The Boston Bruins have not been afraid to acquire prospects, whether by draft or trade. Love it or hate it, the Tyler Seguin trade gave the Bruins even more depth in their minor league system. Reilly Smith is currently in the NHL while Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow are considered to be close to NHL ready and valuable commodities.
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At 6’3-½, Kitchener Rangers’ pivot Ryan MacInnis doesn’t need much help standing out from the crowd. But when you add in the fact that the St. Louis, MO native is the scion of an NHL legend, it’s hard not to get noticed.
He’s been drafted by his hometown team, he’s leading the Ontario Hockey League in scoring, and is the captain of the top team in the OHL 15 games into the young campaign. But for the Erie Otters’ Connor Brown, seeing his name on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger may be his most proud accomplishment.
The Dallas Stars, amid management and coaching changes, have gathered quite an impressive herd of prospects in recent years. The aforementioned front office changes obviously have a trickle-down effect with regard to the on-ice product and as a result, many of these terrific prospects have gotten at least a taste of NHL action.
He may sometimes feel like a fish out of water, but it’s a sensation that Radek Faksa has had plenty of experience with. But when that water’s frozen and he’s strapped on the blades, few OHL players look as natural — or at home — on the ice as the Dallas Stars’ Czech Republic-born first rounder.
It has been a gradual change, but most things associated with the Detroit Red Wings work that way. In a salary-cap constrained hockey landscape, Detroit can no longer simply outspend other franchises; Detroit knew this eight seasons ago and began to stockpile talent through the NHL Draft.
The Washington Capitals prospect pool contains plenty of depth and variety, with players of every make and model. The organization has also done a good job of staggering their talent across many competition levels and has several players at the minor-league level ready for a call-up to the NHL.
General Manager Lou Lamoriello has done a good job of restocking the lackluster New Jersey Devils farm system over the past six years. The junior and college ranks have produced talented prospects of all skill levels that fit the Devils mold. Now their minor league affiliate is reaping the benefits of this youth movement.
The Colorado Avalanche are off to a hot start this season and youngsters like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon are big reasons for their early success. What all three have in common is that they were able to jump immediately from the junior ranks to the NHL after being drafted.