Future Flames 2003
Calgarypuck.com - Likelihood Analysis

Upside is such a huge factor when rating hockey prospects. Players that project to be top end players, be it first line centers, top defencemen or number one goaltenders tend to make team personnel and fans salivate.

Last summer however, Calgarypuck.com added another wrinkle to prospect assessment by introducing the likelihood rating in conjunction with the potential rating.

Rk Player Likelihood
1 Dion Phaneuf 4.43
2 Chuck Kobasew 4.52
3 Eric Nystrom 4.19
4 Blair Betts 4.27
5 Tim Ramholt 3.57
6 Andrei Medvedev 2.96
7 Andrei Taratukhin 3.38
8 Matthew Lombardi 3.36
9 Brent Krahn 3.02
10 Yuri Trubachev 3.13
11 Dany Sabourin 3.19
12 Roman Rozakov 2.37
13 Dimitri Kokorev 2.28
14 Pierre Johnsson 1.80
15 James Hakewill 1.65
16 Darren Lynch 3.33
17 David Van Der Gulik 4.00
18 Greg Moore 3.50
19 Jamie Tardiff 3.33
20 Cam Cunning 2.50
21 Tyler Johnson 3.00
22 Brian McConnell 2.93
23 Tomi Maki 2.89
24 Egor Shastin 2.33
25 Ryan Donally 2.60
26 Curtis McElhinney 2.58
27 Ruslan Zainullin 1.86
28 Jyri Marttinen 2.00
29 Jiri Cetkovsky 2.00
30 Joe Campbell 1.94
31 Thomas Bellemare 1.75
32 Emanuel Peter 1.00

A player the projects to be a top end player is a great asset, but what good will he be if there is a very small chance he'll ever suite up for the home team.

Some players are bent on staying in their home country, some have huge mental or mental obstacles to over come to make the grade.

The table to the left rates the current crop of Flame prospects based on the chances of them succeeding to any degree in the National Hockey League.

A player that approaches 5.0 (see the following link for more details on the rating key) is labeled a "can't miss" player while a score closer to 1.0 suggests a very tough path ahead to make the grade with the big club.

Recent Flame first round pick Dion Phaneuf leads the way with a 4.43 rating - a score that comes partly with the expected euphoria of the latest top addition to a team's prospect pool, but also because of his balanced skill set and makeup.

Chuck Kobasew sits in second place in the list with a 4.52 grade, down slightly from his co-leading 4.80 rating of last season. 

Two other players exceeded the 4.0 mark suggesting Calgarypuck readers find it likely that they too will make the grade at some point down the road. Eric Nystrom and Blair Betts may not project high on the club roster when it comes to scoring forwards, but it's clear a role for each is in the cards.

In order to add or subtract value from this year's "likelihood analysis" one has to only look back to July of 2002 when the exact same process was completed with the 2002 prospect class.

The Flames were fresh from the Entry Draft in Toronto, a selection process that had them land two collegiates; Eric Nystrom and Brian McConnell with thier first two picks, and former Oiler pick forwad Matthew Lombardi with their third pick.

Last year's top six features four players that went on to play a stint or two with the Flames suggesting the group was pretty close to the mark.

Oleg Saprykin finished sixth in likelihood rankings, an astute move from the group considering his exodus from Saint John that was to come just three months later. By season's end however, the young Russian led all playing prospects with 23 points in 52 games - a record that has officially removed the moniker "prospect" from his bio.

The same can be said of 2002 co-leader Jordan Leopold, as the former Golden Gopher had an excellent second half to secure 58 games of experience and 14 points. It's safe to assume he'll never look back.

Chuck Kobasew and Blair Betts both had time in the NHL last year, but both still reside on the prospect list for 2003 and hope to make the grade permanently this upcoming season.

The two top six players that didn't make the grade were far from a surprise.

Eric Nystrom completed his second year of University in Michigan and will likely remain on these lists for another couple of seasons.

Levente Szuper was caught in a numbers game behind stalwart Roman Turek and NHL backup Jamie McLennan and would only have seen action if there was an injury. Things have slipped for the Hungarian stopper since however with Szuper not signed and now released by the organization.

You can't get them all right all the time.

The top five for 2003 is sure to have a mix of success when the dust settles on the 2003-04 season. Betts and Kobasew appear to have spots locked up going into camp and will likely spend this summer as their last defined as a prospect. Nystrom, Dion Phaneuf and Tim Ramholt have little chance of making the grade this year, with two of three quite possibly not even attending training camp.

Tune in next year to see where things stand for 2004!





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