Brett Sterling No. 1 Minor League Hockey Player in the MLN FAB50 2007 Hockey Rankings by MLN Sports Zone

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Minor League News (MLN) has released its annual MLN FAB50 Hockey 2007 rankings of the top players in minor league hockey. Left wing Brett Sterling of the American Hockey League (AHL) Chicago Wolves, the Triple-A affiliate of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers, was named as the number one player in all of minor league hockey. The Boston Bruins and their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins (Peebs) were named as the 2007 Hockey Farm System of the Year. This is the fifth anniversary of the FAB50 hockey rankings at MLN, compiled by section Editor Dan Hickling, and written by six veteran journalists, including two Ellery Award winners and a member of the Rhode Island Sports Writers Hall of Fame.

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This is the most balanced group of AHL prospects, 1-50, that we've seen in several seasons

Brett Sterling, left wing for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League (AHL), and a top prospect of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers, was named as the number one player in the MLN FAB50 Hockey 2007 rankings released today by Minor League News (MLN) in the February/March 2007 edition of the electronic magazine, MLN Sports Zone, available on-line now.

"This is the most balanced group of AHL prospects, 1-50, that we've seen in several seasons," notes FAB50 section editor and regular MLN contributor Dan Hickling. "Most of them, perhaps all of them, will end having solid NHL careers."

Named to the top ten were Sterling (1), Norfolk Admirals / Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker (2), Manchester Monarchs center Patrick O'Sullivan (3), recent Boston Bruins acquisition Brandon Bochenski (4), goaltender for the Hartford Wolf Pack / New York Rangers Al Montoya (5), right wing for the Rochester Americans (Amerks) / Buffalo Sabres Drew Stafford (6), left wing for the Hershey Bears / Manitoba Moose Eric Fehr (7), defenseman for the Providence Bruins / Boston Bruins Mark Stuart (8), Amerks left wing Clarke MacArthur (9), and Peoria Rivermen / St. Louis Blues goaltender Marek Schwarz (10).

The FAB50 is a movement and talent ranking which takes into account both the skills of the player, and the realities of the NHL development systems in which they play. It also deals with the realities of the recent rules change, as 14 defensemen top the position list in the FAB50 this year.

"We project that there will be a higher demand for talented defensemen," says Brian Ross, MLN Sports Zone senior editor. "The rules changes in the NHL have made the position a lot more demanding. We're projecting a little larger burn and injury factor as a result, which dictates more openings for defensemen in the coming years. It will be interesting to see if the development system in the AHL, which normally is very slow to mature D-men, will be able to keep pace."

The Boston Bruins were named the MLN Hockey Farm System of the Year 2007 by the editors of MLN for holding four of the top picks in the FAB50 rankings, with Brandon Bochenski (4) and Mark Stuart (8) in the top ten, Matt Lashoff (15) in the top fifteen, and David Krejci handily beats the freshman forties at 35.

Finishing a close second was the Chicago Blackhawks organization, which had four lower-ranked nods.

The FAB50 Hockey rankings will also represent a first for MLN.

"Effective with this issue, we're rolling out the debut of MLN PREMIUM at MLN Sports Zone," announced Ross.

MLN Premium will be the new home of the annual sections at MLN Sports Zone, like the FAB50 Hockey and FAB50 baseball rankings, the cheerleaders issue, and the MLN Top Ten Ballparks, in addition to other signature features throughout the year.

Features articles in Premium offer large, print-style layouts and photos, and quality writing by some of the best names in sports journalism. Brian Ross, Dan Hickling, Jim Mandalero, Lary Bump and Mike Scandura top a list of more than 73 writers who contribute to Sports Zone (SZ).

"We continue to expand our offerings to the 92 million minor league and independent professional sports fans of a major-league quality publication focused on their leagues, teams and players. We think our readers will find good value in the MLN PREMIUM area."

MLN Premium will debut with a modest annual subscription of $11.99/year.

For the complete list of hockey players appearing in the MLN FAB50 2007 hockey rankings, see the full article.

To find out more about subscribing to MLN Sports Zone, the oldest international all-sport all-minor and independent professional sports magazine, online since 2000, click here.

MLN Sports Zone is a publication of MLN Sports Group, the leader in minor and independent sporting news since 2000. SZ is one of four publications currently offered by MLN. Other publications include the international minor league sports newswire MLN - The Raw Feed, our sports critics website The MAJOR BLOGS of Minor League News ( http://www.majorblogs.net), and The Open Source Sports Directory, http://www.ossd.info, a wiki which tracks every minor league and indy professional athele from 1900 to the present.

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