Movers and Shakers 2003
Prospects that Have the Greatest Change In Rating
Summer 2003

Every year there's a prospect or two that completely reverse their development course, or accelerate or decelerate their pace towards the NHL.

In past seasons this analysis could almost be called the Oleg Saprykin Watch as the enigmatic Russian sniper has gone from the future, to the past and back again several times.

Oleg Saprykin is a great example of just how important the role of patience needs to be when National Hockey League teams monitor the strides being made by their top prospects.

A few seasons ago a young French Canadian goaltender by the name of Jean Sebastian Giguere was deemed to be plateaued and was dealt to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. This past set of Stanley Cup playoffs proved the Flames very much wrong.

The 2003 analysis of rating variance is unique to the previous two years of data. Many players saw some pretty significant swings in past summer's data, but this year most prospects remained fairly close to their starting point.

Movin' On Up

With Saprykin officially graduated and seemingly a semi-permanent fixture with the big league Flames it's time to anoint a new most improved rating champion for the class of 2003.

Improving With Age - Rank
Player '02 Rank '03 Rank Place
Andrei Medvedev 10 2 8
Brent Krahn 8 4 4
Andrei Taratukhin 7 6 1

Andrei Medvedev has had a wild ride on the prospect lists. The rather generously proportioned Russian stopper was taken in the second round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and has been in and out of hearts of Calgary hockey fans every since. He led the fastest falling categories in this piece last year dropping his rating 33% from 3.50 to 2.70 and his placement from 5th to 10th overall.

This summer Medvedev reversed all that climbing eight spots from 10th to 2nd overall on the prospect lists, as well as 1.28 rating points.

Improving With Age - Rating
Player '02 Rating '03 Rating Variance
Andrei Medvedev 2.70 3.98 1.28
Brent Krahn 3.00 3.65 0.65
Andrei Taratukhin 3.10 3.52 0.42

Fellow goaltender, Brent Krahn also saw somewhat of a comeback, a process that was aided by his movement from the Calgary Hitmen to the Seattle Thunderbirds for the WHL playoffs. The large stopper seems to have recovered from his knee injuries and could be well on his way back to a promising career. Krahn moved up four spots overall with an increase of 0.65 scoring points.

The final member of the "Moving Up" group is Russian center Andrei Taratukhin. The nifty pivot put his name back on the map with a solid performance at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Halifax - a tournament that saw his Russian squad take home the gold medal. He only moved up one spot in the rankings, but 0.42 scoring points moving from an average to an above average prospect.

Other notable increases included Tomi Maki with 0.33 (2.50 to 2.83), Brian McConnell with 0.30 (2.70 to 3.00), Blair Betts with 0.17 (2.90 to 3.07) and Eric Nystrom with .08 (3.40 to 3.48).

Losing Their Grip

To make the grade at the NHL level a prospect has to keep his feet moving, or continue to make strides toward his ultimate goal each and every season.

Losing Ground - Rank
Player '02 Rank '03 Rank Place
Eric Nystrom 5 7 -2
Blair Betts 9 10 -1

Sometimes however, the issue isn't so much an individual player losing ground as it is an organization gaining prospects. The Flames prospect pool has been altered greatly for 2003 with two of the top five players drafted just a month ago, and two others making significant comebacks.

Losing Ground - Rating
Player '02 Rating '03 Rating Variance
Yuri Trubachev 3.50 3.29 -0.21

As a result Eric Nystrom and Blair Betts each lost their spot in the rankings with Nystrom slipping two spots and Betts one.

Only one prospect that appeared in both the 2002 and 2003 prospect analyses actually lost ground in his grade point. That player was Russian center Yuri Trubachev who fell from a 3.50 to a 3.29.




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