The New York Rangers have never been afraid to sign college free agents, having already signed one defenseman, Conor Allen, to an entry-level contract this spring. Over the past couple of seasons, the Rangers additionally invite two or three potential NCAA free agent signees to development camp in late June. Last summer, Kyle Jean was signed to an entry-level contract after just such a camp.
News & Features
Welcome to the final 2012-13 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various competition levels who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind. With many leagues around the world approaching their finals or already finished, we take a look at some of the prospects who stood out over the course of the season. While some players proved to be farther along than initially expected, there are also those prospects who did not develop as planned in 2012-13.
The Washington Capitals spring top 20 has a much different look than the fall edition. Braden Holtby graduated and Filip Forsberg (NAS), Zach Hamill (BOS), and Kevin Marshall (TOR) have been traded. Riley Barber had a breakout season and debuts in the top 10, while Michael Latta, Casey Wellman, Nicolas Deschamps, and Chay Genoway all were acquired via trade. Recent free agent signing from the University of Minnesota, Nate Schmidt, joins the list and is among the Capitals top prospects.
Most of the professional leagues around the world of hockey are done or wrapping up their playoffs. The prospect awards are really an opportunity to assess what some players were able to accomplish in their seasons, good, bad, or mixed, and to look forward to next season.
The tale of the NCAA and European bases for the Philadelphia Flyers prospect pool is a particularly one-sided one. The Flyers traditionally shy away from European development, and with Paul Holmgren's yearly blitzkrieg on college free-agents, it is fairly obvious that the scouts within the organization favor the collegiate developmental path.
With every regular season in hockey finished, it is once again time to select the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Year. Though there were many fantastic performances outside of the NHL, none were quite as good as Yevgeni Kuznetsov (WAS), who this season further cemented himself as the best hockey player not currently in North America.
The Dallas Stars are not afraid to delve into the European ranks at the pro or junior level. In fact, many of the Stars best defensive prospects were drafted out of Europe and have worked their way up the ranks fairly quickly. Former Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk, a Cornell alum, did not at all mind going for NCAA or NCAA-bound players. As a result, the Stars boast a pretty impressive pipeline coming in from the college ranks.
In a low-scoring season that you might consider a struggle, the Norfolk Admirals and the Anaheim Ducks still have a lot to look forward to with several young and promising players suiting up for the team. Between a few solid goaltenders, some talented forwards, and at least one AHL All-rookie team defenseman, the Ducks can look at their AHL system with a promising eye. Many of the prospects are on the cusp of becoming NHL players, and as the AHL season has come to an end many of them have made noteworthy cases for being considered for a spot with the big club next season.
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