I am using HF's prospect criteria. I am assuming the amount of games is as of before the season started, so while I am factoring the performance of those games, I am not factoring them in when I am considering if a player is a prospect or not. (No doubt I'll make a mistake or three here, so let me know what you feel, but also let me know if I made any mistakes) #11 - Calgary Flames Flames General Manager Daryll Sutter knew all along who he wanted heading into the 2003 NHL entry draft. That man was Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels defenseman, 9th overall pick in the draft, and overall bad guy. Phaneuf has a real attitude problem. Problem, that is, to the players who tick him off. Phaneuf can hit, fight, score, pass, move the puck out, outmuscle bigger guys.. you name it, Phaneuf can probobly do it. Arguably the best defenseman in the draft, Phaneuf has already wowed Flames fans at training camp this year. And what would a top notch defensive prospect be without a top notch offensive one to go with him? Chuck Kobasew has already played just under what's required for Calder (and prospect) eligability, and has top-notch offensive skills, and is one of the few Flames prospects projected to be a top 6 forward. Perhaps the biggest surprise this year has been Matthieu Lombardi, though. A blisteringly fast skater, Lombardi has been compared for former Flame and current Thrashers, Marc Savard. Possessing a very notable offensive skillset, perhaps his biggest asset is his ability to do everything at top speed. But the biggest strength in the Flames' system is not the top end guys, but the depth. Eric Nystrom, Andrei 'Sumo' Medvedev, Brent Krahn, Andrei Taratukhin, Dany Sabourin help form a very deep core of possible future NHL'ers. The big weakness in the Flames system, however, is at left wing, where none of the players mentioned here play. #12 - Anaheim Mighty Ducks Ducks scouts are apperantly big fans of scoring goals. You wouldn't know it by watching the big club in the playoffs last year, but their organization is teeming with potential scorers. The most notable of which is Joffrey Lupul, 7th round pick in the 2002 entry draft. Already playing on the big club for the '03-'04 season, Lupul excells at finding the open slot and burrying the puck into the back of the net. Able to play all forward positions makes Lupul especially versatile, though Lupul could stand to add some size & strength to his frame, and continue to improve his skating. Potential power forward, Ryan Getzlaf, is a big go-to-the-net type of player who loves the puck on his stick. Many thought that he'd go much earlier than 19th overall at this year's entry draft, so the Ducks may have picked up a bit of a steal. Getzlaf in particular has a very, very good shot, and some have compared him to Bill Guerin. From scoring goals to stopping them, Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has played against men for a while now, for his age, and has succeeded at every level. Playing in the AHL right now, Bryzgalov projects to possibly a #1 goaltender someday. Also of note is Mark Popovic, a smooth skating two-way defenseman able to play in all positions. Other prospects of note in the Ducks system are Tim Brent, Cory Pecker, Corey Perry, and longest-name canidate, Pierre-Alexander Parenteau. #13 - Atlanta Thrashers Back at the 2002 Entry Draft, the Atlanta Thrashers organization took a lot of heat from the media and fans alike for selecting goaltender Kari Lehtonen, the highest European goaltender ever selected, at #2 overall instead of the smooth skating Jay Bouwmeester. And while the casual fan might still look at this as a mistake, those who have seen Kari in action realize that not only is Lehtonen is good.. he has the potential to be the best goaltender in the NHL. Lehtonen is a butterfly goaltender who relies on his size & positioning to get things done, but that's not all. Lehtonen has the ability to adapt his style into a stand-up goaltender when it suits his purpose. He is such a good goaltending prospect, that he alone makes the Chicago Wolves, Atlanta's AHL affiliate, a bonefide Calder Cup threat. Beyond Lehtonen lies Brayndon Coburn, a steady albiet unspectacular defensemen out of the WHL. Coburn doesn't do anything particularly well except that he is so steady and calm that you seldom notice him - which is a good thing for a defenseman. Both Lehtonen & Coburn are the cornerstones of the future Thrashers in goal and on defense, and should be set to join the already-superstars Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley in a few years. The Thrashers could have a cup contender waiting in the wings. Beyond those top two, Jim Slater, a jack of all trades with a penchant for setting up plays and 23 year old Kirril Safronov, a two-way defenseman who has potential, but is taking his sweet time. Also in the system is Simon Gamache who may be too small for the NHL, but is already one of the best AHL players around. Should Gamache get around the stigma surrounding his size, he could be a reliable sniper. #14 - San Jose Sharks The Sharks last year had arguably the worst group of kids in the league, mostly 'cause they lacked bluechip offensive players. Enter Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier. Michalek, the Sharks first pick in the 2003 draft, has been compared to Jere Lehtinen, and could potentially be a 1st line, franchise winger. And while some may question Michalek's offensive potential, nobody complains about Steve Bernier's. Bernier is a real big guy who has an unteachable skill in scoring goals. Steve has been compared to Mike Bossy, as he's not the fastest skater in the world, but he can light the lamp. There have been some questions raised about his fitness levels, but those appear to be old news. And it wouldn't be an organizational depth chart without a few germans in the Sharks' system. The latest gem? Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has a knack for turning up in the offensive zone where forwards least expect him. Very quick on his skates, Ehrhoff can jump into the play with ease, but is no slouch in his own zone either, though he could use his size more. Somewhat dissapointing is Marcel Goc who needs to improve. Former Leafs prospect, Brad Boyes, moved to San Jose in the Owen Nolan deal, continues to be one of the best AHL players in the league, and is still very young. And a good vote for 'where did he come from?' in the NHL this year may be the undrafted former Collegiate defenseman, Tom Preissing, who is currently on the Sharks roster and is amongst the league leaders for rookie ice time. Other notables include Niko Dimitrakos, Mike Morris, and Josh Hennessy. #15 - Edmonton Oilers Organizational rankings like these never do the Oilers justice. While the Oilers always seem to have good prospects, they end up playing for the big club in the NHL so quickly, they are exempt from 'prospect' status quicker than you can say, 'Ales Hemsky'. Yes, these are new times for the Oilers system. The Post-Sather era has been kind to the Oilers, and right now, the next new hope is Chicoutimi goaltender, Jeff Druin-Deslauriers. Deslauriers is another QMJHL goaltender, so we know what to expect for the most part. However, what sets Deslauriers apart from his counterparts is his impressive size and his 'no fear' attitude when it comes to challenging shooters. Deslauriers could potentially be a #1 goaltender for the Oilers, something they desperatly need since the recent self-destruction of Tommy Salo. And while Deslauriers may be Best Prospect #1A, pepper-pot forward Raffi Torres would be Best Prospect #1B. Torres is already off to a sensational start in the NHL, though he's not technically a rookie, and will not be eligable for the Calder trophy this year. Torres compared quite a bit to Brendan Morrow of the Dallas Stars. 2003 1st rounder Marc-Antoine Pouliot figures to be a top 6 playmaking forward down the line, and Finn Jesse Niinimaki ought to be something like that as well. Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron is already playing a big role on the Oilers power play this season, and centre Jarret Stoll is playing in releif for the injured Marty Reasoner. As you can see, if anything else, the Oilers have an impressivly deep pool of prospects! But perhaps the toughest guys to peg and Jani Rita and Alexei Mikhnov. Both 1st round picks (99 & 00 respectivly) have had ups and downs. While both have immense potential, neither have made any impacts on the NHL yet, and are taking the long route to the big show. #16 - Carolina Hurricanes Franchise forwards are hard to find, but the Canes have done so with 19 year old Eric Staal. Staal has been a big-time player wherever he's gone. A graceful skater, Staal is quick, but not small. A great playmaker, but a good goal scorer too. Great offensivly, a good defensivly too. A coaches dream, Staal can play in any situation and suceed. Already, he is prooving that with a strong second month of the '03-'04 season. Compared to current Canes Captain, Ron Francis, Staal is the future of the Canes organization, and certainly one of the best prospects in the league. The club will revolve around him someday, and there is no worry to that. The worry is who to surround him with? Well, somebody that the Canes are hoping will be able to put the puck in the back of the net from a nice Staal pass is Ryan Bayda. Bayda, a former collegiate player, is just a good offensive prospects in any situation. Another big peice of the future Canes' puzzle will be goaltender Cam Ward. Ward, a member of the Memorial Cup winning Red Deer Rebels, is currently having a fantastic year in the WHL and figures on being a future #1 goaltender. Another, Slovak Tomas Malec, figures to be a future two-way defenseman, perhaps a 2nd or 3rd pairing man. The only think holding back Malec is his size. Others of note include Patrick DesRochers and Mike Zigomanis, but perhaps the most interesting of the 'other guys' is Danny Richmond. An offensive defenseman currently playing in Michigan of the CCHA, Richmond came Carolina and blew away coach Paul Maurice. And while Richmond and others have potential, the main concern with the Canes system is depth in all positions. #17 - Boston Bruins It was more than a surprise to some Bruins fans when the team announced, at the 2002 entry draft, that they were going to pick Finnish goaltender Hannu Toivonen with their 1st round pick. And while Toivonen has had mixed reviews over the last year and a half, he appears to be impressing Bruins management, enough to have them calling him the ever popular term, 'goaltender of the future'. Toivonen is a big butterfly goaltender with sharp reflexes, and will be plying his trade in Providence, Boston's AHL affiliate. Management expects a lot of him, and so far, he's lived up to to billing. And while we're on the topic of 1st rounders, 2001 1st rounder, Shaonne Morrisonn, continues to frustrate fans. While having a lot of potential, Morrisonn has had spotty reviews this year. Should he round into form, he is most definetly the first guy Mike O'Connell will call should one of his top 6 men on the big squad gets injured. Easily the biggest surprise of the 2003 draft, Patrice Bergeron isn't surprising Boston management. At the time of the draft, O'Connell & his scouts pegged Bergeron as a 1st rounder, but managed to snap him up in the 2nd round. Already a top 6 forward for the B's, the youngest player in the NHL to boot, Bergeron is impressing with his superb hockey sense. Not the most skilled player in the world, Bergeron is a 'thinking mans' hockey player who relies on his brain more than his brawn. Steady but unspectacular 2003 1st rounder, Mark Stuart, is about as sure of a thing as they can come. Stuart's potential looks to be a top 4 defenseman, probobly a steady 2nd pairing man who can be matched up against just about anybody. Other notables include Andy Hilbert, Sergei Zinovjev, and Lars Jonsson. While the Boston Bruins have improved the depth of their youngsters, there is no 'blow 'em away' young gun in the pipeline. But considering some of the Bruins best players are all still pretty young, that may not be a concern. #18 - Vancouver Canucks The days of the Canucks picking in the top 5 of the draft, once being a constant in life to the level of death and paying your taxes, are gone. Now, the Canucks prospects are often refered to as, 'Where did that guy come from?'. Case in point, Canucks rookie Jason King, drafted in the 7th round in the 2001 draft.. Currently leading the rookies in points and goals early on in the season, King is a scorer through and through with quick hands & a release. Jason is also very resilient around the net and is a deceptivly fast skater. On defense, Kirril Koltsov leads the way. Perhaps the best overall Canucks prospect in terms of potential, Koltsov is an immensly skilled offensive defenseman that harkens imagines of a young Sergei Zubov. Koltsov is completely inept when it comes to his own zone, and is prone to giveaways like crazy. However, these things come with time. 2003 1st rounder, Ryan Kesler, is a solid, two-way forward with good size and speed. Nothing in particular stands out about Kesler's game, though he may have some more offense tucked away in there. 6'4" goaltender, Alex Auld, is an aggressive goaltender who may someday be the Canucks #1 goaltender. Other notables include the immensly talented, but enigmatic Fedor Fedorov, the small but spunky Brandon Reid, and training camp stand out and former Leaf prospect, Tomas Mojzis who accord to Marc Crawford is the best Canucks defenseman not already on the NHL squad. And while the Canucks may have an impressive group of youngsters in terms of depth, the question is the top end group, which are not nearly as impressive as other squads. Still, the depth is fantastic, and with a few more 'Jason Kings', the Canucks could unearth some more sleepers in the mix. #19 - New York Rangers Now 20 years old, the New York Rangers had to know it'd take time before Fedor Tjutin became an NHL player. And while he's not this year, barring a massive surprise, Tjutin should be in the NHL next year. Fedor is big, strong, and a very impressive skater. Great at handling the puck, he could perhaps become the answer to the Rangers power play that will no doubt take a huge hit when Hall of Fame shoe in, Brian Leetch, hangs up the skates. And while we're on the big & strong topic, you can't ignore the impressive package that is 2003 1st rounder, Hugh Jessiman. Jessiman is a bit of a project, but has amazing potential to be a 'run 'em all over' power forward at the NHL level, but with good hands. Compared to Todd Bertuzzi, the comparison might actually, for once, be a good one. In goal, the Rangers have a very interesting prospect in Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was one of the best goaltenders in the Swedish Elite League, if not the best. A potential 'grand larceny' level steal, Lundqvist has the skill level to be a #1 goaltender, but it might take time. Others of note in the Rangers pipeline is Lee Fardeleau, Bryce Lampman, and Garth Murray, all of which have NHL potential, but probobly will not be impact players. Which is the concern, since after these guys, there may not be much there. However, with the top two guys in Jessiman and Tjutin, the Rangers should be happy with their potential of their top prospects. #20 - Phoenix Coyotes While not as strong as it once was, the Yotes prospects are nothing to scoff at. One can accuse the scouting staff in Arizona of trying to hit home runs rather than take the safe picks, but until they pan out, who are we to say weather it's right or wrong? Leading the pack in terms of potential has got to be former Cornell goaltender, David LeNeveu. David's stats in the NCAA were.. well let's just say, they are probobly reprinting some record books for some of that. LeNeveu backed up Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2003 WJC tournament, and plays a butterfly style with great reflexes and a calmness around him that makes the team in front of him play better defensivly. And if LeNeveu has the most potential, Jeff Taffe is the best right now. Currently enjoying a fantastic season in the AHL, Taffe, 22, has the potential to be a top 6 forward, but perhaps more likely will find himself as a 3rd liner. Potentially a late bloomer, Taffe plays a physical, offensive brand of hockey which makes him appealing. Another big centreman with a ton of potential is 20 year old Keil McLeod. Unable to come to terms with the Blue Jackets, the Yotes signed him up. McLeod is a very big young man at 6'5, and has very soft hands and a snap shot that is very reminiscent of Eric Lindros circa 1995. McLeod has top 6 potential too, and could find himself in the lineup sooner rather than later, as he's already physically mature enough to play in the NHL. Other interesting prospects with the Yotes include Igor Knyazev aquired in the Daniel Markov trade, former 1st rounder Fredrik Sjostrom, and the rambunctios Ben Eager. As with other teams, there are questions surrounding the depth & top end talent of the Yotes.