wprager wrote:Cowen was projected to got top-five if not top-three before his injury. He has now recovered. He lost a year but not his projection -- he's definitely #1 potential.
Karlsson flew under the radar, for sure, but I enjoyed seeing what he did last year. Definitely potential there to be a #1.
Wiercioch is an unknown quantity at this point. The NCAA is not the OHL/AHL and certainly not NHL. He's got great scoring touch but I'll reserve judgment until I see how he skates with another 20 lbs on his frame. Too early to tell.
Runblad (the spelling of his name is actually quite simple -- just think Blade Runner), according to many comments I'd read, mayb not have the offensive potential of Karlsson, but his size may allow him to be a better defenseman, overall.
To me, that's three potential #1s. And while you may say that OEL and Gormley are expected to be #1s, the reality is that they are both prospects with potential. No guarantees. Right now, Karlsson is the closest of all the others mentioned. He outscored Hedman on a team that struggled to score all year -- yes, it's too early to say that he will be better than Hedman, but it's also not too early to say that there's no guarantee that Hedman will be better than Karlsson. Remember when they were drafted -- it was a given that Hedman was above Karlsson in nearly every category. The consensus now is that he is taller.
- I don't expect Karlsson to be the best shutdown defenseman on his team. Of course he could be but he has to go into Niedermayer/Keith/Markov territory to do so (because he's not gonna beat forwards with toughness and reaching), which is gonna be quite hard.
- Wiercioch was the N1 defenseman on his team but is too thin now to be projected as such in the NHL
- Rundblad for me is more like a Brian Campbell potential.
- Cowen could be Chris Pronger or Braydon Coburn. All depends on the role he will be given and with all the PMDs we will have I don't think they're gonna let him play on the PP much... but he certainly can be a N1 defenseman if he is given time to develop offensively.
On the other hand you have:
- OEL, probably the best defense prospect in the world right now. Lidstrom territory in terms of potential and already looks like he can go there.
- Brandom Gormley, N1 defenseman on the best team in the Q. I could see a Markov type there.
- Maxim GOncharov who I've only seen one time so It's not like I know a lot, but I've read/heard some people say he was the best PHO prospect behind OEL. Has been playing with men for 2 years now, 2nd youngest player on his team.
So, IMO, in terms of developping the best players, I'll have to go with Phoenix.
BUT, I think Ottawa will have a more versatile/balanced defensive line up.