Photo: Los Angeles Kings first-rounder Adrian Kempe starred for Team Sweden at the World Juniors but did not stand out on a struggling MODO squad. (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Hockey is a tough sport with a lot to think about and a lot of moving parts on the ice. There is the physical aspect as well as the mental aspect that players have to develop. In the early stages of their career it is not uncommon to see one fall a step behind the other. The Kings have six prospects playings in the NCAA ranks and overseas, and most of them have endured seasons of struggles with a steep learning curve. Some, like Nikolai Prokhorkin, are battling mental challenges, while others like Adrian Kempe are battling the physical challenges. Either way it has made for a year filled with growing pains that will hopefully better these players as they move forward in their careers.
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Photo: Former Western Michigan defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Kenney Morrison finished his NCAA career with 16 goals and 38 assists for 54 points in 115 games (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)
The pace of NHL prospect signings has picked up over the past few days. Included among those newly-minted pros are two high-profile NCAA free agents, a Russian free agent, and a handful of previously drafted players. Read more »
Photo: Harvard University forward and Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey is currently ranked third overall in NCAA scoring with 55 points in 35 games (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
The 2014-15 NCAA hockey season has featured a number of excellent forward prospects, especially among the underclassmen.
This year’s ranking of NHL-drafted forwards competing in D1 hockey features 11 players (two are tied for 10th) representing nine NCAA programs and nine NHL teams. Among the NCAA teams, Miami and Michigan each have two players in the top 10, while the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks are tops among NHL teams with each club having two prospects on this year’s list. Read more »
Photo: Mark Friedman is enjoying a standout freshman season on the blueline with Bowling Green State University. (Courtesy of Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)
Despite Shayne Gostisbehere’s departure to the professional ranks, the Philadelphia Flyers still possess a number of solid defensive prospects at the collegiate level, including Nick Luukko, Reece Willcox and Mark Friedman. Read more »
Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich represented Russia at the 2015 World Junior Championship, scoring one goal and five assists in seven games (courtesy of Terry Wilson/CHL Images)
Forward is traditionally the position that is most productive for Russia, as evidenced by the success rate of Russian-born NHL forwards and the recent good performances at the World Junior Championship. Read more »
Photo: Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Jared McCann is pivotal to his team’s playoff chances. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Vancouver has iced very good rosters for a long time now. Despite having not yet won the Stanley Cup, the Canucks accomplished a lot in the 2000s on the strengths of Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s puck possession skills, Ryan Kesler’s defensive game, the goaltending of Roberto Luongo, and teams that were composed from top to bottom with strong talents who could drive play. The Sedins will be 35 years old when the 2015-16 season starts, Kesler and Luongo are gone, and though the team has performed well this season, it is no longer among the President’s Trophy favorites. Management has not had the luxury of lottery picks to build around, but there are several prospects in the system who will help ease the transition to a post-Sedin era, whenever that arrives.
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Photo: Colorado Avalanche forward Freddie Hamilton (C) celebrates his first NHL goal with Daniel Briere (L) and Nick Holden (R) in the Avalanche’s 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes (courtesy of Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Five years after he was drafted and 18 games into his NHL career, Colorado Avalanche forward Freddie Hamilton notched his first NHL goal – the eventual game-winner – in his club’s 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Read more »
Photo: Brandon Wheat Kings forward and 2017 prospect Nolan Patrick has been a productive contributor on one of the WHL’s top teams in 2014-15 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
It is still two years and three months away, but the prospects eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft nevertheless are receiving some attention from scouts, albeit not as much scrutiny as those in the Classes of 2015 and 2016. Read more »
Photo: Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie is developing into a scoring threat at the NHL level. (courtesy of Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)
Emergence and trades combined with accelerated arcs and stalling players have mixed up the Dallas Top 20 prospect list quite a bit. With two slick, offensive-minded defensemen leading the way followed by some monsters in the middle portion of the list, the Stars continue to boast an eclectic mix of youngsters. While there are some projects hovering in the ranks, there is a lot of experience as well, as seven of these 20 have participated in an NHL contest.
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Photo: Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman and Vancouver Canucks prospect Ashton Sautner was a member of the Oil Kings squad that won the WHL and Memorial Cup championships in 2013-14 (courtesy of Mark Spowart/Icon Sportswire)
After a week of NHL prospect signings that featured activity mostly in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, a pair of Western Conference teams have logged the only signings since the weekend. Read more »