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June 1, 1998

June 1, 1998

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.

TOP PROSPECTS

Quiet kid could make noise

Brad Stuart has a booming shot-if not a booming voice. The soft-spoken Regina Pats” defenseman prefers to make noise with his on-ice exploits. And they spoke volumes during the 1997-98 Western League season. Stuart had 20 goals and 65 points in 72 games. His plus-minus of plus-49 was the best on a talented Regina team. No wonder Stuart will be a certain first round selection in the NHL”s 1998 entry draft. He was ranked fourth overall among North American skaters by the NHL”s Central Scouting Bureau in its year-end rating and third overall by Draft Preview. “He”s certainly a very mobile skater,” said CSB director Frank Bonello. “He”s a powerful skater with pretty good speed and he handles the puck very well. He”s quick reacting. He makes good decisions. He has a good shot…

NHL TEAM STORIES

Rebuilding from ground up

This will be the most important draft for New York Rangers” GM-president Neil Smith if for no other reason than his team is rebuilding. “I”m trying to draft players with a long-term Rangers” emphasis, rather than strictly their asset value,” said Smith, who often in his previous eight drafts dealt away picks to get proven players. Now, however, Smith hopes to get players who will spend most of their careers playing for the team that picked them. His team needs to get younger, bigger and faster. The Rangers don”t fig-ure to get a player who will make an immediate impact, but they should get a solid future NHLer with the seventh pick overall. Calling The Shots: Director of scouting Martin Madden makes the final call on picks. Smith is in charge of the…

NHL TEAM STORIES

System needs replenishing

The entry draft for the Detroit Red Wings represents something of a Catch-22. Because they”ve been so strong in the regular season, they haven”t picked higher than 22nd overall in the past five years. That makes the odds of unearthing a franchise player for the new millennium rather slim. On the flip side, because their first-rounders are generally low picks, it makes it easier to surrender them in trades. That”s just what they did when they packaged a No. 1 pick along with defenseman Paul Coffey and center Keith Primeau to get left winger Brendan Shanahan and defenseman Brian Glynn from the Hartford Whalers in 1996. That said, it”s unlikely the Wings will trade away another top pick over the next couple of years. With their prospect pool dwindling, the Wings need to…

FEATURES

The Underrated

Peter Forsberg holds an esoteric honor. Of the 448 players ranked by The Hockey News since the first Draft Preview was published in 1986. none has been so vastly underrated as the Colorado Avalanche superstar center. Forsberg was rated the 25th-best prospect in 1991. He was picked sixth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers and has gone on to surpass that year”s top-rated player, Eric Lindros. “He can”t finish like Markus Naslund,” said one scout, “though he compensates in other areas.” Forsberg has 98 goals and 343 career NHL points; Naslund of the Vancouver Canucks has 63 goals and 145 points. Listed below are THN”s top five rated players since 1986, their draft year teams, their current NHL teams (if applicable) and the player most underrated by THN each year. 1986 No. 1…