The Boston Bruins have done an excellent job of identifying and developing young players in recent years.
Among the players who have graduated from prospect status to full-time NHL contributors are Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Vladimir Sobotka.
Fortunately for the Bruins' faithful, there are still a few more gems in the system, including the club's future No. 1 goalkeeper.
In part three of our series looking at the prospects in the organization of the 30 NHL teams, here are the fantasyhockeynetwork.com's ranking of the top-five fantasy keeper picks in the Bruins' system:
1. Tuukka Rask, G
While some Boston fans may be disappointed that the original predictions of instant super-stardom haven't quite materialized, the 20-year-old is still a big-time prospect.
Rask is blessed with all the attributes that make-up an elite NHL goaltender—quickness, exceptional reflexes, and the ability to stay calm and focused throughout the game. With another year or two of seasoning in the minors, the Finn should be ready to make his full-time debut in the big show.
2. Zach Hamill, C
The 2006-07 Western Hockey League scoring leader suffered through a slow start last season, ending up with just 75 points in 67 games.
Hamill has great offensive instincts and all the intangibles including heart, work ethic and attitude.
Definitely in need of more seasoning at the AHL level, but still one to watch in the future, the seventh-overall pick in the 2007 draft projects as a No. 1 offensive center when he hits his peak years.
3. Matt Lashoff, D
Despite numbers that might indicate Lashoff's development has stalled, 35 points in back-to-back seasons in the American Hockey League is impressive for a 22-year-old defenseman. A skilled puck-mover, the 2005 first-rounder (22nd overall) is an excellent skater who can contribute offensively and play a solid game in his own end.
Most young defensemen take time to develop, but Lashoff is ready for a top-six role in 2008-09, with the potential for more down the road.
4. Joe Colborne, C
The Bruins used the 16th-overall pick in the 2008 draft to select this mammoth young center. At 6'5", Colborne is a raw talent who uses his range and on-ice awareness to make plays for his teammates, a la Joe Thornton.
Colborne needs to work on his skating and his physical commitment, but the Calgary, Alberta native has the tools to be an elite NHL center. A project at this point with a potentially huge payoff in the future.
5. Brad Marchand, C/RW
A key member of Canada's winning team at the World Juniors, the Halifax native had 31 goals in the Quebec Major Junior League last season. The feisty winger has speed to burn, and plays a lot bigger than his 5'9" frame suggests.
Marchand excels at taking the puck to the net and is more than willing to take the punishment required to get rebounds and tip-ins. He has the determination and confidence to overcome his small stature and become a top-six forward.
In the next installment of our series, we'll look at the top fantasy prospects in the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Read other articles in the series:
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!