Given a full NHL season in 2012-13, the Wild's Top 20 would not look quite as deep. Jonas Brodin and Nino Niederreiter would have graduated barring injury, and Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund would have been close as well.
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The Montreal Canadiens have added quality and quantity to their talent pool over the last two years, bringing in players with good offensive skills, speed, size and physicality, but more importantly leadership and good work ethic. This could be the deepest group of prospects the Canadiens have had in their farm system for quite some time.
In recent years, Sweden has sent several prospects to the NHL Draft, with a few of them being chosen in the first round. After producing such potentially great prospects as Mka Zibanejad, Filip Forsberg and Elias Lindholm in the past couple of drafts, Calgary-born son of Michael Nylander, William Nylander, is heading this year's Swedish draft class. The next big Swedish gun is not Swedish-born, but he definitely has a lot of Sweden in his veins.
Hailing from the Espoo Blues organization stationed right outside of Helsinki, the 6’1”, 180-pound left winger Waltteri Hopponen most recently represented Team Finland at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament that took place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Waltteri spoke to Hockey’s Future for a few moments after a 5-1 victory over Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka.
Sweden is a hockey country that produces first-round draft prospects every year, with the 2014 draft class being no exception. Led by top-three prospect William Nylander Altelius, the son of former NHL forward Michael Nylander, there are more talented young guns coming out of Sweden and into the big league next year. Another of those rising Swedish stars is Adrian Kempe, who is currently considered first-round material and had a great showing at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Despite recently graduating a large number of players to the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets continue to have a well-stocked system. Led by a trio of talented goaltenders and a slew of high-end defensive prospects, Columbus' future in its own zone looks bright. The Blue Jackets have tons of promise offensively too, with forwards Marko Dano, Alexander Wennberg, and Kerby Rychel among the newest members of the prospect pool.
They are not prominent, but if you pay close attention the signs are all there. Cars left out overnight have dew on the windows, a few leaves are scattered beneath certain trees, and school supplies are pushed to the front of most stores; Fall is just around the corner. With Fall comes another hockey season, this time for every level of hockey (NHL included).
The Edmonton Oilers organization underwent some changes during the off-season with new general manager Craig MacTavish making some big moves at the 2013 NHL Draft as well as during the free agent frenzy. Many of the signings were already at the NHL level hence why there was not a great influx of new prospects here, but you can be sure that things will continue to be shaken up as we head into the 2013-14 season.
Narrowing the Florida Panthers vast prospect pool into a top 20 is no easy task, and several of the players in the second half of the list could easily crack the top 10 prospects in other organizations. The Panthers continue to move youth into their NHL lineup and many of the players currently ranked will graduate in 2013-14, but there are several newcomers and other top prospects ready to fill the empty spots.