Below are the prospects who made the opening night lineups for their respective teams. Eighty-nine prospects made the opening rosters in 2003-04, compared to 59 in 2002-03. The rules governing who is and who is not considered a prospect by Hockey’s Future is below.
Hockey’s Future Prospect Criteria
To establish uniformity among all the team pages and to increase the credibility of all the articles, all players listed on HF will follow the “Prospect Rules” to help editors and writers in determining who is and isn’t considered a prospect anymore. Players who no longer qualify as prospects will be removed from team lists and rankings.
A prospect that has played 41+ NHL games in one season or 65+ NHL games in two seasons is not a prospect anymore.
A goalie prospect that has played 20+ NHL games in one season or 30+ NHL games in two seasons is not a prospect anymore.
A prospect that has played 240+ total games in the AHL/ECHL is no longer a prospect.
Goalies that have played 4 full seasons in the AHL/ECHL are no longer prospects.
A prospect that is over 24 is not a prospect anymore, with the exception of players who played in college. Former college players may remain on the prospect list for two seasons after their graduation, or age 26, whichever is longer.
Any European player that has played in more than 225 games in an Elite league is no longer a prospect.
Any European goalie that has played 4 full seasons in an Elite league is no longer a prospect.
If a European or North American player has a combo of Elite/AHL/ECHL games played equaling 100+ elite games and 125+ AHL/ECHL games or 225+ games combined they are no longer considered a prospect.
Any European or North America goalie that has a combination of 4 full seasons of Elite or AHL/ECHL league play are no longer considered prospects.
The graduated list on team pages will consist of players who have recently graduated to the roster of their NHL teams, but still fit the prospect criteria. A skater prospect may sit on the graduated list until he has played 100 games in the NHL. A goalie prospect may sit on the graduated list until he has played 50 games in the NHL.