Sunday, March 16, 2008


New Devils Prospect Rankings at HF

I know, what a creative title. Jared Ramsden has the new top 20 prospect ranking list at Hockey's Future. As expected, Nicklas Bergfors and Matt Corrente remain at the top; Matt Halischuk breaks into the list thanks to his World Junior Championship experience; and Barry Tallackson bizarrely is still on the list despite being there for nearly 6 years now.

In any case, I'd like to make a fairly uninformed prediction who from this list you will see in New Jersey in the future. If you have any thoughts or opinions about these guys, please let me know. I'm willing to entertain all angles.

Get the Jerseys Ready (Eventually):
  • Petr Vrana - He's leading Lowell in scoring and his versatility likens him to Sergei Brylin. Given that Brylin's effectiveness is dropping from month to month, I'd expect Vrana to step in to replace him within the next few seasons, if not next season.
  • Nicklas Bergfors - Not a lot of production in Lowell; but he did make the team out of training camp and injuries has slowed him down. Still, he's got top 6 forward potential and talent; he'll probably get a longer look next season.
  • Rod Pelley - Uh, wait, he's already played 63 games with New Jersey. And he already has a jersey.
  • Mark Fraser - I know, with 9 d-men on the roster, why another defenseman? He looked fairly good in a call-up last season and he's a big, physical player. If Salvador doesn't re-sign or if the Devils clear out some of the quasi-regulars (e.g. Sheldon Brookbank), Fraser could step in. If not next season than the year after.
  • Nick Palmieri - The Devils are looking to bring him right to Lowell. He did well at camp back in September. But the last prospect the Devils had that was primarily a goal scorer was Pierre Dagenais, so I wouldn't anoint him to be the next goal scoring machine. Regardless, the Devils organization likes him and that's a big positive.
  • Matt Corrente - Lou rates character and discipline highly and those are the only real questions one could have about Corrente (e.g. getting suspended in juniors). Other than that, Corrente is solid.
Probably, But...:
  • Kirill Tulupov - I love what I'm reading about Tulupov...except that he needs work on his defensive coverage. If that means he just needs experience and someone to guide him, great. If that means he has a lot of trouble with decision making, it could make the difference between physical NHL defenseman and physical AHL defenseman.
  • Alexander Vasyunov - I hear about his talent, but he doesn't get a lot of minutes in Russia. If he can use that same talent while getting significant time in Lowell, then we'll see him at the Rock.
  • Matt Hoeffel - Still recovering from injury, the word is that his game is similar to Jay Pandolfo's. That's nice and all; but he's still a project.
  • Matt Halischuk - Great skater, great job at the WJCs for Canada, and he appears to have some solid penalty killing attributes. Too bad the Devils have more of their share of checking forwards, otherwise he'd be more of a sure thing.
Expect Them in Lowell for Quite a Bit:
  • Tyler Eckford - He's doing extremely well for Alaska-Fairbanks and it looks like his conversion to defense was successful. I just wonder how high the ceiling is for Eckford? I think he'll be seeing some significant time in Lowell.
  • T.J. Miller and Mark Fayne - Two defensemen, Miller is in college and Fayne is in juniors. One is developing into an all-around defenseman, the other is developing into a physical defender. Why are they both long shots? Because the Devils have a ton of depth here; they both need to explode to get some serious consideration.
  • Vladamir Zharkov - For someone who can skate real well and have good offensive skills; he got passed over again for the WJCs and like Vasyunov, he doesn't get a lot of time in Russia. At least Alexander was named to the roster.
  • Jeff Frazee - Wow. From USA starter at the WJCs to now becoming the backup at Minnesota. Harsh. Guess the Devils will continue to search for that goalie of the future that they won't need until 2011 or so.
  • Tony Romano - Talk about poor seasons. I know injuries were a factor; but he needs to have an excellent season in 2008-09 to continue being considered as a potential player.
  • Nathan Perkovich - Another big forward prospect. He's done very well at Lake Superior State; but he's still a project more than anything else.
Again, all of these opinions are just gut reactions from what little I know about these guys. If you happen to think otherwise, please let me know. I'm always interested in how the Devils' prospects are doing.

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hey man, interesting post. But, what's this about Brylin's effectiveness dropping from month to month? his current salary may be a little high considering the cap, but the guy is a solid NHLer. No one on the Devils can play every forward like this guy, and doesn't complain when he plays 4th line. That's pretty valuable in itself. seems like every year someone out there says he's not effective.
Great post, I have to admit I agree with most of what you said. Brylin, Salvador and Pando need to go and get Vrana, Bergfors, Corrente and Fraser on this squad. I'm tired of seeing aging vets playing while younger, faster and cheaper kids with bigger up-side could be playing. How may 30+ yr old checking fowards do we need? Lets bring back Rasmussen and Asham!!!
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