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Youth movement in full swing for Pittsburgh Penguins

by Ian Altenbaugh
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Youth movement in full swing for Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Derrick Pouliot has had difficulties staying with the Penguins this season, but he remains the best prospect on the team’s top 20. (Courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a solid group of homegrown prospects, especially at forward. However, it wasn’t always that way. For years, the Penguins relied on the free agent bargain bin to fill out the bottom six portion of their forward roster, often overpaying for players past their prime. That is not the case anymore, as seven different forward prospects played for the Penguins this year. Read more »

Move from Winnipeg to Seattle has been a good one for Thunderbirds’ Kolesar

by Glen Erickson
on
Move from Winnipeg to Seattle has been a good one for Thunderbirds’ Kolesar

Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Keegan Kolesar is the leading goal-scorer for the Thunderbirds with 30 goals, including nine on the power play (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

When HF met with Keegan Kolesar in Kelowna, we were greeted with a smile and a friendly handshake. Thankfully for an aging scribe, it was much more pleasant than the manner in which the rambunctious Seattle Thunderbirds forward introduces himself to WHL opponents. Read more »

Trio of U20 players among top NHL-drafted defensemen out of Finland

by Tony Piscotta
on
Trio of U20 players among top NHL-drafted defensemen out of Finland

Photo: JyP Jyvaskyla defenseman and Winnipeg Jets prospect Sami Niku (R) is one of a trio of defensive NHL prospects that competed for Finland in their gold medal run at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2015 NHL Draft saw six defensemen from Finland selected for only the second time since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 2004. Though none of those players were selected in the top two rounds — as current Pittsburgh Penguin Olli Maatta was in the 2012 draft class that was previously the largest — the 2015 draft class has increased the number of NHL-drafted defensemen playing in Liiga. This has helped to expand this list to a top 10 after listing just five players last year. Read more »

AHL Western Conference Notebook, February, 2016: Playoff races heat up, potential All-Rookie candidates

by Sean Shapiro
on
AHL Western Conference Notebook, February, 2016: Playoff races heat up, potential All-Rookie candidates

Photo: The NHL trade deadline will have an effect on AHL clubs, as well, with the Colorado Avalanche sending prospect Colin Smith to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smith, the third-leading scorer for the Rampage before the trade, will join the powerhouse Toronto Marlies (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

The Iowa Wild may be at the bottom of the AHL standings, but the team has been at the epicenter of several NHL headlines in February.

On Feb. 13th, the Minnesota Wild announced that Iowa Wild head coach John Torchetti would replace Mike Yeo as the head coach of the NHL franchise. Read more »

Top 20 New Jersey Devils prospects developing with gusto

by John Iadevaia
on
Top 20 New Jersey Devils prospects developing with gusto

Photo: Pavel Zacha has 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 44 games for the Sarnia Sting. (Courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Whether energized by the luster of new management or coincidentally meshing at the same time, the majority of the New Jersey Devils prospects have performed well this season. Credit goes to General Manager Ray Shero and Head Coach John Hynes for what they have brought to the organization: opportunity and a modernized direction for the franchise. Not only has this applied to the top prospects but it has trickled down to the role-players as well. More work needs to be done by Shero but the prospects are showing New Jersey’s system is better the sum of its parts. Read more »

Prospect Impressions: Panarin strikes again, Kuhnhackl’s first NHL goal, more from AHL, KHL, NCAA

by David Hahn
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Prospect Impressions: Panarin strikes again, Kuhnhackl’s first NHL goal, more from AHL, KHL, NCAA

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl celebrates his first NHL goal in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning this past weekend (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

The Calder Trophy is still up for grabs, and Artemi Panarin won’t let it get out of his grasp thanks to a little help from the NHL’s leading scorer. He had to wait 18 games to do it, but Tom Kuhnhackl made his first NHL goal look easy. In the AHL, Troy Grosenick added another entry into the Save of the Year category, only to be outdone by one of the AHL’s leading scorers. Plenty more action is available in this week’s Prospect Impressions! Read more »

Colts duo of Labanc, Sadowy has Barrie in the thick of battle for Eastern bragging rights in OHL

by Jason Menard
on
Colts duo of Labanc, Sadowy has Barrie in the thick of battle for Eastern bragging rights in OHL

Photo: Barrie Colts forward and San Jose Sharks prospect Dylan Sadowy was dealt along with Greg DiTomaso at the 2016 OHL trade deadline by the Saginaw Spirit to the Colts in exchange for Rocky Kaura, nine draft picks and two conditional picks (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

As the Barrie Colts navigate their way to the playoffs, they have the confidence to know that they are swimming in the company of a pair of Sharks – league-leading scorer Kevin Labanc and recent acquisition Dylan Sadowy. Read more »

San Jose Sharks enjoying some promising rookie performances

by Craig Fischer
on
San Jose Sharks enjoying some promising rookie performances

Photo: Although the 18th overall pick of the 2013 NHL draft, San Jose Sharks prospect Mirco Mueller, does not project as a top-pairing defenseman, he plays a calm and skillful game that is still improving (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

After a rocky start to the season, the San Jose Sharks have drastically improved their transition play, and now sit a comfortable seven points up on the Arizona Coyotes for the final divisional playoff spot in the Pacific. While the team predominately leans on its veterans, a handful of young prospects have impacted the team this season.

Read more »

Top 20 Buffalo Sabres prospects still full of NHL potential

by Ryan Womeldorf
on
Top 20 Buffalo Sabres prospects still full of NHL potential

Photo: Just six months after he debuted at #1 of the Sabres top 20, super-rookie Jack Eichel is games away from graduating from Hockey’s Future prospect criteria. (Courtesy of John Crouch/Icon Sportswire.)

The 2015-16 season has been quite noteworthy for the Buffalo Sabres and their prospects. After two consecutive seasons of languishing at the bottom of the standings, the team got an infusion of youth this season and have seen positive results. Read more »

AHL Eastern Conference Notebook, February, 2016: Marlies maintain lead in North, but Atlantic far from settled

by Tony Androckitis
on
AHL Eastern Conference Notebook, February, 2016: Marlies maintain lead in North, but Atlantic far from settled

Photo: Providence Bruins forward and Boston Bruins prospect Frank Vatrano scored six goals and added an assist in 30 NHL games in 2015-16 (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

As teams enter the stretch run of the 2015-16 AHL season, points in the standings are at a premium. A good run of wins can help solidify a playoff position while an untimely losing skid can push a team out of postseason contention. The intensity is ramped up in the final eight weeks of the season, meaning every game, period and shift matters. Read more »

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