Strengths: The Devils greatest strength is their depth on defense and in goal at the pro level. Jon Merrill is a blue-chip prospect, leading a defensive corps that includes Alexander Urbom and Eric Gelinas at the pro level and Damon Severson at the junior level. The club is well-stocked in goal at the pro level, with Scott Wedgewood leading the group in terms of long-term potential. Stefan Matteau, who already made his NHL debut with the Devils during the 2012-13 season, and Reid Boucher have the potential to develop into productive players at the NHL level.
Weaknesses: The New Jersey system lacks the overall level of talent to match up with most teams. Beyond the team's top two forward prospects, there is a steep drop in terms of talent and potential offensive impact. Depth at forward, particularly on the right wing, is lacking. Beyond the three goalie prospects at the pro level, the team does not have any more netminders at lower levels of play.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Jon Merrill, D; 2. Scott Wedgewood, G; 3. Alexander Urbom, D; 4. Eric Gelinas, D; 5. Damon Severson, D.
Lost to Graduation: Andrei Loktionov.
Strengths: The Rangers have two players in J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider who are close to being impact forwards in the NHL. They also have several others, such as Christian Thomas, Jesper Fasth, and Marek Hrivik who have the potential to be talented top-nine forwards in the NHL. Dylan McIlrath and Brady Skjei are defensemen with top-four potential who bring distinctively different skill-sets to the organization.
Weaknesses: The Rangers need an offensive defenseman capable of logging a lot of minutes in all situations. Beyond McIlrath and Skjei, there are no top-four defensive prospects. The organization lacks an heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Chris Kreider, LW; 2. J.T. Miller, RW; 3. Dylan McIlrath, D; 4. Jesper Fasth, RW; 5. Christian Thomas, LW.
Lost to Graduation: Mats Zuccarello, Stu Bickel.
Lost to Trade: Blake Parlett (CBJ), Steven Delisle (CBJ).
Added: Conor Allen, Tommy Hughes, Brandon Mashinter, Michael Kantor, Josh Nicholls.
Strengths: The Philadelphia Flyers have a multitude of players with NHL experience, including Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen, Brandon Manning, Tye McGinn, and Eric Wellwood. They also possess fairly good depth on defense and have a lot of prospects who should develop into checking forwards in the NHL. Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins both look like they could be good top-nine forwards in the NHL.
Weaknesses: Anthony Stolarz is a decent prospect in net, but beyond him, there is not much in the way of goaltending prospects. The Flyers have good depth at forward and defense, but lack any prospects with elite potential. The lack of elite depth is particularly concerning on defense, as the Flyers already have a promising group of young forwards in the NHL.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Scott Laughton, C; 2. Erik Gustafsson, D; 3. Nick Cousins, C; 4. Shayne Gostisbehere, D; 5. Anthony Stolarz, G.
Lost to Trade: Mike Testwuide (CGY), Harry Zolnierczyk (ANH).
Added: Mitch Wahl, Mark Alt, Kyle Flanagan, Brandon Alderson, Petr Straka.
Strengths: Even with the loss of defenseman Joe Morrow, the Penguins have one of the best groups of defensive prospects in the league, led by Derrick Pouliot, Simon Despres, and Olli Maatta. Beyond their blue chip defensive prospects, they have others such as Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin who have good NHL potential. Beau Bennett is a skilled winger who is already an electrifying NHL talent.
Weaknesses: The organization lost some depth on the wing with the trade of Ken Agostino and Ben Hanowski to Calgary. With the exception of Bennett, the group of forward prospects is either limited in their overall potential or, in the case of those with some upside, many years away from realizing whatever potential they may have.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Derrick Pouliot, D; 2. Simon Despres, D; 3. Beau Bennett, RW; 4. Olli Maatta, D; 5. Brian Dumoulin, D.
Lost to Trade: Joe Morrow (DAL), Patrick Killeen (CBJ), Ken Agostino (CGY), Ben Hanowski (CGY).
Added: Eric Hartzell.
Strengths: The Florida Panthers possess arguably the deepest group of center and forward prospects in the NHL. Between Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore, and Nick Bjugstad the Panthers have a foundation of sizable and versatile forwards to build upon for many years to come. Behind those blue chip prospects, the Panthers still have talented prospects like Vince Trochek and Kyle Rau. The Panthers are also set in goal as Jacob Markstrom is starting to take shape and adjust to the demands of being an NHL goaltending. Defensemen Colby Robak, Alex Petrovic, and Mike Matheson continue to grow and take shape as good potential two-way options on the blue line.
Weaknesses: The youth of the Florida Panthers and the sheer amount of high-end prospects they have accumulated is a good and a bad thing. With so much talent around the same age level it could create a log jam in several positions, leading to limited ice time for good players and potential movement of very talented pieces. Considering how young many of the prospects are, it will likely be several years before they are truly ready for or comfortable in the NHL.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW; 2. Jacob Markstrom, G; 3. Nick Bjugstad, C/LW; 4. Drew Shore, C; 5. Quinton Howden, LW.
Lost to Waivers: James Wright (WPG).
Lost to Trade: Casey Wellman (WAS).
Added: Zach Hamill, Brendon Nash, T.J. Brennan.
Strengths: The Jets have potential core players in center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba, both of whom could be playing in the NHL sooner rather than later. Wingers Ivan Telegin and Carl Klingberg provide balance to the forward corps while the likes of Zach Redmond and Paul Postma provide valuable blue line depth at the pro level. Winnipeg's system is well balanced and several depth prospects, such as goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and power forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas, had standout seasons at their respective levels of play.
Weaknesses: Even the top two prospects are still developing and have yet to realize their full potential, leaving the Jets with very few sure things in the pipeline. The center depth behind Scheifele is suspect.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Mark Scheifele, C; 2. Jacob Trouba, D; 3. Ivan Telegin, LW; 4. Paul Postma, D; 5. Carl Klingberg, LW.
Lost to Graduation: James Wright.
Lost to Trade: Spencer Machacek (CBJ).
Added: Tomas Kubalik, Juho Olkinuora, Anthony Peluso.
Strengths: The Islanders have depth both on forward and on defense. Ryan Strome is one of the top prospects in the world and the Islanders have surrounded him with other great offensive talent. Nino Niederreiter was rushed into the NHL last season but the Islanders have corrected their mistake and he is adjusting to the professional game quite well in the AHL. Top prospects at two positions, center Brock Nelson and defenseman Matt Donovan, have also found success as they develop in the AHL. Defenseman Griffin Reinhart has continued to build on his strong draft season and looks like he will be an impact player in the NHL sooner rather than later.
Weaknesses: The Islanders are thin on the wing outside of Niederreiter and Kirill Kabanov and should look to add a few more players at the position in this year's NHL Draft.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Ryan Strome, C; 2. Griffin Reinhart, D; 3. Matt Donovan, D; 4. Nino Niederreiter, LW; 5. Brock Nelson, C.
Added: Thomas Hickey, Joey Diamond.
Strengths: The Carolina Hurricanes possess a solid group of defensive prospects led by puck-mover Ryan Murphy. They also possess a few talented two-way forwards, including Victor Rask, Zac Dalpe, and Chris Terry. Additionally, the Hurricanes have many speedy forwards capable of filling a checking role. Daniel Altshuller and Matt Mahalak headline a relatively deep group of goaltending prospects.
Weaknesses: Outside of possibly Murphy there is not much high-end talent in the Hurricanes prospect pool. The team also lacks skill at forward, with their top prospect Rask being known more for his two-way ability than as a sniper or playmaker. Many of the prospects in the Hurricanes pool are long-term projects and will not be ready for many years.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Ryan Murphy, D; 2. Viktor Rask, C; 3. Zac Dalpe, C; 4. Riley Nash, C; 5. Jeremy Welsh, LW.
Lost to Trade: Mark Alt (PHI).
Added: Luke Pither.
Strengths: Boston has excellent depth and talent at the goaltender position along with a blue chip prospect in Malcolm Subban. The organization is quite deep with defensive prospects and owns a good mix of skills amongst the group led by high-end talent, Dougie Hamilton. There is some versatile talent at all of the forward positions.
Weaknesses: The Bruins prospect group is very shallow at the forward positions and the quality of offensive talent falls off after the top five players. After years of success, the organization is lacking a high-impact forward with size in their minor league system.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Dougie Hamilton, D; 2. Malcolm Subban, G; 3. Ryan Spooner, C; 4. Alexander Khokhlachev, C; 5. Jared Knight, RW.
Lost to Trade: Lane MacDermid (DAL), Cody Payne (DAL), Max Sauve (CHI).
Added: Rob Flick, Matthew Lindblad, Chris Casto.
Strengths: The Lightning have several talented forwards ready to make full-time NHL contributions in Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, and Richard Panik. There are also several skilled two-way forwards such as Vladislav Namestnikov and Matthew Peca who, in several years, should be quality NHL players. Tampa Bay also has a solid collection of defensemen, with Radko Gudas and Mark Barberio the most ready to make NHL contributions. Andrey Vasilevskiy, who is among the top goaltending prospects in all of hockey, leads a promising group of goaltenders.
Weaknesses: Though Tampa has many skilled forwards with top-nine potential, few if any project to be an elite talent. Top defensive prospect Slater Koekkoek has missed almost a full season worth of hockey over the past two years to injury. Many of the Lightning's forward prospects are undersized.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Andrey Vasilevskiy, G; 2. Vladislav Namestnikov, C; 3. Richard Panik, RW; 4. Mark Barberio, D; 5. Slater Koekkoek, D.
Lost to Trade: Cory Conacher (OTT), Kirill Gotovets (CHI), Dustin Tokarski (MTL).
Added: Philippe Paradis, Andrej Sustr.