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.
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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 »
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 »
Photo: Edmonton Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse has competed hard despite the obvious struggles that come with on-the-job training in the NHL (courtesy of Philippe Bouchard/Icon Sportswire)
Year after year in the Kevin Lowe era, the Edmonton Oilers have relied upon rookies to play at the top level of hockey. Players like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, and Justin Schultz have been asked to come in and play veteran roles in minutes they weren’t yet ready to handle. The results have been predictably poor for this once-proud franchise. Read more »
Photo: Lake Erie Monsters forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Sonny Milano (#22) took a break from AHL action this season to compete for the bronze medalist USA squad at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Making the jump from junior to the American Hockey League is one of the most difficult transitions in hockey.
The game gets faster, physicality turns up a notch, and players are smarter. Read more »
Photo: Taken in the 5th round (148th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Nikita Nesterov is already looking like a draft-day steal for the Lightning. (Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
Like most teams hoping to contend for the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t had significant contributions from its young prospects, save for Vladislav Namestnikov, though the Russian center had already appeared in 47 career NHL games prior to this season. Read more »
Photo: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin go head-to-head this weekend in a Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN (courtesy of David Berding/Icon Sportswire and Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
This week in Prospect Faceoff, three Toronto Maple Leafs prospects are in action, with each facing stiff competition. Two of the WHL’s most consistent and well-liked players go head-to-head with the division crown still hanging in the balance, and the NHL’s Stadium Series writes a new chapter with two of the NHL’s brightest young stars facing off. Read more »
Photo: The Minnesota Wild’s 2014 first-round pick and top prospect, Alex Tuch, sets his sights on a national title for Boston College (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Wild‘s struggles this season cost head coach Mike Yeo his job, but a bigger problem than his decision-making threatens the Wild’s future success. The prospect pool lacks star quality. Though there has been plenty of trade babble, young stars and old come at premium prices. Rather than having a budding home-grown star waiting in the wings, the Wild’s recent run of below-average drafting has meant little flexibility for Chuck Fletcher, as well as an AHL team mired at the bottom of the standings.
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Photo: 2014 1st-round pick Kevin Fiala remains the Nashville Predators’ top prospect but carrying the worst plus-minus for the Milwaukee Admirals suggests he has work to do before becoming a trustworthy NHL player (courtesy of Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 2015-16 season has been an eventful one for the prospects in the Nashville Predators system. The top of the list remains largely intact but several players have either had breakout seasons or no longer seem to fit in the organization’s plans. Read more »
Photo: Victoria Royals defenseman and Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Hicketts served as an alternate captain for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The smallest defender lands the top ranking in this Hockey’s Future ranking of the top WHL defenders that are currently the property of NHL teams. Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals and a prospect of the Detroit Red Wings gets the nod as the defensive NHL property out of the WHL. Read more »