Habsguy26 Future Watch Poll
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Hey guys and welcome back to my Future Watch. Today we'll be examining the Atlantic division. Please don't forget to leave a vote and comment, it really gives me the idea of how many people are actually reading these things through and whether I should even continue to do these because doing all the research and writing these puppies takes quite a bit of time (last one took me about 4-5 hours) so if you like the series show some support please! Also if you're on twitter don't forget to leave a follow @allanrayer!
10) Derrick Pouliot - Pittsburgh Penguins
drafted by PITT 1(8) in 2012
The only representee of the 2012 draft in part 2, Pouliot narrowly edged out Griffin Rienhart to crack the top 10. Pouliot possesses the raw talents, particularly in the offensive zone, to be a top-pairing, puck-carrying defenseman capable of taking over games. He hails from the same team as the Penguins 2011 first round pick Joe Morrow and was a frequent linemate of Morrow on the powerplay. In 72 regular season games with the Winterhawks, Pouliot managed 11 goals, 48 assists, and 79 penalty minutes.
The type of player Pouliot projects to be at the NHL level will be decided by how the Penguins develop him over the coming years. Given his size, skating, and keen ability to carry the puck, he could develop anywhere from an all-situation offensive defenseman like Kris Letang, to a puck-moving number four like Kris Russell, to a powerplay specialist who spends most of his time moving between the AHL and NHL. A lot of it will be up to the 18-year-old Pouliot as well. Defensemen such as Letang combine a fearless mindset in their style of play with an interminable commitment to conditioning and improving, two qualities which must come from within and are only proven over time.
9) Jon Merrill - New Jersey Devils
drafted by NJD 2(38) in 2010
Jon Merrill’s season didn’t exactly start the way he or the Devils wanted to as he was suspended by the University of Michigan indefinitely for an off-ice incident. He joined Team USA for the World Juniors in what was his first live game action of the season, and it wasn’t until after the tournament was over that his suspension was lifted. When he returned, he picked up right where he left off from his freshman season, displaying a calm, cool demeanor on the ice while showing off his elite two-way skills and power-play quarterbacking ability. While he’s likely to return to Michigan for his junior year, it won’t be long before he’s patrolling the Devils' blueline. The Devils are sorely lacking in players of his ilk so, as long as he keeps his head on straight, the sky is the limit for Merrill, who will be returning to the NCAA this upcoming season.
8) Joe Morrow - Pittsburgh Penguins
drafted by PITT 1(23) in 2011
The Portland Winterhawks finished the regular season with the third best record in the WHL and were far and away the most powerful offensive club in the league. So, on a team that includes many top prospects and highly ranked 2012 draft-eligible players, defenseman Joe Morrow still manages to stand out. Not only was he the top offensive defenseman for that club, he finished second among WHL defensemen with 64 points despite playing in only 62 games. Morrow currently leads the WHL in playoff scoring by a defenseman with another 12 points through 13 games. Morrow plays every game situation, and can do whatever is asked of him, whether leading a breakout from his own zone, or shutting down the opposing team's top scorers. Morrow really can do it all; if he was a part of a different organization without the kind of defensive depth that the Pittsburgh Penguins enjoy, he could already be playing in the NHL.
7) Eric Wellwood - Philadelphia Flyers
drafted by PHI 6(172) in 2009
I don't know much about the younger brother of Jets' forward Kyle, but I do know based off of his online scouting reports that he plays a similar game to Kyle in that the two have similar size and agility, and neither is overly physical. Though Eric’s offensive instincts are less than Kyle’s, his performance in the defensive end of the rink is superior. He has the ability to be a dynamic penalty killer. Wellwood was drafted for his defense and was even worked out on the blueline in the summer of 2009 during camps with the Flyers. He has the potential to be a very solid two-way forward even at the NHL level.
6) Calvin de Haan - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 1(12) in 2009
Just a little spoiler here: In the top 6, you're going to see 5 New York Islander prospects. That's what being so bad for so long will get you. Anyways, de Haan is a solid offensive defenseman who makes an excellent first pass and runs the power play. de Haan's greatest attribute is his outstanding skating. His fluid stride and quick feet allow him to play sound positional defense -- and make up for any mistakes he may make. Physicality isn't his strong suit right now with his slight frame, but he makes excellent decisions with the puck and interviewed well at the NHL Combine. de Haan will be in the Islander's line up next season no doubt and might see a role in their top 4 and will run the power play along with Mark Streit.
5) Kirill Kabanov - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 3(65) in 2010
Kabanov had the talent to be a top 5 pick in the 2010 draft and everyone knew it. But, the knock on him was his commitment to North America. After being drafted in the 3rd round, Kabanov committed to the QMJHL, putting Russia behind him. He may turn out the be the steal of the draft. Kabanov is a speedy winger who plays the game with boatloads of energy and has the hands to make the puck dance, Kabanov's game still needs plenty of work, especially in adding strength to match his enthusiasm on the ice as well as improving his play without the puck. After what is essentially a lost year developmentally, the upcoming season will be essential for any future success he might have. Kabanov likely will make the move from the QMJHL to the AHL next season. He is still a project and needs a few more years to develop before he makes an impact at the professional level. He projects as a top 3 winger with tons of offensive upside.
4) Matt Donovan - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 4(96) in 2008
Donovan is a big puck-moving defenseman. He makes a great first pass and has great vision. He has the ability to anchor the power play as well. In his first pro season he has shown a lot of improvement in his foot speed and will continue to improve all aspects of his game. Donovan also recently received the honour of being the Islander's top defensive prospect at their development camp, which i a big deal considering they have a ton of talent in the back end now. I couldn't find much info on Donovan but he projects to be a top pairing defender in the next few years and will be a permanent NHL'r next year.
3) Nino Niederreiter - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 1(5) in 2010
Nino Niederreiter had the kind of rookie season that he probably would prefer to forget. After starting the year on the injured list and missing the first month of action, Niederreiter played three games before hitting the press box as a healthy scratch. After scoring a goal in his second game back on the ice, Niederreiter suffered a concussion and missed another two weeks of games.Niederreiter is a hard-working player at both ends of the ice, moves well on his skates, and can be incredibly strong with the puck. However, the big questions going forward will be how quickly can he recover from his struggles this season and whether he can rebuild the confidence he will need to become a top-six winger for the Islanders.
2) Chris Krieder - New York Rangers
drafted by NYR 1(19) in 2009
Finally! Someone not in the Islander`s organization! We take a little break here with Chris Krieder from the Rangers. Winning the National Championship with Boston College would make for a fairly complete season for any prospect. Not for Kreider. Skipping the AHL and the NHL regular season, he has made the jump straight to the NHL playoffs and has not missed a beat. After almost cashing in on numerous chances in his first three playoff games, he managed to score the game-winning goal in Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators. Kreider is a complete package of size, quickness, smarts, scoring and passing ability that is coupled with a respectable defensive game. His offensive skills may not be elite, but he will contribute in different ways on the ice.
1) Ryan Strome - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 1(5) in 2011
Ryan Strome is a dynamic offensive talent who makes his presence known every time he steps on the ice. A dazzling player with the puck on his stick, he displays the vision, explosive skating ability, and quick hands of a premier play-making center. He has also shown the ability to put the puck in the net himself this season for Niagara, where he ranked third with 30 goals in only 45 games and led the team with 1.48 points-per-game.
Not overly strong, Strome instead relies on his speed and hockey sense to make plays at both ends of the rink. The 19-year-old forward has produced on big stages this season, pacing Team Canada's offense for much of the WJC and leading the pack during the IceDogs' OHL playoff run. Strome did not play in a game after sticking with the Islanders out of training camp, but his NHL debut is not far off.
Griffin Rienhart - New York Islanders
drafted by NYI 1(4) in 2012
It was sooo close between Rienhart and Pouliot for the 10 spot, but Rienhart comes in at number 11. Being drafted at the fourth spot, Reinhart seems to be a pretty safe selection considering defensemen are such a gamble being picked this high. He has the pedigree of a solid NHL'r because his father, Paul Reinhart, played over 600 NHL games during his career. Reinhart is a hulking defensemen that possesses above average skating ability for his size. He has a booming shot from the point, which helped him register 12 goals for the Oil Kings in 2011-12. He also makes a very good first pass out of the defensive zone. Given his ideal size, he really does not throw it around enough and punish opposing forwards, but he has a great stick to go along with superb defensive positioning.
Reinhart will definitely benefit from another year in Edmonton, defending their WHL championship and Memorial Cup berth. He will also fight for a spot on Team Canada's U20 WJC blue line. If he can improve his skating and develop a mean streak, the comparisons to Chris Pronger he has garnered would not be farfetched one bit. Though he is a few years away from making the jump to the NHL, Reinhart projects as a top-pairing shutdown defensemen with offensive upside
Nick Cosuins - Philadelphia Flyers
drafted by PHI 3(68) in 2011
Cousins plays with a combination of toughness and scoring ability that is similar to current Flyer Scott Hartnell, though he does not possess Hartnell's size. The strength of his game is his two-way play and competitiveness all over the ice; at the same time he did lead his junior team with 29 goals. The best parts of his offensive game are his passing and playmaking skills and a willingness to go to high traffic areas to create opportunities.
He will likely play in the AHL this season or make a return to The Soo to hone his skills. He is one of the forwards being looked to in the future to play the two-way, compete-all-over-the-ice style that the organization has always preferred to play. While it will take him two or three years to add the strength and bulk to compete at the NHL level on a nightly basis, Cousins should fit in well as a second or third line center with Philadelphia.
Scott Wedgewood - New Jersey Devils
drafted by NJD 3(84) in 2010
A technically sound, hybrid style goaltender with great down-low net coverage and reflexes, Wedgewood often plays like he has ice in his veins. He was often faced with the unenviable task of getting barraged with shots on a nightly basis more times than not in his first season as a full-time starter in Plymouth and actually seemed to thrive under the heavy pressure. While fatigue appeared to be an issue on occasion in his first season as a starter, expect that to be less of a problem as he continues to develop. Wedgewood has the makings of a big-game goaltender and has shown the ability to be a dominant workhorse, often carrying the team on his back for large stretches of time.
While he is far from a finished product, Wedgewood’s second full season as a starter in the CHL was a resounding success and it looks as though he has the ability and traits needed to eventually develop into a number one NHL calibre goaltender down the road. Though it will tough to fill Marty's shoes, Wedgewood will make a suitable replacement.
Anyways guys, there you have it. Sorry about the repetitiveness of the Islanders' but they just have so much talent in the wings, it was hard not to include all of those guys. Have a wonder rest of the week and see you soon with part 3, where I will move west and highlight the central division. Thank you for reading and please don't forget to vote and comment.