Flames Future 2004: Potential
Rating and Ranking Upside
Summer 2004

Potential, that blustery draft day word uttered by each and every National Hockey League general manager when the topic shifts to his recently acquired number one pick.

Soon after that blessed day a prospect can suddenly become suspect if he doesn't continue to live up to that draft day praise, and make his way towards his NHL home.

During the summer of 2000, Calgarypuck.com put out its first "Future Flames" feature by combining the assessment of many of its readership in assessing the prospects in the Flames system. On its own, the 2000 analysis was an interesting read, but it's only in adding three more years to the study can we begin to truly make sense of things in prospect land.

The 2004 edition, our fifth kick at the Prospect cat comes with it an anointed top prospect, defenceman Dion Phaneuf, packed with all they hype and hope one would expect with such a crown.

Player Potential
Dion Phaneuf


Andrei Medvedev


Tim Ramholt


Kris Chucko


Brent Krahn


Andrei Taratukhin


Yuri Trubachev


Dustin Boyd


Eric Nystrom


Brian McConnell


David Van Der Gulik


Curtis McElhinney


Aki Seitsonen


Tomi Maki


Jamie Tardiff


Jonas Frogen


Brandon Prust


Roman Rozakov


Dimitri Kokorev


Ritchie Regehr


Brennan Evans


Pierre Johnsson


With four years of history at our beckon call, we can better gauge the true value of the year's top prospect by gazing back at the prospect champ in the previous four features.

The 2000 winner, Oleg Saprykin is now a regular on the Flames roster though he still struggles to find the game that had many Calgary fans drooling during his WHL career. Saprykin has been in and out of Darryl Sutter's dog house but he appears to have righted his career and is ready to make a more steady contribution. (runner up in 2000: Brent Krahn)

The studies from 2001 and 2002 had defenceman Jordan Leopold as the club's top prospect, a promise he has essentially kept with his stellar sophomore campaign with the Flames in 2003-04. When Sutter took over the Flames, Leopold spent some time in the press box and then in Saint John before rebounding that season and now forming one half of the Flames go to blueline contingent. (runner up in 2001 & 2002: Chuck Kobasew)

Dion Phaneuf rose to the top of pile only a handful of weeks after the Flames made him their number one pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, a role he holds down again this summer. Really, Phaneuf has only seen his stock rise since the Flames added him to the fold 13 months ago, with some calling him the best defensive prospect in hockey. (runner up in 2003: Chuck Kobasew)

Fittingly, Phaneuf's ratings have also increased. Last summer Phaneuf had a potential grade of 4.43 and duplicate likelihood grade of 4.43 to top the lists. In 2004 both numbers rose to 4.93 and 4.76 respectively.

The 4.93 potential grade is the highest such number in our prospect analysis history, and sits only 0.07 points shy of a perfect grade. In fact, Phaneuf received a perfect 5 out of 5 in 87% of the ballots cast while appearing on every single ballot.

In the past, Saprykin had a rating of 4.4, while Leopold had yearly ratings of 4.1 and 4.3, shedding some light on the excitement level of Calgary's future blueliner.

The Rest of the Top Five

Rounding out the rest of the Calgarypuck Potential Top Five, are goaltender Andrei Medvedev (4th, 10th, and 5th in the past three years), Tim Ramholt (5th last summer), Kris Chucko (the Flames first pick in this June's Entry Draft), and Brent Krahn (2nd, 3rd, 8th, 4th in the past four years).

Brent Krahn and Dmitri Kokorev are the only players to have appeared in all five Calgarypuck Future Flames features.

It's interesting to note the rise and fall of prospects in such cases with both Krahn and Medvedev slipping down the list and then returning to the top five during their runs.




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