Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hockey's Future: Capitals Top 20 Prospects

Hockey's Future has updated its Top 20 Caps Prospects (with a couple of paragraphs on each player) and the only thing that really jumps out at me is that Francois Bouchard has leap-frogged Tomas Fleischmann. Travis Morin's low ranking and the omission of Viktor Dovgan have some scratching their heads, but all in all, the list is rather unsurprising (and it's great to see two goalies so high on the list). Here it is, with a cherry-picked, not-always-in-context money quote for each player:

1. Nicklas Backstrom, C - "has the potential and maturity to center a first line as soon as next season"
2. Eric Fehr, RW - "with his impressive offensive prowess and ongoing success in the AHL, Fehr will not be a man with two teams for much longer"
3. Semen Varlamov, G - "quick legs, and a very quick glove, which lets him excel at breakaways, especially shootouts"
4. Francois Bouchard, C/RW - "he might not just contribute, but be an impact player"
5. Tomas Fleischmann, LW - "with great hockey sense, along with an impressive shot and playmaking ability, Fleischmann has excellent offensive potential"
6. Michal Neuvirth, G - "a well-rounded butterfly style goaltender who shines under pressure situations. Rarely getting rattled, his mental toughness is remarkable for his age."
7. Chris Bourque, LW/RW - "has all intangibles -- great hockey sense, excellent skating, leadership, competitiveness, and above all, the ability to put himself in the right positions to score"
8. Jeff Schultz, D - "all the physical potential to become a keystone defenseman at the NHL level"
9. Patrick McNeill, D - "has enormous offensive potential, and is defensively sound"
10. Keith Seabrook, D - "has an incredibly hard shot from the point, and an ability to find open shooting lanes"
11. Oskar Osala, LW - "has incredible offensive talent, and at 6'4 his great speed and skating ability is very rare"
12. Sami Lepisto, D - "One of the best young defensemen in Finland, Lepisto excels at puck control; with a very calm demeanor he makes good passes and exudes confidence with the puck."
13. Joe Finley, D - "His incredible size, mixed with a certain aggressiveness, gives him the ability to take control of a game from a defensive standpoint."
14. Maxime Daigneault, G - "With good size, and an aggressively challenging style, Daigneault covers a lot of space in the net and uses his butterfly technique and quick glove to stymie shooters."
15. Sasha Pokulok, D - "Out of all the defensemen in the Capitals prospect system, Pokulok may be the most well-rounded."
16. Andrew Gordon, RW - "Gordon has what every club in the NHL looks for in offensive players: consistency at a high level."
17. Travis Morin, C - "His great playmaking skills, matched with excellent puckhandling, makes Morin successful on the power play."
18. Mathieu Perreault, C - "has enormous offensive upside"
19. Stephen Werner, RW - "Werner is a good playmaker and makes good decisions. He has a hard shot and is good through traffic, but his calling card is his speed."
20. Jamie Hunt, D - "extremely quick and a very good skater for his size"


Tyler said...

Surprising: Bourque above Schultz!

maruk said...

Chris Bourque = our own Chris Drury?

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

Best thing about Bourque's listing... Instead of his old listings as a left wing only, he's listed as a switch hitter of sorts at both left and right wing. I think we all know the Caps are pretty much set on the left side, so his best chance to crack the Caps lineup is definitely on the right.

Hopefully if he doesn't make the squad next year out of camp they'll play him on the right in Hershey to get him as accustomed to the position as possible.

Also good to see Varlamov ranked so highly. Hopefully when Olie is done in a few years, he'll split duty with Johnson for a year to get used to the schedule and get some NHL experience, then take the job over in his second year.

JP said...

Personally, I'm hoping that Varlamov can split time in Olie's last year (since I'm certain Olie will sign one more contract before hanging 'em up).

If there's ever a point at which we enter a season with BJ as our #1 or #1a, I'm going to be significantly less-than-thrilled.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

True indeed, but Varlamov is going to need at least two years in the minors, and probably split up and down time the year after. Goaltenders usually need a lot of prep work before they're NHL ready.

I don't know how realistic it is to expect the V-man to be ready to take over while Olie still has gas in the tank. But, like you, I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that he will be.

Anonymous said...

i agree with jp, we have had plenty of time to prepare for kolzig leaving, having johnson as our starter is not an option (hopefully)