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Future Watch 2006

Future Watch 2006

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

Features

Makings of a list

NHL stars such as Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo and Alexander Ovechkin once graced the No. 1 rung of the Future Watch top-50 prospect ladder, but none did so with the dominance of Evgeni Malkin. The 19-year-old Russian center appeared first on the ballot from all 21 NHL scouts who provided a list of already-drafted prospects. The previous two winners of the Future Watch top-50 list – Kari Lehtonen and Ovechkin – already established themselves as NHLers so they weren’t eligible for the competition. That left Malkin to run away from a talented field that included prospects such as Jack Johnson, Bobby Ryan and Marc-Andre Fleury. “He’ll be an impact player immediately,” said one scout. “Can you imagine Pittsburgh with (Sidney) Crosby, Fleury, Malkin, and maybe even Phil Kessel (projected No. 1 draft pick in…

Features

Growth chart

There’s an incongruence in the hockey world around which we need to be aware, though not necessarily afraid. At the NHL level, the game has returned stronger than anticipated. Revenues will approach, if not surpass, previous high-water marks. The product has changed for the better and, particularly in Canada, the enthusiasm for it is infectious. Time will tell whether that fever spreads to the grassroots. What we do know is the growth rate of minor hockey participation in Canada and the United States has flattened, the women’s game notwithstanding. Industry players – including the NHL, equipment manufacturers, national associations, etc. – will continue to monitor the trend and co-operate to plant more seeds, but in the end it will be the game itself that dictates its future. As long as it evokes passion…

Features

REPORT CARDS

A panel of 21 NHL talent evaluators provided grades on top-10 prospect lists and 21-and-under NHLers. Results were blended and ranked. The 2005 rank is in parentheses.…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Farm system still searching

The long process of rebuilding the Calgary Flames’ system is under way, though far from complete. Finally able to have enough legitimate prospects to build a minor league team again, the Flames have spent the past few drafts restocking the system, with mixed results. Only one player from the 2000 draft – goaltender Brent Krahn – even remains on the organization’s radar. That’s more of the same for a franchise with only three of its own draft choices on its NHL roster (Chuck Kobasew, Matthew Lombardi and Dion Phaneuf). However, there are some potential players from the past few years. Here are the top five prospects: 1. ERIC NYSTROM LW, OMAHA (AHL) A first-year pro after graduating from the University of Michigan, Nystrom had a strong training camp and is making the adjustment to the professional game. He…