My point was that people tend to overrate prospects and it's incredibly hard to predict how they will fare in the NHL, even for professionals.
Like these future Red Wings:
"He is a man amongst boys sometimes. He's not overly physical, but he takes the man and plays the body and he's got a little chip on his shoulder at times. But he's more of a skilled guy." -- Red Wings director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell (December 2005) "He's gotten stronger. He still needs to get a little bit stronger, but at training camp, he came close to making the team. He was definitely good enough to play and stick there. He's the kind of guy who plays better with better players. Down the road, I would think he's going to be a top-four guy. He's good on the power play and he's a real smart kid." -- McDonnell (October 2006)
"He's got very good hockey sense, good stick skills, and he's a Red Wings type of player, the way he thinks the game. We think he's a top two line player. Like with all kids, he needs to improve his strength. He needs to work on his leg strength and get his skating a little bit stronger, but it's just the maturing of the body." -- Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill (June 2006) ... "His hockey sense is his best asset. He's a very smart player. He's just got to get bigger and stronger, but he's a pretty well-rounded guy." -- Red Wings director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell (October 2006) ...
That's Kindl and Emmerton.
I hope these young guys turn into NHL d-men, I just don't think you really can tell too much until they get time with the big club.
I get what you're saying but I think you're over simplifying a bit. I mean, scouts lauded Emmerton and scouts lauded Nyquist. But it would be silly to suggest that there's no telling which of the two would be a better NHLer until they get to the big club. You could tell by their AHL careers who would be better before they ever touched the NHL. One dominated that league, and one was average. That's all I'm saying about these d-men. Jakub Kindl in his best AHL season wasn't as good as Ryan Sproul just was as a rookie. Does that guarantee that Sproul will be stud NHLer? Absolutely not. But it's a pretty good indication that he'll be better than Jakub Kindl. I don't think it's fair to say "we don't know until they get there". We know how these guys project, and we know how far along their developmental trajectories they are based on how well they're playing against their current level of competition. So I think it's safe to draw SOME conclusions from that. Not guarantees. But certainly conclusions.