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An in depth look at the Flyers top prospects by NS

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07-18-2004, 09:51 AM
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An in depth look at the Flyers top prospects by NS

This is a boring offseason, so I thought maybe a post like this could spawn some great hockey talk.
Plus, I am working on a sunday morning, and am bored.

I am in no way an expert on NHL prospects.
In fact, I haven't even seen the majority of these kids plays.
However, taking into account numerous scouting reports I have read, some visual knowledge, and my own assumptions, here is how I rank the Flyers prospects.
Don't crucify me, I am trying here.

*Pitkanen, Sharp, and Seidenberg will be considered prospects still
*Drozdetsky is not being considered


1. Joni Pitkanen D 6'3 195 lbs Finland 9/19/83

Pitkanen has all the talent in the world.
He is big, can skate, and has offensive abillity.
A future PP QB.
He needs to toughen up though, and be more consistent in this own end.

Ceiling: Future Norris Winner
Floor: Second pair/offensive defensmen
Comparable Player: Chris Pronger minus the physical edge
NS'S prediction: NHL number 1 defensmen

2. Jeff Carter C 6'3 185 lbs Canada 1/1/85

Carter has the size, speed, skill, and all around game to be great.
He needs to grow into this body though, and become a bit more physcial.
He has all of the tools, and was not indeed, a reach where the Flyers picked him.

Ceiling: First line center, all-star
Floor: Great third line center
Comparable player: Mats Sundin
NS'S Prediction: Take the ceiling, this guy's got it

3. Mike Richards C 5'11 185 lbs Canada 2/11/85

Richards does everything very good, but doesn't exactly excell at any one thing.
Tenacious worker, great on faceoffs, and a heart and soul type who has future captain written all over him.
Doesn't really need to improve anything, it's just a matter of seeing how well his work ethic and solid play can make up for his lack of pure skating abillity, in the NHL.

Ceiling: Second line center
Floor: Third line center
Comparable Player: Mike Ricci
NS'S prediction: Great third line center

4. Antero Nittymaki G 6'1 175 lbs Finland 6/19/80

Niitymaki is a very quick goalie who has a strong glove hand and is awesome in his side to side movement.
Stick side is his weakness.
Since coming over to NA two years ago, he has proven the Flyers right that he is a top prospect, and has been as good or better than Ouellet.

Ceiling: Very good NHL starting goalie
Floor: NHL backup
Comparable player: Tommy Salo
NS'S prediction: There is no reason he can't be a Salo type, in his prime

5. RJ Umberger C 6'2 205 lbs USA 5/3/82

Umberger has a great combo of size and speed.
He is a very good skater and has playmaking abillity.
His work ethic and defensive desire has been questioned.
This must change for him to succeed, especially under Hitchock.
Boom or bust type.
Could move to wing.

Ceiling: First liner
Floor: NHL Journeyman
Comparable Player: Petr Nedved
NS'S prediction: Second liner in the NHL

6. Stefan Ruzicka RW 5'11 190 lbs Slovakia

Definitly a player on the rise. Since being drafted he has really gotten better, and brought attention to himself.
A pure sniper with decent skating skills.
Ruzicka is really tough to knock off the puck.
Needs to work hard and refine his skills, but has the talent.

Ceiling: 25+ goal scorer
Floor: 15 goal journeyman
Comparable player: Ladislav Nagy
NS'S Prediction: 20-30 goal guy

7. Denis Seidenberg D 6'0 180 lbs Germany 7/18/81

Boom or bust player.
Can skate, shoot, and has good hockey sense offensively.
Defensively he is inconsistent, and gets knocked off the puck very easily.

Ceiling: Second pair defensmen, 25+ points.
Floor: NHL 6th/7th D
Comparable player: Lubomir Visnovsky
NS'S Prediction: Too soft and shaky, take the floor here.

8. Patrick Sharp C 6'0 190 lbs Canada 12/27/04

Sharp is a very safe prospect.
He has already proven he is a capable fourth liner in the NHL.
The only question is, does he he have enough offensive upside to be a third liner.
Sharp's skill is below average, but he works hard and does all of the little things.
Could move to wing at some point.

Ceiling: Third liner
Floor: Very good fourth liner
Comparable Player: REM Murray
NS'S prediction: Great fourth liner, adequate third liner.

9. Ben Eager LW 6'2 210 lbs Canada 1/22/84

Eager has size, fights, hits, and works his butt off.
The skill is not there though, not yet at least.
Eager has all of the intangibles, he needs to develope his skills and work on his skating though.
A project, but there is upside.

Ceiling: Second line PF, 25 goal scorer
Floor: Fourth line, mucker/grinder type who never puts it together.
Comparable Player: Ethan Moreau, if he is good, Brad Isbister if he busts
NS'S Prediction: Take the Moreau type, 12-16 goals, gritty hard nosed play.

10. RJ Anderson D 5'11 180 lbs USA 7/16/86

Hard to predict a high school kid.
Alot of people viewed him as a big steal in this years draft, and compare him to Leopold at the same age.
We should know more about Anderson when he plays for the golden gophers in 05.
Definitly has the skill and offensive production at his level.

Ceiling: Second pair defensmen
Floor: AHL'er
Comparable player: Jordan Leopold
NS'S prediction: Ask me in two years when he has one year of college under his belt.

Honorable Mentions: Rob Bellamy, Rosario Ruggeri, Randy Jones, Alexandre Picard, Brent Robinson.


Most likely to succeed: Pitkanen, has all of the tools
Most likely to fail: Seidenberg, too soft and shaky
Highest Floor: Richards, consistent and solid as heck
Highest Ceiling: Pitkanen, again, all of the tools
Most underrated: Niittymaki, VERY good prospect
Most overrated: Seidenberg, I don't see it
Most ready: (of those not in the NHL) Jeff carter, proved it in the AHL
On the rise: Stefan Ruzicka
Biggest Boom or Bust: Umberger, could be great, or a journeyman
Biggest Sleepers: John Carter, Jussi Timonen


Center A+

Loaded here with superstud Carter, and two guys not too far behind, Richards and Umberger. Robinson and Voce figure, Sharp is a NHL'er already, and John Carter is a sleeper.
We are set here for YEARS.

Wing C+

We have some guys like Eager and Bellamy who figure to be gritty third line types in the NHL. However, the only wing prospect we have with legit goal scoring abillity is Ruzicka. We could use a little more depth here also.

Defense B-

Pitkanen makes the grade here himself. We really lack depth there, and big boys Woywitka and Vandermeer are now gone. If not for Pitkanen, this is a D+ position. This is the one position Clarke REALLY needs to work on. Luckily, Pitkanen is 20, and Johnsson and Markov are in their primes.

Goaltending B

Niittymaki is a very underrated, good prospect. Guys like Bruckler, Tremblay, and Houle are decent. Esche is in his prime, we are set here.

Overall B

This is the best group of prospects we have had since Clarke has been GM here.
The center position is loaded, we have one of the best defensmen prospects in the world, and a very good goalie prospects.
Lack of depth at wing and defense hold the grade back from an A-.

Hockeys future had us ranked 27th in February 2004, which is the biggest joke I've ever heard.
This group of prospects is definitly in the top half of the league imo.

I hope you guys enjoyed this.

Let's get some good hockey discussion going.


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07-18-2004, 10:48 AM
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forgot Eager has great speed, and that alone should make his floor third line checker, in my opinion

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07-18-2004, 11:24 AM
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great work.

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07-18-2004, 12:05 PM
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Great job man

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07-18-2004, 12:11 PM
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IMO our best group of prospects was back when we still had Woywitka, Vandermeer, Fraser, and Kozak. This was before we got Umberger and Eager too.

I think Alexandre Picard and Rosario Ruggeri were a bit underrated. I consider both to be better than R.J. Anderson especially right now. Seidenberg is a bit underrated in this thread he is solid on defense if given enough ice time IMO but can't play a role as a good 6th defensemen. Not yet anyway he needs to learn the NHL game first by given playing time.

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07-18-2004, 01:23 PM
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Good job man thanks

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07-18-2004, 02:19 PM
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A pretty good read overall. My thoughts...

I think you are a bit too pessimistic on Seidenberg. The guy put up 13 points in 58 games his rookie year which means he was about on pace for 20 points in a full season which is not bad for a rookie, I expect him to develop into decent 2nd pairing guy although he will need to play with a guy like Markov or Ragnarrsson.

I think you are a bit pessimistic on Richards as well. He has put up very good numbers in Juniors for Kitchener although the Rangers were a pretty talented team. I think Richards could become a very good 2nd liner though.

It's also a bit of a stretch to put RJ Anderson as our No.10 prospect. I like Ruggeri, Jones, and Picard a bit better because they have had success against tougher competition.

Overall though, a good read.

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07-18-2004, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyHigh
A pretty good read overall. My thoughts...

It's also a bit of a stretch to put RJ Anderson as our No.10 prospect. I like Ruggeri, Jones, and Picard a bit better because they have had success against tougher competition.
Agree, to put a kid that is still in HS and has a LONG way to go as a top prospect is in error. Yes, his upside could be great especially if he grows some, but lets not get ahead of ourselves just because someone compared him with Leopold.
Also Jones is a bottom pair guy max but still good to have around.

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07-18-2004, 04:39 PM
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nice List.

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