I've seen about 55-60 of the guys on this list- some of them numerous times, some of them for just a couple of games. So, in making this list, I'm using my own impressions and combining those with what I've heard from respected sources to make a ranking. This will undoubtedly change after the World U 18s soon- I'll make a final ranking after that. 1. Sid Crosby- Likely first-day pick. Has possible pro potential. 2. Jack Johnson- The only stud DF this year. 3. Gilbert Brule- A FW version of Johnson. 4. Benoit Pouliot- I'm a believer. The guy does it every time I see him. HUGE upside. 5. Bobby Ryan- When he's on he can be a near-unstoppable force. 6. Carey Price- Dominance continues into the playoffs 7. Tuuka Rask- The other elite goalie. Ahead of M. Schwarz IMO. 8. Anze Kopitar- Kept up his level in the higher Swedish league. Great upside. 9. Guillaume Latendresse- Are we seeing the real Latendresse now? If so..top 10. 10. Kendal McArdle- Up with a bullet. Has the mental game and big-time skills. 11. Marc Staal- Looks ready to burst into an elite-level DF. 12. Jack Skille- NHL style power winger. 13. Alex Bourret- Fun to watch. Height shouldn't hurt him. 14. Niklas Bergfors- Best Swedish prospect in a while. 15. Ryan O'Marra- Not as bowl-em-over as Skille but with a better scoring touch. 16. Marco Zagrapan- One of the slickest playmakers, puckhandlers. 17. Ryan Stoa- Enticing combination of size, grit and skill. 18. Devon Setoguchi- All-weather player with intensity. Coaches will love him. 19. Ryan Parent- Another coaches' fave. Will be a steady NHL DFman for 15 years. 20. Denis Istomin- The obligatory home-run hitting Russian hotshot. 21. Luc Bourdon- Plays a mature game- seems to have NHL adaptability. 22. Ondrej Pavelec- Watch him at the U18s. He's not that far behind Rask. 23. Matt Lashoff- Shows potentail and talent in all 3 zones. 24. Jakub Vojta- When he's on he's better than Kindl. Can be dominating if inspired. 25. Slava Trukhno- Gotta love the skill and the enthusiasm. 26. Teemu Laakso- Elite skills but MUST gain strength. 27. Mikko Lehtonen- Must gain consistency but plays pro-style game. 28. J.P. Levasseur- He hasn't done anything when I've seen him, but others... 29. Brian Lee- Couldn't get a good read on him at WJCs. Difficult to rank. 30. Andrei Zubarev- The most consistent- and creative/active- Russian DF. 31. Scott Jackson- The closest thing to a stud WHL DFman this year. 32. Adam McQuaid- The OHL version of Jackson- even better defensively. 33. Dan Bertram- On the bubble. U18 performance will determine much. 34. Alex Vincent- Nice size- has lateral movement issues. 35. Mathieu Roy- Dominant player on a bad team. No glaring weaknesses. 36. Martin Hanzal- Very smooth for a big player but must use size/intensity better. 37. Jakub Kindl- Yeah, I know. He just hasn't done it for me this year. 38. Risto Korhonen- Rugged and tough but not much puck sense. 39. Ray Macias- Elite skater and often inspired player. Big upside and downside. 40. Chris Durand- Looks like a player but didn't show polished play as expected. 41. Michael Blunden- Up and down pro-style but lacking imagination and finish. 42. Oscar Bartulis- Very, very steady and mature if unspectacular. 43. Vladimir Karpov- Mystery man could be a big sleeper. Hard to gauge. 44. Justin Abdelkader- I have never seen him but he's a recent riser. 45. Michael Sauer- This all depends on how his recovery holds up. 46. Marek Bartanus- Loads of skill- a real teaser. Needs consistency. 47. Dan Ryder- Reminds me a little of Mike Richards. 48. Steve Downie- Superpest wants to win and always tries to find a way to do so. 49. J. P. Paquet- Doesn't stand out but is steady. Not an elite skater yet. 50. Vladimir Sobotka- Exciting buzz-bomb with skills. Has the pizzazz to combat size. 51. Radek Smolenak- Not the smoothest guy but he has eyes/hands/leg strength. 52. Jeff Frazee- Keeps turning in top-notch peformances under pressure. 53. Blair Jones- Very consistent pro-style winger with no big weaknesses. 54. Chris Lawrence- Like Vojta- when I've seen him he's been inspired. But others.. 55. Viateslav Buravchikov- Steady but must assert himself more. 56. Marc-Andre Gragnani- Smart, skilled and getting better with each game. 57. Mattias Hellstrom- Made great strides- has begun to break out. 58. Andrew Cogliano- I have doubts as to how well his flash will translate to the NHL 59. Brendan Mikkelson- Unsure. Neither elite DF skills nor elite puck movement. 60. Vitali Anikeenko- Big upside if the toolbox comes together. On the bubble- Mathieu Aubin- Elite vision but is he a perimeter guy? Chad Denny- Keeps improving both skating and decision-making. Anton Skorkyh- Big Russian starting to round of the rough edges. Perrti Lindgren- Has found puck-patience, vision and scoring touch recently. Sebastien Karlsson- Pro-style player with breakout potential. Tomas Kudelka- Very inconsistent but can wow you on occasion. Matt Niskanen- I have no idea. Highly regarded by many. James Neal- On the rise. Consistent pro-style winger who may break out. Patrick Davis- Nice skater still putting the toolbox together. Richard Lelkes- Power forward but lacks the intensity and decisiveness to excel.