Saturday, July 24, 2010

Want to learn more about our prospects?

Premium Scouting does a rather thorough scrubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets' prospect pipeline with predictably mixed results.  Check it out here.

That is one fine photo of Columbus' rising blue liner.
Doesn't the number "7" look cool on a hockey jersey?
On the bright side, it's pretty clear that the authors like the talent that Scott Howson has drafted.  (Douggie MacLean's drafts....not so much.)

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the ranking of the top ten prospects, but I don't have a lot of reason to disagree as a collection:
  1. Nikita Filatov, LW
  2. Ryan Johansen, C
  3. John Moore, D
  4. Cody Goloubef, D
  5. Maksim Mayorov, LW
  6. David Savard, D
  7. Kevin Lynch, C
  8. Matt Calvert, LW
  9. Petr Straka, RW
  10. Tomas Kubalik, RW
Looking at that list, I'm also struck with the appreciation for why general manager Scott Howson drafted a couple goalies this past draft.  Not having ANY goalies in your top ten prospects probably is not a good thing.  

Howson's dogged efforts to beef up the blue line prospect pool clearly is paying off.  The description of John Moore really is exciting for any Columbus fan:
When you watch John Moore on the ice, you are immediately taken by his skating and presence which are NHL- ready today. Moore moves so smoothly and effortlessly around the ice in his 6’2” frame that you wonder why he is not in the NHL already. You have to search hard for the areas that Moore has to improve upon. As it is, Moore’s skating is what separates him from other prospects and at the same time is the source of his only real flaw. He carries the puck out of his zone and through the neutral zone with such ease. From there, he is able to gain the attacking zone and either take the puck to the net himself or use his skating to buy time for support. At that point, Moore puts his body in position to make easy passes to the on-coming player. I have yet to see an occasion where his squad doesn’t maintain possession once he gains the blue line. Moore moves well laterally with or without the puck. He’s particularly good at recognizing the offensive play and delivering a quick pass or slowing it down while maintaining possession until the play develops. Moore’s skating and explosiveness is on display when he decides to attack the puck carrier. He takes space away so quickly that he is able to often use his stick to separate the puck from the carrier and transition the other way. This is where he must improve because at the junior level he’s been able to get away with it as most players aren’t quick enough to react to Moore. They will be in the NHL. Also, Moore hasn’t had to be as physical as he will be to make the jump in the pro ranks. Moore’s other skills also appear ready as he has quick hands, handles the puck well, and has an arsenal of accurate, hard shots. If Moore can build his one on one skill to handle NHL caliber forwards, he should be a productive player for a long time.
It's a nice problem when your talent is so far beyond your competition that the scouts have no real idea how well you'll adjust to the big leagues.  If he stays healthy (and we have no reason to believe he won't), I have a feeling that he'll be a really good one.

Lastly, we've got a lot of wingers in the pipeline...a position area where we're pretty well stocked on the big club.  Filatov's oil-and-water history with the club (or was it just Hitchcock?) combined with our blue line deficiencies makes his being dangled as trade bait totally understandable.  What could prove interesting, however, is whether the wingers deeper down the depth chart come into the mix.  Mayorov comes to mind as  he hasn't been progressing in the AHL as management would like; perhaps a change of scenery might do him good while helping the CBJ improve its roster.

Long story short, it's a good read.  Take a look-see.

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