Taylor Chorney is not a prospect. He's a 24 year-old defenseman who's never had success at the NHL level in an organization with five left-handed defensemen holding down NHL contracts, and a bunch of guys younger than him on the right side looking to get a shot in the big leagues. Just 20% of you think that he's a better bet than the motley crew of Arcobello, Bigos, Czerwonka, Ewanyk, Kytnar, O`Marra, and Tuohimaa. He's still in the Top 25 because four of our panelists are a part of that 20%.
I'm not one of them. Taylor Chorney has now played three professional seasons, and despite playing NHL games in all three of those seasons, it would be a big stretch to call his professional career successful. The 2008-09 version of Chorney had the worst +/- on a godawful Springfield Falcons team (-29 in 68 games), and in 2009-10, he followed that with a masterpiece: the worst +/- among defensemen on two different teams. Chorney had a dead-last -20 in 32 games with the Falcons, and a dead-last -21 in 42 games with the Oilers, a truly artistic level of suck.
Last season was a lot better. Chorney improved his +/- rating substantially in the AHL (he was -1) playing in a shut-down role. That's a huge improvement, and when Chorney was called back to the NHL on January 10th, I was feeling downright optimistic about his chances of success. This optimism was misplaced. In twelve NHL games, Chorney struggled mightily. By eye, he wasn't as bad as the previous season, but congratulating Chorney for that is like congratulating me for beating my eight year-old nephew in the high jump. His Corsi (-15.02/60) and Rel Corsi (-13.5/60) were still both the second-worst on the team among defenders (min. 10 GP), ahead of only Jason Strudwick; and thanks to David Staples' work, we can be pretty confident that Chorney was a part of the problem since he was a major cog in more scoring chances against per sixty minutes than any other Oiler defenseman... including Jason Strudwick!
That twelve-game stint was the end of Chorney's season. The Oilers and Barons both had more games to play, of course, but Chorney sat out every one because of an injury to his right knee at the end of February. The injury didn't require surgery (as far as I know), but it was serious enough to keep him out of the lineup for about two months. It's quite possible that the Oilers were just erring on the side of caution, but adding a semi-serious knee injury to the list of troubles isn't going to help a player who relies on strong skating to get by. At this point in his career, I think Chorney is a good bet to play an important role for the Barons, and he showed enough improvement last year that it's at least conceivable he'll one day play a useful role on an NHL team. But this season, it's likely off to Oklahoma, and even though he'll need to clear waivers to get there, I don't expect that to be a problem. That alone speaks volumes about Chorney's status as a prospect: he isn't one.