Photo: Defenseman Derrick Pouliot remains the top player in the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect pool. Pouliot was selected eighth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins began a new era in the 2014 offseason. They have a new general manager in Jim Rutherford, a new head coach in Mike Johnston, and a deeper group of forwards – at the NHL level and throughout the system – than the organization has seen in quite a while.
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Tanner Pearson recorded 12 points in 24 playoff games for the Los Angeles Kings en route to a Stanley Cup Championship. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Kings had a number of prospects step up and have statement years in 2013-14, but the Fall 2014 Top 20 list features a number of prospects who are going to be pushed by new challenges. Not only is there a new No. 1 prospect on the list, but nine players of the 20 are going to be potentially looking at their first full year in their respective leagues. The Kings also acquired a few new faces via draft and trade that are a welcomed addition to the list as well as the pipeline. With new surroundings, a big step up for many, and at least a few heading towards graduation, the list could look very different come next summer.
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Photo: Providence College defenseman and Buffalo Sabres prospect Anthony Florentino turned in a solid freshman season for the Friars, scoring five goals and adding six assists in 30 games during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
At the time of the 2013 NHL Draft, current Providence College defenseman and Buffalo Sabres prospect Anthony Florentino was a stocky and relatively unheralded draft prospect. He stood 6’1” and weighed 227 pounds, and was coming off of a successful prep school career at South Kent School in Connecticut. Read more »
Johnny Gaudreau recorded 80 points in 40 games with Boston College in 2013-14. He brings his sublime offensive skill set to the Calgary Flames in 2014-15. (courtesy of Rich Lam/Getty Images)
A new chapter begins for the Calgary Flames as general manager Brad Treliving enters his first full season managing the team. Overseeing his first draft with the Flames, Treliving added to the growing pool of talent with the selection of six quality prospects including Sam Bennett and Mason McDonald, who find themselves ranked for the first time among the Hockey’s Future Flames Top 20 prospects list. Read more »
Darnell Nurse recorded 50 points in 64 games while also serving as captain of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Fall 2014 edition of the Edmonton Oilers Top 20 remained relatively steadfast among the top five spots save for the addition of newcomer to the list and 2014 third-overall draft selection Leon Draisaitl. Once again, the Top 20 is dominated by defensive prospects but two strong power forwards, Mitch Moroz and Jujhar Khaira (both drafted in 2012), continue to turn heads as they make a push up the rankings and look toward having a strong training camp performance. Goaltender Laurent Brossoit is pulling away from the pack of Oilers goaltending prospects, proving himself the clear front-runner for a chance at an NHL job after a strong rookie professional season.
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Photo: Quebec Remparts forward and New York Rangers prospect Anthony Duclair scored 50 goals and added 49 assists for the Remparts in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
It isn’t often that a player competing at the U20 World Junior Championship gets the chance to play those games in his hometown, but Quebec Remparts forward Anthony Duclair just might get that opportunity when the 2015 edition of that tournament begins in late December. Read more »
Photo: Defenseman Jon Merrill had a strong rookie pro season in 2013-14, managing two goals and nine assists in 52 NHL games. (courtesy of Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Thanks to a few rookies stepping up last season, the New Jersey Devils feel comfortable to trust their prospects with bigger roles going forward. The change has already started on the blue line, but the transition with forwards might take a while.
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Photo: Regina Pats forward and Calgary Flames prospect Morgan Klimchuk posted 30 goals and 44 assists in 57 games for the Pats in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
With appearances in both of Team WHL‘s matches versus Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series, Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk was provided with a great opportunity to showcase his skills for Team Canada’s World Junior coaching staff. Read more »
Photo: Forward Josh Leivo is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who are expected to take the next step in their development. Leivo was a third round pick in 2011. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.
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Chris Bigras was voted “best defensive defenseman” by the OHL’s Western Conference coaches in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Two key Colorado Avalanche players did not stay prospects for long as both surpassed the 65-NHL-game mark in 2013-14. 18-year-old forward Nathan MacKinnon entered the league under the bright spotlights of being the 2013 NHL Draft’s first overall pick and did not disappoint. He ended the season as the Calder Trophy favorite and was unanimously voted as the trophy winner. Tyson Barrie also had a statement season when he cemented himself as a key figure on the Avalanche blue line, contributing offense in even-strength situations as well as on the power play.
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