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Nothing but Blue Sky

While the Blues' organization is thick with talent, it doesn't
have as many youthful future stars as some other clubs. In
determining the clubs with the strongest collection of promising
young players, SI weighed the depth of each team's prospects in
the minors, the juniors, college and Europe, as well as players
in the NHL who are 21 years old or less. Here are our top five


1. ISLANDERS Athletic goaltender Rick DiPietro, the No. 1 draft
selection last June, has all the tools, including confidence, to
be franchise player.

2. CAPITALS Have wealth of skilled forwards, led by Czech center
Michal Sivek.

3. SHARKS They already have three players who are 21 or younger
in San Jose; sturdy Jeff Jilson anchors the blue line at

4. DEVILS Ari Ahonen of Finland is the top goaltender in Europe;
New Jersey also has several excellent blueliners playing in its

5. HURRICANES They have three players on the U.S. junior
national team; blue-chip defenseman David Tanabe is already in
his second NHL season.