Strengths: Ryan Murray's Columbus debut was delayed a year by a shoulder injury, but he remains one of the top defensive prospects outside of the NHL. The Jackets already have had contributions from defensive prospects Tim Erixon, David Savard, Dalton Prout, and Cody Goloubef during the 2012-13 season. Matt Calvert graduated to the NHL club and Cam Atkinson is not too far behind him. Boone Jenner and Lukas Sedlak are examples of the size and grit in the forward pipeline. Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo were added at the 2012 NHL Draft to give the Jackets multiple options in goal down the road.
Weaknesses: After Atkinson graduates, the scoring potential in the system decreases sharply. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and T.J. Tynan have both been productive at their respective levels of play but there are questions about whether the undersized forwards can maintain that production in the NHL. There is little depth to be found at the left wing and center positions.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Ryan Murray, D; 2. Cam Atkinson, RW; 3. Tim Erixon, D; 4. Boone Jenner, C; 5. Oscar Dansk, G.
Lost to Graduation: Matt Calvert.
Lost to Trade: Tomas Kubalik (WPG).
Added: Spencer Machacek, Steven Delisle, Blake Parlett, Patrick Killeen.
Strengths: The greatest strength of the Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool is its depth and balance. The team's top prospect, Brandon Saad, has acquitted himself well at the NHL level, and depth forwards like Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes are not far from joining him on the NHL roster. There is offensive skill in Brandon Pirri, the AHL's leading scorer in 2012-13, and Teuvo Teravainen as well as two-way forwards in Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill. Puck-mover Adam Clendening heads a defensive corps that is deep and versatile.
Weaknesses: The Blackhawks have a handful of goaltending options in the pipeline but none of them have yet taken commend of the group. The system as a whole lacks some of the high-end prospects of the other teams inside the top 10.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Brandon Saad, LW; 2. Teuvo Teravainen, C; 3. Adam Clendening, D; 4. Phillip Danault, C; 5. Mark McNeill, C.
Lost to Graduation: Andrew Shaw.
Lost to Trade: Rob Flick (BOS), Philippe Paradis (TBL), Peter Leblanc (WAS).
Added: Drew LeBlanc, Max Sauve, Kirill Gotovets.
Strengths: The Red Wings have depth at every position in the system. Although they have a lot of players with boom or bust potential, players like Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, and Tomas Tatar have already enjoyed some success at the NHL level. Recent free agent signing Dan DeKeyser adds to an already stacked defensive pool that includes 2012-13 OHL Defenseman of the Year Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet. Highly-touted Swedish forward Calle Jarnkrok has made the transition to North America and is adjusting well to the AHL. Jarnkrok has the potential to be a top-six playmaker.
Weaknesses: Goaltending is one position where the Wings should look to add. Petr Mrazek has adjusted well to the professional game and Jake Paterson arguably carried the Saginaw Spirit into the playoffs on his back, but outside of those two there is not much depth.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Brendan Smith, D; 2. Gustav Nyquist, LW; 3. Petr Mrazek, G; 4. Tomas Tatar, LW; 5. Calle Jarnkrok, C.
Added: Dan DeKeyser, Jared Coreau.
Strengths: The Predators have excellent quantity and quality in their group of prospects, but supplemented it with the addition of an elite two-way forward prospect in Filip Forsberg. The organization has been very successful for years at developing and drafting to fit their defensive system. Nashville has stockpiled many two-way forwards, some of whom have already been called upon at the NHL level.
Weaknesses: Outside of Forsberg, the system lacks players with any sort of offensive pedigree and, in general, suffers from an overall lower level of talent than many teams ahead of them. Nashville has a lack of depth on the right wing and center but still has versatility amongst their forward prospects.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Austin Watson, C/RW; 2. Pontus Aberg, LW; 3. Zach Budish, RW; 4. Mattias Ekholm, D; 5. Jimmy Vesey, LW.
Lost to Graduation: Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Jonathon Blum, Gabriel Bourque.
Lost to Trade: Michael Latta (WAS), Jani Lajunen (STL).
Added: Filip Forsberg.
Strengths: St. Louis has the benefit of having one of the best young prospects in the world in forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who has performed as advertised in his rookie season. Aside from Tarasenko, the Blues have numerous forwards in Jaden Schwartz, Ty Rattie, and Dmitrij Jaskin who have tremendous upside. Defensive prospect Ian Cole was lost to graduation, and while the Blues lack a real blue chip prospect on defense, they have a mix of potential two-way blueliners and big, physical stay-at-home types. The Blues have quality prospects in goal as well with Jake Allen and Owen Sound Attack star Jordan Binnington leading the depth chart.
Weaknesses: The Blues lack a quality center prospect in the system. While Philip McRae may yet crack the NHL lineup, the rest of the group lacks NHL potential. The defense also lacks top talent, with the possible exception of Jordan Schmaltz.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW; 2. Jaden Schwartz, LW; 3. Jake Allen, G; 4. Ty Rattie, RW; 5. Dmitrij Jaskin, RW.
Lost to Graduation: Ian Cole.
Lost to Trade: Mark Cundari (CGY).
Added: Jani Lajunen.