Monday, November 06, 2006


A Prospective Word

For over 3 years, I've been posting at Hockey's Future's Message Boards, which is one of the best hockey forums and clearly the best for hockey prospects on the Internet(tm). Hockey's Future, the site, also lists updates, interviews, and other prospect related information as well as detailed insights to each team's system. A few weeks back, they did their bi-annual ranking of each NHL team based on the strength of their prospect system. The top 15 are in this article, with the bottom 15 are in this other article.

The New Jersey Devils are ranked 22nd out of all 30 teams, which seems about right. The Devils have a history of drafting very well late in each in round thanks to the work of David Conte and the Devils' scouting staff. You can see examples of this on the ice today: Patrik Elias (51st overall in 1994), Scott Gomez (27th overall in 1998), Brian Gionta (82nd overall in 1998), Paul Martin (62nd overall in 2000), and Cam Janssen (117th overall in 2002). Zach Parise (17th overall in 2003) and Travis Zajac (20th overall in 2004) are more recent examples of the success of Devils' drafting. As a result, there's only so much in the system. The Devils have plenty of power forwards (e.g. Barry Tallackson, Jason Ryznar, Tuomas Philman), as well as a good number of defensive prospects (e.g. Matthew Corrente, Tyler Eckford, Mark Fayne, Mark Fraser). They don't have a lot of skilled forwards in the system beyond Nicklas Bergfors and maybe Alexander Vasyunov. Plus, while they have the numbers, there isn't a stud in the goaltending department unless Jeff Frazee steps it up. So the Devils' system isn't bare, but it has seen better days. Of course, after all they've done in the past, I'm not going to doubt Lou, David, and the scouts now.

Mind you, I'm just going off second-hand information for these prospects. So take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

If you want to have an idea of how the Devils' prospects are doing throughout their respective seasons, there's this great site for you. Belizarius at Hockey's Future keeps track of the Devils' prospects and their stats at all levels at his amazing website. He even found out where Anton Kadeykin ended up! Really!

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