A lot of help on the wing is needed, but with 5 first rounders in 2002, it’s not likely the Sens will worry about it too much.
St. Louis Blues
KEY PROSPECTS : Dany Heatley-RW, Chuck Kobasew-RW, Michael Garnett-G, Daniel Corso-C, Garth Murray-RW
FORWARDS : The majority of the Blues top prospects are up front. Dany Heatly is the second coming of Jon LeClair, only he is further along that LeClair was at the same point in his career. 2001 first round RW Chuck Kobasew comes in with a big reputation as a pure goal scorer who should be a 30-40 goal a season guy in the pro’s. Center Daniel Corso and RW Garth Murray provide some good options for the future on the Blues 2nd or 3rd lines.
DEFENSEMEN : With Bryce Salvador dealt to Minnesota in the Stefan deal, the blues defence suddenly becomes a pretty glaring weakness. Jan Horacek, Jonathan Zion and Christian Backman are the best of this list, but they hardly form a group to build around for the future. If the Blues have one area that needs to be really addressed, then this is it. Expect them to use a top 2 round pick on a blueliner to bolster the group.
GOALTENDING : Michael Garnett is a talented young goalie that GM Nick Quain will be hoping can step in over the next few years as a backup and maybe even a starter. If so, then that frees up the option of trading Mike Dunham or Martin Biron for help elsewhere. Scott Fankhouser is also hanging around, but don’t expect too much from him.
SUMMARY : This is basically a 2 prospect list. The Blues entire hopes rests with Heatly and Kobasew. Heatly looks like a multiple All-Star in the making, and is proving himself as we speak. Kobasew is still a year or two away, but should be good when he gets there. The lack of depth could really hurt if one of the two was to go down with a serious injury, as the Blues have essentially putting all their eggs in one basket (actually two).
New York Islanders
KEY PROSPECTS : Bryan Allen-D, Anton Volchenkov-D, Ron Hainsey-D, Mikko Koivu-C, Alex Perezhogin-LW
FORWARDS : Not much to get excited about here. Mikko Koivu is bigger than his brother, and is almost as good of a playmaker, but his skating needs work. Could be a first line C, could be a bust. Only time will tell. Perezhogin has good speed and scoring ability, but is considered to be a couple of years away from being HFNHL ready. Nathan Smith has good size, and his work ethic will get him at least a checking line spot. Toby Petersen lacks size, but has good ability. He could be a 2nd/3rd liner thoughout his career.
DEFENSEMEN : As good a group as any in the league. Allen has been slow to develop, but still has Norris trophy potential. Volchenkov is several years away, but can excel at both ends of the ice. Hainsey may be ready sooner and plays an excellent all around game. Jesse Wallin excels in his own end, but could be more phsical. Dick Tarnstrom is a solid puck mover, who should have a spot as a number 4 or 5 D-man. Newly signed Sasha Goc is another future fixture on the NY blueline.
GOALTENDING : Deep, but no standouts. Alexander Auld is having a tough time adjusting to the AHL game, but should develop into a solid backup goaltender. Alexey Volkov was once thought of as a can't miss prospect, but the team is almost ready to give up on him. Steve Valiquette and Frederik Brindamour are probably career minor leaguers.
SUMMARY : Not much scoring potential, but they may not need it. Despite the lack of forwards and goalies, the Isles still rank in the middle of the pack due to their extraordinary defensemen.
KEY PROSPECTS : Radim Vrbata-RW, Ales Hemsky-RW, Jani Rita-RW, Artem Chernov-C, Barrett Jackman-D
FORWARDS : What was once a weakness has become a strong group. If the 5 names above tell you anything, its that the Oilers are set at RW for years. Vrbata and Hemsky are top two line scorers, Jani Rita is the perfect 3rd line winger, while Konstantin Panov and Timo Vertala figure to be decent 4th liners. Talented but heavily underachieving Michael Heinrich is also in the mix. With the players about at RW, the Oilers aren’t really relying on him, so anything they get is a bonus. Artem Chernov is the lone Center of any quality and should play a solid role in the Oilers future. At LW, the situation is pretty ugly where Ryan Malone and concussion victim Paul Comrie are all that the team has.
DEFENSEMEN : Barret Jackman and Mark Eaton are the best of the blueliners here. Neither is going to be an all-star, but both should be able to make solid contributions in the NHL. Behind them, the Oiler blueline is very ugly. Alex Henry, Chris Hajt and Mathieu Descoteaux are fairly safe bets to not make the NHL, and the Oilers don’t have anyone who could be a genuine impact player. The team should be grateful for their young blueline in the pro’s as it will probably buy the Oilers some time…but not too much.
GOALTENDING : Recently aquired Alfie Michaud immediately becomes the teams #1 prospect in goal. While not likely to be a top flight starter, Michaud should be able to develop into a solid backup. With Guy Hebert on the way out as soon as next season, the Oilers will be hoping that he can step in sooner rather than later. The team’s biggest saving grace is once again already in the pro’s in the form of Evgeni Nabokov.
SUMMARY: The Oilers are in trouble. They are one of the worst 7 or 8 teams in the HFNHL right now, and will get no reward as they will be seeing that pick boost Ottawa’s depth as Edmonton no longer has it.. New GM Andrew Gledhill has some serious work to get this team back on track, but he seems to be making the right kind of moves.
New York Rangers
KEY PROSPECTS : Yannick Lehoux-C, Fredrik Sjostrom-RW, Adam Hall-RW, Jason Bacashihua-G, Brian Campbell-D
FORWARDS : Probably the strongest part of the Rangers prospect list. C Yannick Lehoux is small, but is a whiz with the puck and has great vision. RW’s Adam Hall and 2001 1st rounder Fredrik Sjostrom give the Rangers a great pair at the position, and could allow give the Rangers the luxury of dealing Selanne in a few seasons. Ed Caron should be in the Rangers future at C, while Egor Shastin, Ryan Lauzon and Carl Mallette fit into that fringe category of maybe/maybe not.
DEFENSEMEN : With the recent departure of Rostislav Klesla, Brian Campbell is the most notable prospect here. A late round pick that stormed into recognition with his offensive skill has struggle in the last 12 months and has seen his stock drop. Still talented, but his lack of size could hurt his chances of taking on a major role in 5 on 5 situations. Expect him to be a feature in the Rangers PP of the future. Behind him there isn’t much, as Seluyanov and Fermella are the both long shots.
GOALTENDING : Jason Bacashihua was one of those players that was drafted a lot higher than expected, and essentially gave the Rangers their 2nd 1st round pick of the draft. He is in a good development program for goalies, and should be a solid pro. The jury is still out on whether he is destined to be a #1, but most would agree he will have a career at the NHL level. Levente Szuper, Craig Anderson and Aaron Molnar provide some good depth, and will keep ‘Cash’ on his toes.
SUMMARY : Good pro team, decent prospect list. Being both playoff bound this season and armed with a mid-level prospect list is something that the Rangers should be happy with. They have an impact prospect or two both up front and 1 or 2 potential NHL’ers in defence and in goal. The break the team scored with Bacashihua will make the loss of a 2002 1st rounder a lot softer.
Los Angeles Kings
KEY PROSPECTS : Joe Rullier-D, Denis Shvidki-RW, Lukas Krajicek-D, Daniel Tkaczuk-C, Niklas Hagman-LW, Alexei Mikhnov-LW
FORWARDS : The Kings have a nice balance of talent at each position. LW is the greatest strength with Mikhnov and Hagman, but RW Denis Shvidki is the most talented forward. C Daniel Tkaczuk is nothing flash, but a solid center that should give the Kings a useful player in a year or two. There isn’t much behind those 4, but that’s not a terrible thing when you have 4 solid prospects up front.
DEFENSEMEN : The Kings greatest strength is on their blueline. Joe Rullier is LA’s #1 prospect, and Lukas Kajicek is not far behind. The two could comfortably fill the #2 and 3 spots on the Kings defence for years to come, and might even be able to take the #1 and #2 spots, but the 2/3 combination is more likely. Jakob Cutta is a lesser known prospect, but the fact that he isn’t highly regarded him won’t stop him making the NHL as a #4, 5 or 6. Zdenek Kutlak is also around, and could have a shot, but he is in an organisation with a deep list in defence, so that won’t be easy.
GOALTENDING : The Kings have a couple of mid range prospects here in the form of J-F Damphousse and Adam Munro. Both should crack the NHL, but it is doubtful that either is likely to do it as a starter. A Legit #1 here would be good, but with Salo around, the Kings should be in no real hurry to pick one up.
SUMMARY : This is one of the most confusing lists to comprehend. At first look the Kings seem to have decent talent at every position, and seem to be better than half a dozen teams on this list ahead of them. However after assessing every team, they don’t rank any higher than 20. The biggest reason for this is that they really lack a #1 at any position, and don’t have the same mid-level depth that those teams in the 10-20 range do. Probably as close to 15th as they are to the next team on this list.
KEY PROSPECTS : Rick DiPietro-G, Filip Novak-D, Bryce Salvador-D, Jaroslav Svoboda-RW, Thatcher Bell-C
FORWARDS : Mostly a collection of small speedy forwards with some good offensive talent. Thatcher Bell and Jaroslav Svoboda are both smallish and gifted offensively, while Pascal Dupuis and Joel Stepp will make the most of what they have on the ice. Unfortunately, none is likely to be a quality NHL’er, and a lot of them may struggle to even make a career at an NHL level. Aaron Lobb stands out because he is huge, but he is very raw and is still a long way from being NHL ready. With the recent trading of Patrick Stefan, the Wild’s future looks really grim up front.
DEFENSEMEN : Filip Novak is a quality defenceman with very good skills. While not a superstar in the making, he is a very solid prospect who should become a very good #3 or 4 on the Wild blueline once he settles in. Recently acquired Bryce Salvador will contribute both depth and talent to the Minnesota defence, and Nate Kiser could make the NHL as a #5 or 6. Thomas Mojzis is a stretch and probably shouldn’t expect to see any NHL action in his career.
GOALTENDING : Rick Dipietro is the teams #1 prospect, and goaltending is always a good place to start building a franchise. Dan Cloutier has talent but he has never looked like a #1 so far in his career, so if he keeps struggling, then expect DiPietro to push him in the not to distant future. Vesa Toskala has been a bit of an unknown for a while, but the more people see him, the more they tend to think he has a chance of being a good NHL backup, and maybe even a starter some day.
SUMMARY : While solid in goal and in defence, the Wild have almost nothing up front. Svoboda, Bell and Lobb are more likely 3rd line types than 1st liners, so the Wild could use some help there for sure. If they use their first pick in the 2002 draft on a forward it will help, but the team really needs 2 or 3 impact forwards, not 1.
KEY PLAYERS : Stephen Weiss-C, Mark Bell-C, Willie Mitchell-D, Tomas Malec-D, Pierre Daigenais-LW
FORWARDS : Stephen Weiss is the most high profile prospect on the Blackhawks list. The center has great passing ability a nice touch around the net and plays a reasonably well rounded game. While he hasn’t produced as well as hoped this season, he certainly has the ability to get it done in the long run. Mark Bell was considered a bust somewhat. The emphasis is on ‘was’. Now a shoe in for the Hawks roster next season, Bell and Weiss should give the Hawks a good 1-2 center punch for the future. LW’s Pierre Daigenais, Alexandre Giroux, Jimmie Olvestad, Matthieu Darch and Mike Souza should give the Hawks a good shot at covering their 2nd, 3rd and 4th line spots on the left side.
DEFENSEMEN : Willie Mitchell is a guy that you love to have on your team. A big, strong stay at home defender who is very physical but still being fairly clean and intelligent. If only his foot speed was better he would be as good a stay-at-home defender as there is on any team’s prospect list. Behind him there is a collection of blueliners that could see one or two break through. 2001 draftee Tomas Malec is the best of these.
GOALTENDING : An area the Hawks could really use some help is as bare as old mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Neither Weeks or Thibault has established themselves as a legit #1 for the teams future in the pro’s and the Hawks could really use some new blood to take over as the man in goal. Unfortunately, there is nothing here, unless the Hawks use their 1st on a goalie in the upcoming draft.
SUMMARY : The Hawks are in a really tough situation. They are the leagues 3rd poorest team, are not likely to make the playoffs, and have a prospect list that fits in the bottom third of the league. Things in the windy city are going to be real rough very soon without a little bit of much needed genius from GM William Drake.
KEY PLAYERS : Henrik Tallinder-D, Kamil Piros-C, Michael Zigomanis-C, Aaron Johnson-D, Jeff Farkas-LW
FORWARDS : Without a star in the bunch, the Panthers have a few players worth noting up front. Calder candidate Kamil Piros stands out as one to keep an eye on, and Mike Zigomanis looks like a potential 2nd line center with a bit of luck. The two that might really tell the story with this group are wingers Duncan Milroy and Jeff Farkas. Milroy was drafted with high expectations by Florida management, and if he develops as hoped, he should be a quality power forward. Farkas on the other hand has seen his stock drop dramatically of late and is looking like nothing more than a 3rd liner. The Panthers really need him to get back to what many expect of him, and make an impact in the NHL.
DEFENSEMEN : Henrik Tallinder is considered by many to be one of the best defensive defenseman among all prospects. There isn’t anything flash to his game, but the Swede can get it done in his own end and let everyone worry about what goes on in the other end. Aaron Johnson has improved a lot of late, and looks likely to make the pro’s in a year or two. Kyle Rossiter is the last of the notables in this group and he could make it if he improves a bit.
GOALTENDING : Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. Without a netminder worth a mention, the Panthers situation looks pretty grim. Maybe a deal with Calgary for one of their many goaltending prospects could be in order?
SUMMARY : There isn’t much to boast about here. A lot of the players that the Panthers are relying on for their future, are yet to prove themselves at the lower levels, let alone the NHL. With no high picks next season, the Panthers seem to be stuck in neutral.
Toronto Maple Leafs
KEY PROSPECTS: Dan Hamhuis-D, Petr Svoboda-D, Fedor Tyutin-D, Rob Zepp-G, Paul Martin-D
FORWARDS : With the graduation of Mike Comrie to the HFNHL ranks, this group may be weaker than any other group of forward prospects. The most recognizable name on the list is Mikael Holmqvist, a former 1st round pick who has been a tremendous disappointment. Johan Hägglund has displayed some ability, but has yet to make any progress into the SEL, making him no more than a project at this point.
DEFENSEMEN : What a world of difference a position makes! The Maple Leafs have plenty of depth on the blueline, a spot where the pro squad is growing increasingly old. Leading the way is Hamhuis, the team's 2001 1st round pick. While he may never be a dominating #1, Hamhuis possesses a fairly complete skill set. Svoboda, provided he adds some muscle to his 6'3" frame, has the ability to play a two-way game at a very high level. Tyutin, who thinks defense first, may be the most HFNHL ready of the bunch. Meanwhile, Martin brings loads of offensive ability to the table, but will need time to develop. Add Petr Smrek and Doug Lynch to the list, and you potentially have Toronto's starting six of the future.
GOALTENDING : In Zepp, the Leafs have themselves a very technically sound goaltender with the potential to become a #1. He has earned a bit of a reputation as a big game player. With Hackett eyeing the decline of his career, they could use a good young goalie.
SUMMARY : Toronto have a very good group of defensemen, no forwards to speak of whatsoever and no 1st round pick for another 3 years. With the budget still declining, the Leafs have a lot riding on Zepp.
Tampa Bay Lightning
KEY PROSPECTS : Johan Holmqvist-G, Ryan Bayda-LW, Ville Niemenen-LW, Jukka Hentunen-LW, Jari Tolsa-LW
FORWARDS : You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out where the Lightning’s greatest strength is. Bayda, Niemenen, Hentunen, Tolsa and Somervuori are all HFNHL bound in the next few years and while none of them are game breakers, they could combine to give Tampa some solid play on the left side of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines. Unfortunately there is nothing exciting going on at the other two positions, as neither Sergei Kuznetsov or Sven Helfenstein figure to be a part of the Lightning’s future and they are the best at each position..
DEFENSEMEN : The situation up front is bad, the situation in defence is worse. Scott Balan and Kurt Bauer figure to have the best chance of cracking the Lightning’s line-up in defence over the next year or two, and there is a good chance that neither of them will make it. With Kyle Kos and Skot Skoog the next in line on the talent list, the Lightning might consider a cardboard cut-out of someone like Scott Stevens, as it would probably be more intimidating to opposing forwards.
GOALTENDING : If there is an area of depth in the organisation aside from LW, then it is in goal. Johan Holmqvist is a solid goalie who should be able to make a decent career at the NHL level, but probably won’t be a full time #1. Reinhard Divis and Johan Asplund provide some competition for Holmqvist and might move ahead of him if he slips or one of them really develops.
SUMMARY : Like the Thrashers, the Lightning are an ageing team built to win now, that has sacrificed their future for a chance at Lord Stanley’s Cup. There will be no draft picks to build with in the upcoming draft so the Lightning are essentially burning the candle at both ends. Aging veterans and no prospects = very ugly. Unless they spend a lot of cash, the Lightning could make the current Carolina, Buffalo and Columbus situations look good in a few seasons.
KEY PROSPECTS : Pascal LeClaire-G, Teemu Laine-RW, Fedor Fedorov-LW, Vadim Tarasov-G, Paul Ballantyne-D
FORWARDS : The Thrashers have some depth on the wings. Laine and Fedorov are the best and figure to make solid contributions in the NHL. Tommy Santala, Maxim Rybin, Tomi Maki and Karel Rachunek round out the group but most are going to struggle to make the cut at the highest level.. The Thrashers are without a single center that could expect to make the NHL. Since Mikko Koivu was sent to the Islanders, the Thrashers have looked really bad in the department. With no high picks in the next 2 seasons, this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.
DEFENSEMEN : Paul Ballantyne and Peter Podhrasky are the best the Thrashers have on their blueline for the future. Ballantyne has developed into a solid stay-at-home defender, who could feature on the Thrasher blueline in a few years. Podhrasky might make it into the mix but will probably never be anything significant. He is in the right situation for him to get his chance, as the Thrashers will be very weak once the veterans on their ageing team start to retire.
GOALTENDERS : This is the Thrashers strong point. Pascal LeClaire is an excellent young prospect who figures to become a quality starter some day. Even though the goalie he is likely to be compared to (Dan Blackburn) made the pro’s straight after being drafted, LeClaire is likely to spend some time in the minors before having his shot. With Patrick Roy in goal for the Thrashers, GM Corey Wells won’t be too eager to test the youngster out.
SUMMARY : The Goaltending is in safe hands for the future with LeClaire there, but the future at other positions looks pretty bleak. Laine, Fedorov and Ballantyne figure to only be 3rd liners and they are the best the team has. The run at the cup has really depleted the organisations future. When the time comes to rebuild, the Thrashers are going to fall hard.
KEY PROSPECTS : Brian Sutherby-C, Luca Cereda-C, Alexander Ljubimov-D, Josh Blackburn-G, Rickard Wallin-C
FORWARDS : Like most of this team, they need some work. Sutherby is coming off of a solid World Juniors, averaging almost a point a game on the third line, and looks like a surefire second or third line center. Cereda is a solid playmaker and an intelligent player, who also could play on a second or third line, if he ever comes to America. Wallin could be a decent checker in the HFNHL.
DEFENSEMEN : A group without a single surefire HFNHL’er. Ljubimov is the best of the bunch, and plays a solid two way game. He should have a home on the second pairing in a couple of seasons. Andrew Hutchinson is the next best, and should be a number 6/7 D-man by the time that he leaves college.
GOALTENDING : Better hope Khabibulin is around for a long time. Josh Blackburn is the best of the goalie prospects, and he isn't expected to be much more than a third stringer, and there isn't much past him.
SUMMARY : Years of competing have taken their toll on the Phoenix farm system. There are a couple of solid forwards, but there are no future stars and there is no depth. Its time to reload for the ‘Yotes.
KEY PROSPECTS : Antero Nittymaki-G, Thomas Pilhal-RW, Pat Kavanagh-D, Jason Beckett-D, Jonas Ronqvst-RW
FORWARDS : The Flyers best forwards are all on the wings. Unfortunately, most of these players are likely to turn into 4th liners at best, so there isn’t much to talk about. Ronqvist, Pilhal and Ottosson could all turn out to be decent wingers on a 4th line, but they all play the same position, so that could make things interesting in the next few seasons. With the Flyers likely to dump a few salaries next year, look for Jonas Ronqvist to get as good a chance as he is ever likely to get at training camp.
DEFENSEMEN : Like the forward group, the talent level on defence is so thin it is practically transparent. Beckett, Bell, Kavanagh and Sapozhnikov might be able to cut it in the NHL, then again, they might not. Either way, the list is not going to produce a quality prospect on defence.
GOALTENDING : Antero Nittymaki is the Flyers #1 prospect and the only one with any real chance of having an impact in the NHL. He is still a few years away, but will have time to develop. Might be a backup, might be a starter. Right now that is uncertain, but the Flyers will be hoping for him to really step up and improve.
SUMMARY : The Flyers had better win something this season, because when the rebuilding starts, things are going to get ugly. No talent up front, none on defence and only 1 decent prospect in goal spells disaster for the future unless something is done soon. GM Claudio Mannarino should be thankful for Vancouver, as their prospect list actually makes Philadelphia’s look slightly less than terrifyingly horrific…but only just.
KEY PROSPECTS : Ryan Bonni-D, Justin Morrison-RW, Kyle Freadrich-LW,
FORWARDS : Justin Morrison is an outside chance at making the NHL. He is the best prospect the Canucks have, which is a real worry for those in Vancouver. Kyle Freadrich almost has no hope of even getting close to the HFNHL and he is the 2nd best forward prospect.. The list is so bad that Lubomir Vaic might actually be in the running for a top 5 prospect ranking, and he left to play in DEL, where he was only mediocre.
DEFENSEMEN : Ryan Bonni has a decent shot at making the NHL, but he is the lone hope on the Canucks blueline for any kind of addition over the next few years in defence. Behind him there is nothing, darkness, space… and it doesn’t look likely to change soon.
GOALTENDING : The Canucks are one of the few teams without a legitimate goaltender on their prospect list. In the Canucks case, this isn’t a hole in a good prospect list, this is just another miserable addition to a bleak future.
SUMMARY : The good news is that the Canucks are in a Cup run this season. The bad news is that they certainly won’t be doing it in 2-3 years. There is a reason they only have 3 prospects at the top of this team review, and not a single prospect on the list would crack Buffalo’s top 15. Store this score in the memory banks folks, cause it could be the benchmark for bad lists, and with no real high picks next season the Canucks could break their own record next year…except for that fact that in order for that list to get any worse, there has to be something someone would want to take off GM Hugo Fugere’s hands, and that isn’t likely.
So to summarize, here are the scores…The 69 mark was the median, and the average was 68
6). San Jose-75.5
12). New Jersey-70.5
17). St. Louis-69
18). NY Islanders-68.5
19). NY Rangers-68.5
21). Los Angeles-67
26). Tampa Bay-60
Teams to look out for next season…
These are the teams that are likely to be the big movers (both up and down) between now and next year. Of course, something like this is always tough to predict due to trades, but why not take a shot? This is one area where being bad can be good, in that a dropping score is likely to be because of a players promotion to the Pro’s, so keep that one in mind when checking the list out.
1). OTTAWA SENATORS : 5 first round picks in 2002 says it all. The Sens are going to get a lot better on draft day. Expect them to leap-frog a number of teams.
2). BUFFALO SABRES : Hard as it will be to improve that score, it could happen. Hannan will make the pro’s, but 4 1sts will be a big addition. Watch for Svatos to rise.
3). DETROIT RED WINGS : Not likely to lose anything big on that list, and with a solid 1st and 4 2nd rounders, the Wings should look better this time next year.
4). COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS : Will lose Kolanos to the Pro’s, but with a top 3 pick in the draft and a lot more, should climb nicely.
5). PHOENIX COYOTES : Two 1sts will give Phoenix much needed depth, and with a list this bad, how could they not jump up the rankings?
1). COLORADO AVALANCHE : Huselius will be a big loss, and Rick Berry should make the team too. No 1st rounder next season to soften the loss.
2). ST. LOUIS BLUES : Heatley will be a massive departure, and no draft pick could replace that. 1 or 2 others might make the team as well.
3). CALGARY FLAMES : Like St.Louis, the loss of Kovalchuk and Datsyuk will kill their score, but a top 5 pick and the extra 1st will help ease the loss.
4). CAROLINA HURRICANES : Cole is a lock for the team next season, Varlamov will no longer qualify, while Kolnik and Ritchie are a chance. No 1st either.
5). EDMONTON OILERS : How can you not feel sorry for GM Andrew Gledhill? At least Vrbata will help the pro team. Having no 1st is really gonna hurt this draft.
05-19-2010, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Ryan Bonni never made it back to the NHL, and Justin Morrison never got a sniff either, although he is a very good European league player now.
05-20-2010, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
The reality is I had traded quite a few early picks and prospects (none who amounted to much) to land the foundation I still have today - Chara, Klesla, Lecavalier (turned into Carter),and other assets that built a perennial contender. .
But at this point, the Blues also began restocking through the draft and over the next four drafts restocked the system with the class of '02 (Paille, Josh Gorges, Ian White, David Leneveu), '03 (no picks in first two rounds, but landed Bissonnette and Byfuglien in later rounds), '04 (Bolland), and perhaps my best draft class in '05 (Latendresse, Mikkelsson, Cogliano, Bartulis, Boll). But it shows how much time it takes. My draft classes from '05 to '09 actually look even better in terms of restocking the team, but not many have cracked the NHL as of yet.
05-20-2010, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
05-20-2010, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: New York
05-20-2010, 12:10 PM
Lundmark has turned out to be better than a lot of the others at the top of that '99 draft, even though he's a borderline NHL'er to this day. David Hales health problems have set him back but he's still in the NHL. Krahn's injuries have ruined his career as well, though he's still plugging away. Raycroft peaked early and will probably struggle to find an NHL job this summer as it looks like the Canucks will let him walk.
I will say that the quality of prospects took a big jump from a few lean years.
05-20-2010, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Utica, NY
05-21-2010, 01:12 PM
Unfortunately it seems that the HFBoards for HFNHL prior to 2003 has been lost. In 2003, the HFBoards changed software. More recently FHBoards changed ownership. I've contacted both the older owners and the present owners, and both were kind enough to search for the old database, but neither has it. Perhaps the 1999-2000 Award winners will always remain lost.
With that said - I've started to archive the present database and will create a page in the history where the major articles, award winners etc. are stored and can be accessed in case this database is lost or erased.
05-21-2010, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Great White North
Thanks for doing this, Matthew!
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