Future Flames 2002
Rating Success: Way Off the Mark

Often it's helpful to glance into the past when assessing a view of the future.

Nothing could be more true than when assessing hockey prospects. Has the group been too lenient, overlooking serious issues with players and projecting them higher than they could ever hope to achieve? Or is the opposite true; has the group been too stern with the future, not giving credit where credit was clearly due?

As I'm sure you can guess, the answer almost always lies somewhere in the middle.

With a body of data that now stretches three summers the answers to some of the questions above are starting to come into focus.

Missed Players





Oleg Saprykin




Rico Fata




Daniel Tkaczuk




Jukka Hentunen




Steve Begin




Most of the 2000 prospect are beginning to make a name for themselves, or are spinning towards bust status, while others are still plodding along, years from revealing their final destination.

The study gets more vague when assessing the 2o01 class, and of course down right sketchy when the 2002 group is put under the microscope.

The following table depicts players that have grossly exceeded or fallen short of their Calgarypuck.com prospect ratings.

The first three names on this list have played a significant role in the Calgary Flames current streak of missing the playoffs five straight seasons. They represent three straight first round draft picks, none of which have played their way into the NHL lineup.

Oleg Saprykin 2000 (4.4) - Oleg Saprykin sits on top of the list with his 4.4 rating from the 2000 prospect rating exercize. Saprykin had been the final cut of the 1999 training camp, just three months removed from his draft date - the sky was the limit. The fall of 2000 was pretty much the same story, as Saprykin made the squad and went on to score nine goals as a NHL rookie. Then the floor fell out. Oleg spent the past season, uneventfully playing for the Saint John Flames. He's too young to consider a bust (as his 2002 rating of 3.5 suggests) but is running out of time in turning his career around.

Rico Fata 2000 (3.4) - Speed, speed and well ... speed. Rico Fata, as it turned out, lived up to his draft day jumbotron depiction of "lacks hockey sense", and continues to fight towards the NHL in the Rangers system. Taken sixth overall, the speedy winger was pegged at 3.4 in 2000 but hasn't come close to that potential since his draft day in 1998.

Daniel Tkaczuk 2000 (3.3) - It has now been five years since the Flames took Daniel Tkaczuk, sixth overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. In a move that has pained many a "hind-sight" driven fan, the Flames overlooked Russian scoring ace Sergei Samsanov in making his selection. Tkaczuk was part of the Roman Turek trade to St. Louis last summer, and was buried in their system for the entire season. His rating of 3.3 two years ago turned out to be overtly optimistic.

Jukka Hentunen 2001 (3.6) - Calgary Flame fans fell hard for European scouting reports and Finish League press clippings when they made 2000 draft pick a "can't miss" prospect with a rating of 3.6 last summer. He missed. Hentunen didn't have the size, strength of gumption to play North American hockey and was subsequently dealt to Nashville towards the end of last season. He has since opted to return to his native country with his family.

Steve Begin 2001 (2.8) - The Steve Begin case is a very different scenario from the four players above for two important reasons. First, he didn't have to work under the lofty expectations of being a first round pick, or a seasoned European pro. Secondly, he actually made it - playing his first full season in Calgary last year. Begin makes the list in a much more subtle way, in that his rating of 2.8 was much too optimistic for the aggressive winger. His rating suggests a second or third line winger on a below average team, not a fourth line plugger in for a fight to keep his job.





Feature Guide

Potential Rating Key

Likelihood Rating Key

2000 All Future Team

2001 All Future Team

2002 All Future Team

Potential Analysis - 2000

Potential Analysis - 2001

Potential Analysis - 2002

Likelihood Analysis - 2002

Combined Analysis - 2002

2000 to 2001

2001 to 2002

Jordan Leopold

Chuck Kobasew

Oleg Saprykin

Levente Szuper

Eric Nystrom

Past Ratings vs. Current Success

Right On the Money

Way Off the Mark