The 20 Best Prospect Names in Hockey
Let me preface this slideshow by saying the following. By funniest names I am not poking fun at anyone's heritage race, creed, national origin, gender, sexual preference, favorite color, toothpaste flavor, head size or...wait.
Well I figure I can make fun of someone's head size because I literally have small satellites that have fallen into orbit around my own over-sized melon. At some point in life it doesn't matter that your mom told you that you have a big head because it's full of a big brain. I wear a size 7 5/8 hat and that's the end of it.
Back to the name game. Obviously I grew up with the last name Kirk, so naturally I am a HUGE Star Trek fan right? Child please. I have actually been insulted with what I can only assume are Star Trek insults on this site by some angst-ridden readers. I never really got the sting because I have literally not watched an episode of that fabled science fiction series.
The name Kirk afforded me quite a bit in the insult category through various rhyming and general adolescent and young adult creativity/ignorance. I'm numb to it now, but of course get the token, "Hey, like Captain Kirk!" from an enthusiastic un-closeted Trekkie. It's more fun now to just act like you have no idea what they are talking about. The utter disappointment on their face is priceless. It's like the name-gods frowned upon them because my coveted name was wasted upon someone oblivious to bad television.
The names I covet are soon to follow. I swear I could have just made this article "Best Finnish Names in SM-Liiga" and there would be no shortage of vowel ridden tongue twisters with accents that I have never seen.
So get your silent "J" and a couple of extra "I's" ready. We're going to look at some of the best names out there for the future of hockey. By future I don't mean spaceships like the one that Captain Kirk used to fly around on. You know, the Millennium Falcon. Enjoy now!
Let it be said that just the name Nino itself could be attached to any name to make it spectacular. Wesley Snipes character in New Jack City was named Nino Brown and that worked out pretty well for him. Add the surname "Niedereitter" and you have got a little slice of magic.
Yes, he is still a prospect with "potential." For now.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person that finds it hilarious that the top Bruins defensive prospect is a 6'5" 200-plus pound man-child named Dougie. Could we just go with Doug? Seriously.
I picture him riding to the TD Gardens on a push scooter, wearing a propeller hat, carrying a sack lunch from home. Do his jerseys have "Dougie" written in sharpie on the tag so they don't get lost?
I love the name Sven for all the phonetic reasons you can think of and Baertschi sounds like Starsky. If Baertschi can click with new Calgary Flames signing Jiri Hudler, they could form the improbable Euro-duo of "Baertschi and Huds". I know it's a reach, but I still love the name Sven Baertschi.
Darnell Nurse was one of the first picks in this year's OHL draft going to the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds. I can't exactly explain why the name makes me chuckle other than in any roster listing he will be:
"Mr. Kirk, nurse Darnell will be in to give you your rabies shots." Beautiful.
Of all the names that are pretty common in Scandinavia, I seem to enjoy Ville the most. Don't ask me why, but it's just fun to say I guess. That brings us to hot-shot goalie prospect Ville Husso. Scouts have him as a potential second-to-third round pick in the 2013 draft. Husso currently plays for HIFK in Finland.
Great name for the Slovakian forward who currently plays for KHL club HC Slovan Bratislava. His first year of eligibility for the draft will be next summer and expect for his name to be called in the first round.
One of my favorite hockey names of all time is Garth Butcher because it just sounds like he could maim you. Just hearing the word "butcher" evokes imagery of blood and meat strewn about, kind of like an ECHL game.
Will Butcher is no relation, to my knowledge, and Will is not as menacing as Garth, but I still love the name.
Bogdon Yakimov is a young Russian mountain of a man that sounds like a mountain range. At 6'4" and 200-plus pounds, Yakimov will only get thicker as he fills out his frame. He missed eligibility for last year's draft by only three weeks and could be a first rounder by next summer.
Jon Knuts is a C/LW currently playing in Sweden with the club Leksand. Knuts is far from a highly touted prospect, but has made several appearances for Sweden's international teams, so he does have some game.
He also has a brother who is a defensemen named Emil Knuts. I couldn't possibly make this up.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Viktor Lööv with their seventh round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft this summer. While he may struggle to make it to the show, the big 19-year-old defenseman has one of the better names in hockey. It also appears that his last name, when spelled correctly, is always surprised.
Anaheim Duck prospect Emerson Etem lit up the OHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers scoring 61 goals. As a native of the Long Beach area, playing close to home in Anaheim is something that Etem can look forward to sooner rather than later. Great player, better name.
Yefim Gurkin of the KHL's Salavat Yulaev is a 19-year-old Russian whose name is possibly more memorable than his game. Modest numbers on an average team won't get you as many headlines. Come on Gurkin!! Get in there!
At 6'3" and 195-pounds, Jusso Honka is one big Finn. He was on track as a top Finnish prospect before a couple of mediocre seasons left him undrafted. Honka currently resides in the SM-Liiga for HPK.
If you say his name aloud more than once and can't smile, then I just can't help you.
Drafted in 2011 by the Dallas Stars with the 195th pick in round seven, Jyrki Jokipakka has yet to come across the Atlantic. He's a good sized defenseman who can move the puck well. Jokipakka currently plays for Ilves of the SM-Liiga.
Regarded by some as one of the biggest steals of this year's NHL Entry Draft, Teuvo Teräväinen is a slick puck-handling forward who can play center or wing. He's a bit on the small side, but is a great passer and has terrific hockey sense. Oh, and possibly the coolest name on the Blackhawks' roster.
Cory Pecker might not be a top prospect any more, because scouts are still waiting for him to reach his potential. Freshly released from his contract with the Sheffield Steelers, Pecker could be coming to a beer-league near you. If he can't cut it in the hockey hotbed of the United Kingdom, one wonders what the future holds for the once promising Pecker.
A fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2008, Eero Elo has had a production decline since he joined the senior club at HC Lukko. He has the size and skill to be an elite power-forward at the NHL level, but until his production picks up in the SM-Liiga, Elo is just another cool Finnish name.
Some say that Peterborough Petes defenseman Slater Koekkoek was drafted by Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman because of Yzerman's history with the OHL club. I tend to think that Yzerman simply wanted someone on his roster with a name harder to pronounce than Yzerman.
The big Pete's defenseman will likely have plenty of time to get bigger and stronger until the NHL decides that it's "Game on!" again.
Young Finnish winger Juluis Junttila can play either wing for his current club Oulun Kärpät. His second year with the senior club saw flashes of the talent that earned him a spot on Finland's U-20 and U-19 international squads. He'll need to add some size if he expects to get the attention of NHL scouts.
Rasmus Ristolainen is one of the top defensive prospects in the world right now, and happens to have a pretty awesome name too. With good size, skill and hockey sense, the 6'3" Ristolainen is a top-pair defenseman for his club TPS in Finland. Scouts will be literally drooling over him at the 2013 draft.