>Flipping through the pages of The Hockey News’ 2004-05 Yearbook, one can’t help but notice the preponderance of Griffins alumni sprinkled throughout its pages.
> Of course, with a record 44 former Griffins having skated in the NHL last season, it’s no wonder the noticeable impact some of them have made on hockey’s grandest stage.>
>Leading off the list is unrestricted free agent forward Pavol Demitra . The long-time St. Louis sniper is still looking for a home after a 23-goal, 58-point season for the Blue Notes, but he found a place at No. 36 among THN’s ranking of the “Top 50 Players in the World.”
> Jason Spezza , the second overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Ottawa Senators, is among a select group of young stars listed as being “on the cusp” of the Top 50. He’s also spotlighted as his franchise’s “Breakout Player,” as his ice-time and production are both expected to increase dramatically under new coach Bryan Murray .>
>Other alumni receiving special recognition include Kevyn Adams ( Carolina ’s “Charlie Hustle”), Sean Avery ( L.A. ’s “Agitator”) and Julien Vauclair , who comes in at No. 8 among the Senators’ top 10 prospects.
> Of course, the Red Wings’ prospect ranking is chock full of familiar faces as well. Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler are projected as “sure-fire NHLers,” coming in at second and third on the organizational chart. Rounding out the prospects are Joey MacDonald (#6), Nathan Robinson (#8), Darryl Bootland (#9) and Tomas Kopecky (#10).