The Jets’ prospect pool underwent a turnover when top prospects Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba graduated, removing some of the blue-chip talent from the current crop. The cupboard is far from bare, however, as the next wave of Winnipeg Jets prospects thrived in their current locations, highlighting the overall depth of the system.
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Although none of the Boston Bruins prospects won a championship in their respective leagues, many of them grew a lot over the season and playoffs. Ryan Spooner led the AHL playoff-scoring race through the first two rounds with 15 points, and Alexander Khokhlachev was only one-point behind Spooner.
It seemed as though Detroit's much lauded playoff streak would come to an end in 2013-14 until a mid-season influx of young talent bolstered the ranks and reinvigorated a floundering Detroit Red Wings team. Prospects such as Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco were initially called up to fill in for injured NHL players, but they performed at such a high level that they never relinquished their jobs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have steadily built a strong group of prospects since the arrival of general manager Steve Yzerman in 2010. This season, their patience paid dividends as they made a surprising playoff appearance. Several prospects – Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Mark Barberio – made key contributions and earned regular NHL roles.
The Los Angeles Kings are in the midst of a deep playoff run, one that is eerily similar to their 2011-12 cup run. Outside of that though, there have been a ton of prospects competing with the Los Angeles Kings prospect tag by their name in all of the playoff competitions across the globe.
While the New Jersey Devils missed the 2013-14 NHL playoffs, quite a few of their prospects had impactful postseasons. Their AHL affiliate reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010, giving many pro prospects their first taste of the postseason. Other players at lower levels, such as Damon Severson and Ben Thomson, also had strong playoff performances.
After failing to make the Stanley Cup finals for a fifth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired longtime general manager Ray Shero. The organization named Shero's former assistant, Jason Botterill, as the interim GM while the organization seeks a permanent replacement. However, it is not all bad news on the playoff front for the Penguins organization. Several prospects, namely Derrick Pouliot and Tristan Jarry, had long and productive postseasons, which should benefit their development down the road.
Playoff season is a marathon of several months, and for hockey fans it can be the best and the worst time of the year.
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