Introduction to Hockey’s Future’s Top 50 list

By Ken McKenna

Some of our readers had no doubt thought we at Hockey’s Future had lost our collective minds by designating the top 10 prospects of the Columbus Blue Jackets as the cream of the NHL prospect crop. Others may have thought that linking to via the Top 50 link was a subversive plot to overthrow Microsoft, but we assure you that no royalty checks are in the mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

But there is no reason to speculate any longer, because HF’s long-awaited version of the top 50 NHL prospects has been completed!

For the record, the list was compiled by a group of HF staff members whose names shall remain anonymous (unless they feel the need to step forward, of course). In addition to the work done by our writers, we also received helpful input from a handful of individuals in the hockey biz whose names also shall be withheld at their request. Thanks to the staff and the experts for their efforts in the production of this list.

As for the list itself, there is at least one area of agreement between the group that compiled the top 50 list and the one that produced HF’s organizational rankings — the Montreal Canadiens are the current kings of the NHL prospect kingdom. The Habs placed the most prospects on our Top 50 list, with Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington also being well represented. At the other end of the spectrum, there were four teams that didn’t place a player on this list, which might point to the fact that not every team has high-end talent in their system.

The players selected for this list were chosen according to HF’s prospect criteria. As a result, some of the names of first-year players that you might expect to see on this list, such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Nathan Horton, and Eric Staal, are not there to their having met our criteria for no longer being considered a prospect. Doing a list like this in-season presents some problems in terms of figuring out who makes the list and who doesn’t, but the group that worked on this list did their best to make it true to the rules laid out here at Hockey’s Future. There must be a cutoff point, and once you designate it, it must be followed.

So, you may ask, which players are at the top of the list? Well, you’ll just have to wait for the answer to that question, since we are releasing this list in installments. We’ll be working our way down from the 50th slot, with a new installment being released every couple of days over the course of the next week or so. Leave ‘em wanting more, as the old show business saying goes.

The main purpose of this list is to spark conversation amongst you, the hockey fans and readers of our humble little web site. While the people that put the list together took their jobs seriously, please accept the list for what it is — a snapshot in time, with an emphasis on pointing out the players that we think will be the stars of tomorrow. Some of the players on this list will be more noteworthy than others, but all of them are talents in their own right who will make major contributions to their team’s fortunes.

But, like all good serials, we’ll leave you hanging just a bit longer until the next (or first) installment…

Next: The Top 50, Players 41-50