Pete Choquette's blog
Here's an interesting question for you Bolt Prospecteers to try and answer that was asked to me by our web guru Tim:
North Dakota's season, one way or another, will be over by late Saturday night. Hopefully, on that night, Smaby and his Fighting Sioux will be playing in the national championship game against the winner of Wisconsin and Maine. When it's over, will the Lightning attempt to sign Smaby as their #7 or #8 defenseman going into the playoffs? Considering the meager ice time Timo Helbling and Doug O'Brien have gotten with the Lightning's recent injuries, I wouldn't be surprised if they do.
You know its sad when a guy who ran the print magazine version of HockeysFuture into the ground after just 3 issues has more credibility than the current band of hacks that occupy the editorial position at that empty shell of a website. And yet, that's where we are. Shane Malloy has more journalistic credibility than Holly Gunning (HF's online editor) and Ken McKenna (HF's managing editor). How do I know this? Because Shane Malloy actually did a shred of homework before writing an article about the Lightning organization and Gunning and company [url=http://hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=8549\]clearly didn't.[/url]
HockeysFuture released their Spring organizational rankings today, and first let me say it's a really bright thing to release rankings a week and a half into the CHL playoffs. After all, it's not like the postseason is important or anything. Yes Holly, that's sarcasm. In any event, once again the biased HockeysFuture editorial staff and their intrepid band of statistic cut and pasters have pegged the Lightning 30th in the league in terms of prospects. On the eve of the graduation of the third Lightning prospect the club has placed into the NHL this season no less! Gotta give 'em credit for having chutzpah. No clue, but they've definitely got chutzpah.
A bit of disclosure ahead of time: Chad and I worked for Shane Malloy when he was online editor at HockeysFuture before the print version of HockeysFuture failed and he was deposed by the current regime at that website. To his credit, Malloy dreams big which is why he has since landed gigs with FoxSports, NHL.com and segment time on XM Center Ice while the folks at HF are still struggling to get articles posted (let alone quality articles).
Anyway, he wrote FoxSports' list of the Lightning's Top-10 prospects.
1. Stanislav Lascek
2. Vladimir Mihalik
3. Andy Rogers
4. Ryan Craig
5. Radek Smolenak
6. Matt Smaby
7. Paul Ranger
8. Justin Keller
9. Doug O'Brien
10. Gerald Coleman
HM: Mike Egener
First of all, I don't know if Malloy reads our website, but he's definitely heard our cries about the name obsessed hockey media not recognizing the Lightning are building up quality depth by making good draft picks in the late rounds. It was so nice to read a rankings article from a major media outlet that actually had a clue in that regard. True, he misses the boat with the usual boilerplate line bashing the team's goaltending depth, but this article is a 1000% better reflection of the state of the Lightning's system versus the kind of uninformed drivel you'll find coming out of THN and HF these days. A media organization actually doing some research and arriving at the objective conclusion that the Lightning do indeed deserve some credit; what a concept eh?
You know, I find it pretty funny "mainstream" media outlets like Hockey's Future and THN can find it fit to ridicule the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospect base, put us dead last in their organizational ranking and keep our players out of their top-50 prospects without even so much as an honorable mention and yet when the puck is dropped and the real games are played the Lightning have three of the better rookies in the league this season. TSN released their top-40 rankings for rookie forwards today and Ryan Craig (#23) and Evgeny Artyukhin (#25) both made the grade. Here's a fun exercise: count the number of well hyped 1st round draft picks lunch pail 8th rounder Ryan Craig has outplayed so far this year. I count nine between the rest of the top-40 and the honorable mentions TSN lists, and I'm sure a certain very biased online editor at Hockey's Future must be thoroughly embarassed by the immortal Jim Slater being bested by two prospects from the Lightning's allegedly bare cupboard. Earlier TSN had released their list of the top-20 rookie defensemen prospects and 6th round pick Paul Ranger checked in at #15. What!? No Braydon Coburn!?!?!
To the critics of this organization:
Would you prefer yours grilled or baked?
I finally was told who the top-10 Lightning prospects were in The Hockey News' Future Watch issue. As I explained in my previous entry, whoever made the list several top prospects didn't. And, as a consequence, those players were not even considered by THN's mysterious panel which saw it fit to (erroneously) name the Lightning the worst prospect system in the league. Again, to reiterate, THN's evaluators only look at the top ten prospects in an organization thereby ignoring whatever depth an organization might have from being considered in the final grade. And that faulty methodology is one reason I take so much issue with the decision to give the organization a D+.