Check in with Corey Pronman of Puck Prospectus to learn about the hottest prospects on the ice.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): It wouldn't be the World Juniors without people drawing radical conclusions based on ridiculously small sample sizes. What conclusions will be drawn this year?
Brad (London): What's your thoughts on Jared Knight?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): He's underrated I think and has scorer potential. Had a slow start last year due to his diabetes, but ever since he's gotten that addressed he's been scoring at a pretty impressive pace. He's a pretty hard worker too.
paulbellows (Calgary): Is there anyone the Flames should keep or just blow it up?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Depends how long they project the rebuild to be. The Flames are pretty low in young, quality assets so if the rebuild was 3-5 years then you look at trying to hold onto guys like Backlund and Erixon. If the rebuild looks like 5+, then I'd pretty much say its open shop. Based on the shape of the organization as of now barring some sort of major move, it will likely end up being the latter.
Jonathan (Winnipeg): Core are you surprised that Nugent-Hopkins was cut by Canada, and how does that affect his draft status?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): It's usually a very hard task for 17 year old players to crack Team Canada's U-20 squad barring the most elite of talents. Hopkins was great at camp and I don't think the cut was a knock against him as a player.
Russell (Palm Beach Gardens, FL): Not a specific prospect question, but: Given the apparent volatility of goalies (or at least some goalie stats) in the NHL, and the added difficulties of projecting future performance, is it reasonable to suggest that picking a goalie with a high draft pick is generally a bad move? If you were drafting, is there a point in the draft above which you would feel uncomfortable taking a goalie?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): To answer your first question I'd say yes. I didn't think Jack Campbell, despite his high level of talent, was even worth a top 60 pick last year. In the 2011 draft I'm failing to see a goalie I'd use a top 100 pick on. I don't know if I'd use a general cutoff point because it varies by who the goalie prospect is and the draft talent pool as a whole.
Jérôme B. (Montréal): Corey, what your take on Jonas Naatinen from yesterday game againts the Americans and as a overall prospect ?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Nattinen doesn't project as a scorer of any sort, but has the ability to maybe fill a lower role. He did pot one yesterday, but at the pro level he'll lean on his frame and his smarts to be a contributor as a defensive forward.
garik16 (The Island): Thoughts on the Islanders' prospects - Nino, Cizikas, Nelson - at the WJC so far?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Nino: Great so far, but it's easy to do so versus Germany.
Cizikas: Terrific sparkplug/penalty killing versus the Russians.
Nelson: Didn't figure much in the game versus Finland but for where he is in his development I don't expect much of him. I believe he was playing hurt too.
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): What, if anything, is wrong with the Capitals? A) Lousy coaching, B) Unlucky, C) A & B, D) Nothing, E) Something else (Defense?), F) This question is too confusing and should be asked in a different way.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): They have one of the largest positive shot differentials in the league, so I'd go with B.
Leo (Parts Unknown): Hey Corey - Enjoy the work of the PP gang - keep it up.
The Blackhawks seem to be righting the ship but if we can (recognizing that this leaves some names out) carve the team into two parts consisting of the "returning core" (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Bolland, Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson) and the "newbies" (Skille, Dowell, Bickell, Stahlberg, Pissani, Crawford, Turco) which group is more responsible for the decline thus far? By that I mean, comparing what the returning core has done thus far compared to what they did last year vis-a-vis what the newbies have done this year compared to what Buff, Ladd, Versteeeg, Burish, Madden, Eager, Sopel Niemi and Huet did last year where is the biggest difference in performance?
On another point I can't help noticing (both last year and this year) how much of a difference it makes to have Campbell in the lineup. While I suspect the absence of Keith, Seabrook and even Hammer would also have a big impact because of what it does to the distribution of ice time among the remaining three top defenders it is a useful reminder that a player can be simultaneously overpaid and very important to the team.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): The team is still scoring at an elite level and their top defenseman are still logging a ton of minutes. Turco sporting a .899 SV% isn't helping matters, but the team is lacking somewhat in the depth department which was to be expected.
mattymatty2000 (RE: Caps shot differential): Are all shots created the same? I would think quality would take precedence over quantity, though I have no idea how you would measure that.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): All shots are not created the same, but you should read Tom's column on whether or not shot quality is sustainable at a team level:
Bobby (Nashville): Is Cody Hodgson stil considered one of the top 5 prospects in Hockey?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): No, but he's up there.
boards (San Antonio): Corey: I'm new to hockey (and loving it!). One thing I don't understand is the economics. How does the salary cap work?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): There is a hard floor and ceiling that cannot be exceeded aside from a few exceptions, but it doesn't have the wiggle room the NBA cap allows. Go to capgeek as well, that is the a great source of info.
Sarah (LA): You would rather see the NHL scrap the hard salary in the next CBA, True or False?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): I assume you mean hard salary cap, and please yes! Knowing Fehr you can bet a free market system will come up during negotiations. The league needs better national TV revenue and revenue sharing, not hard fiscal constraints that limit player movement.
Bill Simmons (Boston): Is there any chance my Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Since when do you watch hockey?
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh): If I were to retire today, I would still be voted into the Hall Of Fame, True or False?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Yes
Terry (Toronto): Why in the world does MLB ban MLB videos from youtube? It's a real pain to search for videos on mlb.com. I thought the goal was to get younger/more fans.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): What is the MLB?
mattymatty2000 (Portland, OR): Whom do you like long term from the goalie tandem of Neuvirth and Varlamov?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Varlamov
Zooey (LA): Why is the attendance in Denver so poor for the Avs? They've made the playoffs the last 2 seasons, they have young stars, tickets are cheap, and play an exciting brand of hockey.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): A better question is will the Islanders over/under an average of 10,000 fans this year? Currently at 9.692.
Islanders Fan with Paper Bag on Head (New York): At what point can we declare Tavares is not going to develop into a franchise player? I thought Tavares was better than Stamkos in the OHL but Stamkos is cleary the better player in the NHL.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Tavares and Stamkos are simply different players. Stamkos plays an exciting style of hockey whereas Tavares relies on hockey sense, positioning and his terrific finishing ability. Tavares also plays with garbage teammates whereas Stamkos gets Martin St. Louis. I'd obviously take Stamkos over John now, but Tavares is still a great player and teams would give a ton for him.
Jermish (India): Last year's "No Words" Playoff Ads was the best NHL playoff ad campaign of all-time, agree or disagree?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): You watch enough playoff ads from the 70's to be sure of that?
Marty (St. Louis): Which teams are going to be playing in the Stanley Cup finals this season?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): I see what you did there. Penguins and Canucks were my pre-season favorites and I'm going to stick with that. Anything can happen in a 7 game series so I wouldn't make any definite statements.
Candice (Las Vegas): Will we ever see a female player in the NHL (play in the regular season)?
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Already happened. Manon Rheaume with Tampa.
EDIT: Saw you said regular season, mistake Manon played in the preseason.
Corey Pronman (Hockey): Ok that does it for the day. World Juniors continue today with Slovakia-Germany and Czech Republic-Norway and we'll be covering the entire tournament over at Hockey Prospectus.