It's been a busy offseason for us at First Round Bust, both personally and professionally (i.e. we've been lazy when we've gotten the chance to be lazy) but now, in the weeks leading up to Training Camp, is the time to fire up our annual Top 20 Prospect list. Usually we do this just after the Draft, but it's been pretty hard to do this Summer; I've literally been home two weekends in the last two months, and Nate has been doing god knows what to god knows which supermodel.
So before we kick this thing off, we'll cover some ground first.
In constructing this list, which was intense and laborious, we talked about a number of things, but two things became apparent; which prospects "graduated" and how the collective pool broke down into tiers.
Immediately we looked at Justin Fontaine as someone who has passed the prospect status; the now waiver-eligible former UMD Bulldog will get a long look at Camp this Fall, and will be given every shot to make and keep with the team. Tyler Cuma, unfortunately, also came up in the same vein as Fontaine, but not for the same reason. He's simply been passed up by so many other players on the depth chart, and you have to feel for him in that he's been dealt a bad hand basically from the time he stepped off the Draft Stage in 2008- and the most recent 1 year deal he signed is the ultimate "show and prove."
That being said, we simply felt there was no way we could ever conceive of Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle starting in Iowa, and that the only way we would see them in the green Iowa sweaters was if things went poorly during the season or on a conditioning stint. Hence, we consider them graduates; Brodin, at this point, is a top pairing defenseman at age 20 (!!!) and even if Coyle doesn't pan out as the 2nd line Center, you know he's got a place as a winger with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.
They are, at this point, roster mainstays.
So, with that out of the way, here we go...