Now, I fully understand and agree with Nicklas Bergfors' and Mattias Tendenby's spots in the rankings - they do have more of an upside than Matthew Corrente as top 6 forwards - the real cause for discussion would be beyond the top 4 prospects. I don't think people doubt that Bergfors, Tendenby, Corrente, and Petr Vrana are at the top; but there are some movements I never would have guessed. Like Tyler Eckford being ranked behind T.J. Miller, Mark Fraser, and the recently drafted Brandon Burlon. Given that Eckford has been mentioned by name by Lou, he's probably ranked higher within the organization. Another example would be the assessment of Alexander Vasyunov's skill. Yes, he has plenty of it, but it really doesn't mean a whole lot if he's not going to be coming to New Jersey in the near future. Ditto Vladamir Zharkov. Also, why was Anssi Salmela on the list to begin with? I understand he's within age (23), but he's already "there" to a point, what with him coming straight from the Finnish league and the Finnish World Championships squad.
That all said, Ramsden has clear and very insightful write ups on each player, so you get an idea as to what he thinks their projection is. Unfortunately, should Ramsden's projections hold true, the Devils seem to have a lot of third-line forwards and depth defensmen in the system. Perhaps that's why Ramsden is still high on Vasyunov. It makes the Tendenby pick much more necessary, what with him being a skilled forward with the capacity for ludicrious speed. Based on how I see it so far, I can see a number of these guys getting at least a game with the team in limited capacity. Namely, Bergfors, Vrana, Corrente, Eckford, and Halischuk.
The real question we're all thinking with respect to these prospects- one that will be answered in training camp - is whether any one of them will make the team in October. Corrente is the popular and most likely choice; but with 7 other defensemen on the roster, even he may not be able to break through right away. That's the blessing and curse with prospects. You like their upside and you want them to play (and play well!) in the pros, but you know that some extra developmental time in a lower league wouldn't be the worst thing - at the same time, wondering how much more time will it take before they break through. And that's assuming they can do that.
One thing's for sure, I expect the Devils to pick up a prospect goaltender sometime in the next 2 seasons. Hopefully, he will go along much better than Jean-Francois Damphousse, Ari Ahonen, and Jeff Frazee - he may be right in line to replace one the best of all time. Hopefully, the Devils will pick the right one instead of just one.
Labels: 2008 Offseason, Devils Issues, Devils Prospects