I've had a couple of pops at Corey Pronman before, mostly because of the way he gleefully chugs the Detroit Kool-Aid just as fast as he can find it, so I'm glad I've got some new reasons to generally disregard his opinions. While tarting around here, I saw Hockey Wilderness' post about the list and was about to pass it by when I noted the title included the words "Mikael Granlund the Top Spot". My interest was piqued, so I toddled over to PP's list and they weren't kidding. His top ten includes guys like Sean Couturier and Ryan Strome and that scrub Nugent-Hopkins, but the lot of them were beaten by Mikael Goddamn Granlund. Even for Pronman, who believes Detroit to have the best prospect pipeline in the entire league when I'd struggle to put them first in their division and whose opening words - 'the model of drafting and developing rise to the top yet again' - immediately make me taste bile as my irritation glands kick into overdrive, this is odd.
Even odder is the acknowledgement that the omission of goaltenders was not a mistake - he genuinely believes that Jacob Markstrom and Jack Campbell, among others, have less value that a guy like Aaron Polushaj. I admit you probably didn't come to this post to read my vitriol - although given the love affair you guys have with Simon Cowell et al, it is possible - so after the jump, I'll get into how this ties into the Leafs.
#20 - Ryan Murphy, Carolina
#21 - Mika Zibanejad, Ottawa, interestingly listed as a left wing when I was sure he was drafted as a centre
#22 - Joe Colborne, Toronto
#23 - Calle Jarnkrok, Detroit
#24 - Mattias Ekholm, Nashville
Although he's got a sweet-ass nickname - Ironhook, according to Wikipedia - the fact Hockey's Future pegs the former second-round pick as a second-line forward with only an average of hitting that, I'm going to assume Jarnkrok being this high is another example of the Detroit bias. Similarly, Ekholm is expected to top out as a second-pairing D-man if that over at HF; I have no idea what his methodology is, but I do find it interesting how two sites watching the same people can draw such wildly different conclusions - Ekholm is Nashville's top prospect according to Pronman, above Ryan Ellis and Austin Watson among others, but fifteenth over at HF. Regardless, Murphy and Zibanejad are both top 15 picks (#6 and #12) respectively, so this is relatively nice company to be in.
#85 - Jakob Silfverberg, Ottawa
#86 - Paul Postma, Winnipeg
#87 - Jake Gardiner, Toronto
#88 - Richard Panik, Tampa Bay
#89 - Matt Donovan, Long Island
Not such rarified company. Postma is Winnipeg's top prospect and even he's projected to be no more than a #3 defenseman, albeit one with some offensive talent, and Panik has at least second line potential but with only an average chance of hitting it - it's all quite disheartening for those of us who've been hearing great things about the Expressway, if you believe him. Jesse Blacker was among the handful of guys who nearly made the cut, ranking #104.
The Wild fans who've commented are pretty happy with the ranking. Me? Not so much. Act surprised. Among the really egregious decisions is Gabriel Landeskog at #39, a full two spots above a guy who was drafted in 2004 but is JUST hitting the NHL now. I'm still a little sketchy on why Nazem Kadri's absent from the list - either he was excluded based on playing too many games (which seems likely) or he's been judged not valuable enough to crack the top 100 (borderline blasphemy and ridiculous on top of it).
Discuss anyway. Take everything I've said with a pinch of salt - I'm British, I don't get to watch the games - except the stuff about Detroit's prospect depth being face-punchingly overrated.