Like a number of CHL teams, the Portland Winterhawks have sent multiple players to the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this year. Seth Jones has received the majority of the attention as both the captain of Team Orr and one of the top draft-eligibles for the 2013 NHL Draft, while his teammate Nicolas Petan is a familiar name for prospect watchers after helping Canada win the gold at last summer's Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
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The Boston Bruins are not the deepest team in minor league prospects, but some of the ones they do have could be impact prospects sooner than later. Ryan Spooner is off to a great start in Providence as one of the teams top scorers, in only his first year at the professional level. In goal Niklas Svedberg has jumped over Michael Hutchinson, and if he keeps up his solid play could end up being Tuukka Rask's back up sooner rather than later.
The draft year is an exciting time for any hockey player on the road to becoming an NHL prospect. From scouts in the stands to tournaments and rankings, all culminating in the big event in June, the whole year is a whirlwind of activity as players show off their skills and hope to hear their name called.
Mirco Mueller could be excused if he is a little disorientated this week while playing at the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax. Ever since the start of the 2013 calendar year, the young Swiss defenseman has spent almost as much time traveling on airplanes as he has playing hockey.
Ignoring everything else, from his age to his size and his family history, Anthony Mantha quite simply scores goals. With 33 markers in just 43 games so far this year, the Val d'Or Foreurs forward has already sniped a hat trick on three separate occasions and added in a four-goal game for good measure.
Cassels. Domi. Mantha. Rychel. They are names that many hockey fans are familiar with, the names of former NHL players. But those names also represent a new wave of talent, still on the way to hopefully making an impact in the pro ranks.
Despite the fact that it is considered one of the "Big Four" major leagues in North America, hockey remains a small sport in many different ways. That size brings a sense of community, where everybody knows one another.
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