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Future Watch: Top 100 Prospects

A prospect doesn’t become our definition of an NHLer until he truly makes a difference in the big league. Carter Hart did that.

Carter Hart has a heck of a glove hand. He’s also pretty good at throwing curveballs. The latter he did during the most inopportune time at the friendly headquarters of Future Watch Central.

When this project began in mid-January, Hart was the No. 1 prospect in the Philadelphia system, a good candidate to be among the top 10 on the top-100 spread you see here, and surely the premier NHL prospect goaltender. His December call-up from the AHL was supposed to be short-term, maybe 10 to 15 games while Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth got healthy.

In most cases, we keep recalls such as these in perspective. Unless a rookie makes a profound and prolonged impact on his NHL team, we maintain his classification as prospect. Hart became such a difference-maker in his two-month big-league stint we had no choice but to promote him from prospect to 21-and-under NHLer. Hey, he’ll likely get some top-five votes for the Calder Trophy, even if he finishes the year in the AHL. Hart still factors into the Philadelphia team grade because of his age, but he’s no longer eligible for the top-100 prospect ranking.

Numerous other players fell slightly on one side or the other of our prospect-versus-NHLer line in the sand that we had to declare in late January in order to keep this project flowing smoothly. A panel of 11 scouts, GMs and directors of player personnel participated in this ranking of the game’s A-list prospects.

Each player’s rank from last season is in parentheses, with unranked players from last year denoted as “NR.” Prospects drafted in 2018 are denoted as “NEW.”

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