Matt Lashoff of the Providence Bruins No. 1 in MLN FAB50 Hockey 2008 Rankings

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Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins) defenseman Matt Lashoff was named as the number one player in minor league hockey by the editors of MLN Sports in the annual MLN FAB50 Hockey mid-season talent and movement rankings of the fifty best fast-track hockey players in the minors who have the potential for an NHL career within the next 18 months. The Atlanta Thrashers were named as the MLN FAB50 Farm of the Year 2008 for having the most top picks in both the MLN FAB50 and the MLN Ones2Watch 2008 companion list of 25 players whose careers are beginning to heat up.

March 2008 Cover

We fast-forward the old-school 'beauty-contest' to deal with the realities of big-dollar pro sports that limit the number of openings for players. You can be a great talent, but if you're stuck in your organization, you may never realize your full potential.

Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins) defenseman Matt Lashoff was named as the number one player in minor league hockey by the editors of MLN Sports in the annual MLN FAB50 Hockey mid-season talent and movement rankings of the fifty best fast-track hockey players in the minors who have the potential for an NHL career within the next 18 months. The list, along with original feature stories on all fifty players, appears in the current issue of SZ, the electronic magazine of minor league and alternative professional sports.

"You need means, motivation, and, most important, opportunity to make it to the NHL," said MLN senior editor Brian Ross. "We fast-forward the old-school 'beauty-contest' to deal with the realities of big-dollar pro sports that limit the number of openings for players. You can be a great talent, but if you're stuck in your organization, you may never realize your full potential."

The top five players named to the MLN FAB50 Hockey 2008 were:
1. Matt Lashoff • Defenseman • Providence Bruins • Boston Bruins
2. Bobby Ryan • Right Wing • Portland Pirates • Anaheim Ducks
3. Rob Schremp• Right Wing • Springfield Falcons • Edmonton Oilers
4. Carey Price • Goaltender • Hamilton Bulldogs • Montreal Canadiens
5. Derick Brassard • Center • Syracuse Crunch • Columbus Blue Jackets

The Atlanta Thrashers were named as the MLN FAB50 Farm of the Year 2008 for having the most top picks in both the MLN FAB50 and the MLN Ones2Watch 2008 companion list of 25 players whose careers are beginning to heat up. The Thrashers narrowly beat out the Boston Bruins for top honors in player development for the 2007-2008 hockey season.

"MLN Hockey editor Dan Hickling and his writers have done another exceptional job at assembling the list of hockey's best minor league talent," said Ross.

Each player is given their own feature article and bio page, topped by a 17" wide photo layout. The original features are written by some of the best veteran beat writers in minor league hockey, including Hickling, Fran Sypek, Jonathan Bombulie, and Mike Haim.

"Not every player rolls right into the NHL," noted Ross. "Brett Sterling, our number one in 2007 for the season that he had where he was positively on fire was still part of his development curve for Atlanta. He was number seven in this year's rankings, which is not a ding on his talent, but a recognition of a number of other hot prospects who are moving forward to the NHL."

To see the full story of the MLN FAB50 Hockey 2008 list of the best of the best in minor league hockey click on the link.

About MLN Sports:
Founded in 2000 as Minor League News, our flagship magazine, MLN Sports Zone (SZ) became the first true digital sports magazine in the world, with magazine format and layout. Today, SZ is one of three publications that MLN Sports Group publishes. MLN - The Raw Feed , is our international minor league and alternative pro sports newswire which reaches Google News, Yahoo!, MSN, and more than 12,000 outlets daily via RSS. The MAJOR BLOGS of Minor League News features the first sports critics dedicated to minor and indy sports. To subscribe to SZ and save 40% off of the annual $11.99 subscription, use code: PRWEB

About the MLN FAB50 Hockey Rankings:
To make the MLN FAB0 Hockey rankings, a player has to have spent a good chunk of their time on a Triple-A American Hockey League (AHL) or a Double-A ECHL or Central Hockey League (CHL) or International Hockey League (IHL) club affiliated with an NHL team. Players cannot spend more than three seasons on the list. They must have exceptional skills at their position, and be considered either a top prospect for a full-time NHL job or a top trade candidate.

The FAB50 list is assembled almost continually through the pre-season to mid-season, with changes made as the players demonstrate whether they are ready to step up to the NHL. Finalized at the AHL All-Star break, it represents a snapshot of both the best players in development the state of minor league hockey, and a window into the future of the NHL.

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BRIAN ROSS

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