Six new players have been added to the New York Rangers top 20 prospect list this fall. Those include four players drafted in June and two that were signed as free agents since last spring.
The Montreal Canadiens‘ management team added more players to their prospect pool which reduced their weakness and only strengthened their balanced mix. Through the recent draft selections and free agent signings of Jiri Sekac and Daniel Carr, the team really improved the depth and filled in more of the gaps in the farm system.
After a year in which several prospects left the Panthers system, the summer brought new faces to Florida. Among them is the first overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, Aaron Ekblad, a towering, talented defenseman who could be just one of several prospects earning full-time NHL roster spots this fall.
The Boston Bruins have turned to some of their young guns like Reilly Smith, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and others to jump into the lineup and produce right away. With the Bruins’ current cap troubles, there is a good chance that top prospects like David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, and Alexander Khokhlachev will be to do the same.
For all intents and purposes, the 2014 NHL Draft table was a flurry of activity for the Vancouver Canucks and had immediate impact on their top 20 prospects. They were, amongst other areas of improvement, able to draft arguably their best left winger in 15 years and their best goaltender in 10 years.
The lack of a first round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft hurt the Ottawa Senators, but the arrival of two forward prospects via trade helped generate some excitement. Acquired from the Dallas Stars as part of a package deal for Jason Spezza, OHL forward Nicholas Paul is a player on the rise, poised for a breakout year in 2014-15. Fellow new arrival Alex Guptill, on the other hand, is looking to rebound back to elite form after a forgettable final season with the Michigan Wolverines.
The Pittsburgh Penguins rarely drafted out of Europe under former general manager Ray Shero. Nor did they draft many forwards with size. So when Shero and company selected a big-bodied, little known Swedish center named Oskar Sundqvist in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, there was naturally some intrigue.
Listing the Minnesota Wild‘s Top 20 Prospect Group is a more difficult exercise this fall, with a fairly clear-cut top four (including Erik Haula, who should graduate soon) followed by another 20 or so players with only a little separation. The Wild also added a lot of new blood to bolster the farm system, pushing some familiar names out of the Top 20.