The Editor’s Desk, February 2006

By Ken McKenna

As a public service to our loyal readers at Hockey’s Future, as well as a means of touting some of the upcoming features from our dedicated writing staff, I’ve decided to establish a new feature at HF called the “The Editor’s Desk”.

This column will be posted at the beginning of each month with the express purpose of informing our readers of some of the great features they’ll find at HF in the upcoming month. Our staff is always producing interesting and informative articles on hockey prospects at all levels of the game, so writing this column is my way of creating some anticipation for those features.

Of course, we are always looking for ways to make the site more interesting for our readers, including the introduction of new features. For instance, I think most of our readers enjoy the monthly updates on top NHL Draft prospects provided by International Scouting Services (ISS). We’ve had an association with ISS for a couple of seasons now, with their prospect rankings being as popular a feature as has ever been offered at HF. Glenn Gawronski’s writing in the “Lighting It Up” column, writing that is both interesting and informative, is the type of feature that our readers have come to expect from HF. And there will be more new features added, which I’ll cover shortly.

Our writing staff, many of whom have media credentials secured for them by HF, is the group of individuals most responsible for the informative experience each reader receives at HF. They are the ones responsible for writing the articles, ranking the prospects, interviewing players, coaches and other hockey dignitaries, and contributing to some of the popular features offered at HF. Without their contributions the experience at HF would not be the same, so a tip of the helmet to this group for their valuable input.

Which brings us to the month of February, the middle portion of the 2005-06 campaign. While the NHL will be taking a break for the 2006 Winter Olympics this month, the majority of the developmental leagues will still be in action. And the HF staff will be in action, as well, with the NHL writers producing their mid-season rankings of each NHL team’s Top 20 prospects. Although one writer ultimately produces the finished top 20 article, the process used to produce these lists is usually a group effort, as the make-up of each list is discussed internally before the final product is written. Since many of our writers are able to view the various prospects firsthand, informed opinions can be offered in helping to shape the final ranking. This means, of course, that the Top 20 article that you read is more than just one writer’s opinion, and something the entire staff can stand behind.

In addition to the rankings of each team’s top 20 prospects, February will also see the release of HF’s ever popular spring ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects. The final list has been created, with the individual write-ups now being completed by the writers involved with this project. And a project it is, as this group has been working on the list for more than a month. The process normally includes the Top 50 committee initially producing a list of 100 prospects, then whittling down that list to the final 50. Along the way, input is sought from others outside the process to help ensure that any rough edges are smoothed out, with the committee ultimately producing the final list and write-up.

So, our readers have those favorite features to look forward to, as well as the latest offerings from ISS and Glenn Gawronski (Lighting It Up). And of course, we will have Q&A’s with several prospects and other features on players in the AHL, ECHL, CHL, NCAA, and all the other developmental leagues.

And what of those brand new features that I’ve mentioned above? Well, one of those features will be called the HF Mailbag. The purpose of this feature, which will be handled by HF’s Profile Editor and Los Angeles Kings writer Dave Rainer, is to give the readers at HF a chance to ask questions on all things hockey prospect related. This includes questions on the progress (or lack thereof) of a prospect’s development; the comparison of prospects to other prospects or established players; the strengths and weaknesses of organizations; the minor and developmental leagues; the developmental process in general — basically, any questions you can think of involving the prospects that interest you. Dave will seek out responses from HF staff members or from others in the hockey community. Although we don’t yet have everything in place for this feature, the e-mail address to send questions for the HF Mailbag ( [email protected] ) is now active and ready for your questions. A more formal announcement will be made, but the HF Mailbag is a feature to look forward to in the month of February.

Another feature that we’ve been testing out is something we’ve dubbed the HF Newswire. Essentially, it is a newsfeed (or ticker, if you prefer) that will provide links to announcements from the various minor and developmental leagues related to hockey prospects, or other hockey news that we think will be of interest to our readers. This is just another way we can provide information on hockey prospects to our readers, helping to make the experience at HF more informative and enjoyable. There are still a couple of bugs to work out, but those should be taken care of before too long. Once ready to go live, you will see this newsfeed in the black bar at the top of the HF home page.

Before wrapping this up, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Guy Flaming, the HF writer that covers the prospects of the Edmonton Oilers, will be the co-host of his own radio program on hockey prospects. The program, called “The Pipeline Show”, will air on the Team 1260 radio station in the Edmonton area beginning next Monday (Feb. 13). Although only listeners in that area will be able to hear the show initially, this station will soon be available on the Internet and (possibly) satellite radio, so virtually any HF reader will eventually be able to access what should be a very interesting program. Please join me, then, in wishing Guy the best of luck with this endeavor.

That’s all for this month!

Ken McKenna

Managing Editor, Hockey’s Future