Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ranking the top 10 prospects of whichever team you personally cheer for

The NFL draft starts tonight, and as a hockey writer, it’s hard not to feel a little bit jealous of my football colleagues. They’ve got lots to write about these days, with actual news and transactions to report on.

And more importantly, as every sportswriter knows, fans love prospect talk. They can’t get enough of it. And if you cover an NFL team, you now get to spend weeks profiling and projecting and ranking all of these new prospects.

Well, I want in on that action. So today, I’m presenting my breakdown of the top 10 prospects of your favorite hockey team.

That’s right, your team. No, I don’t know which one that is. And no, I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m pretty sure I can accurately break down your top 10. How hard can it be? Move over Pronman and Wheeler, I’ve got the prospect beat covered today.

1. The first-round pick from the most recent draft

This guy is a sure thing. No, first-round picks don’t always turn out, and you never really know how a player will develop. But this guy is a virtual lock. From the moment the team announced his name, you’ve seen nothing but praise for his well-rounded game, not to mention his pedigree and character. Also, the team’s GM said he couldn’t believe he was still available when their pick came, and it’s illegal to lie about that sort of thing.

This prospect has already been penciled in as a regular in the lineup for the coming season, and honestly, that’s probably being conservative. He’s pretty much a sure-thing for the top six and will probably be driving the first line by November. Calder Trophy? You won’t guarantee anything, but yeah, it’s more likely than not. That’s the beauty of a first-round pick. They’re locks.

2. The first-round pick from a few years ago who should really be here by now but it’s fine

Sometimes it just takes a little while longer, right? There’s no need to worry. Who’s panicking? Not you. Certainly not you.

Would it be nice if this prospect was already producing in the NHL, like the guy taken one pick ahead of him and also one pick behind him and also the three other picks after that and somehow several guys from later rounds? Yes. In a perfect world, that would be happening. But that is not happening, and you’re fine with this.

Remember, it’s not unusual for prospects to need a few years before they can stick in the NHL and still go on to become legitimate superstars. It happened with Mark Scheifele and also … uh … look, Scheifele’s good, OK? This guy will be too. Everybody just stop panicking.

3. The mid-round sleeper pick you’re a little too invested in

This guy didn’t get much attention when he was drafted, and everyone just kind of forgot about him almost immediately. But then he went back to junior and put up better than expected numbers, and fans started paying attention.

And you were at the front of the line, jumping on the bandwagon before anyone else. Sure, it was like seven minutes before everyone else, but that still counts. You have appointed yourself president and founder of this fan club, and you will personally fight anyone who says anything bad about this prospect.

Bottom line: This kid is going to be good. He has to be. Because if he isn’t, you’re going to feel like you’ve wasted a big chunk of your sports-fan life.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free 90-day trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment