So, even though we're a few months away yet, it might not hurt to start throwing some names out there to get the group familiar. And I'll start by aiming high at Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs.
Cam Robinson - Dobber Prospects - January 9th: "The dynamic two-way defender continues to display his full arsenal of weapons with Spokane this season. Smith is an excellent skater who demonstrates poise and patience with the puck. His outlets are crisp and his head is always up. He’s a player you fall in love with because he always makes the right play."
Sam Cosentino - Sportsnet - December 6th: "If the on-ice package isn’t enough, look no further than character for this smooth-skating defenceman who projects to someday wear a letter in the show."
Steve Kournianos - The Draft Analyst - September 30th: "Instinctive two-way force from the blue line with exceptional hockey sense and a strong desire to join the attack and create chances. Smith’s mobility and vision seem to throw opponents into a state of confusion — his ability to transition quickly from defense to offense is excellent. He’s an effortless skater with strong balance and agility, and he can pivot with the best of them."
Bob McKenzie had the guy as the 10th best prospect, and from everything you read it's hard not to understand why. I think everyone would be happier if he was 6'1", but if that were the case we wouldn't even have the chance to talk about the guy. Besides, there is the possibility of a late growth spurt.
Case in point:
Trent Yawney still remembers the day he was coaching the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL when Duncan Keith first walked into his locker room six years ago.
"He was a snotty-nosed kid who really hadn't become a man yet," said Yawney, the former Blackhawks player and coach who is now a San Jose Sharks assistant. "He didn't know where to live and eat."
Nobody in the organization cared where Keith ate as long as he never pushed away his plate. He was generously listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 160 pounds when the Hawks selected him out of Penticton, Canada, in the second round of the 2002 NHL draft.
"I was always a real skinny kid, and if you saw old pictures of me, you'd probably think my parents weren't feeding me," Keith said jokingly. "If I wasn't playing, I'd probably weigh 150 pounds."
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009 ... ent-yawney