Strengths: The Sharks have a good variety of defensemen in the prospect system: offensive puck-movers, excellent skaters, as well as big, physical defenders who can play the shutdown role. The organization has good quality of depth at the goaltender position. San Jose has a wealth of depth at the center position and could convert some of those prospects to the wings. The Sharks are among the best at scouting and developing NCAA talent.
Weaknesses: San Jose has little to no depth after Matt Nieto at the wing positions. There is a lack of high-end prospects in the organization that might be top-six forwards at the NHL and only Tomas Hertl has impact talent potential. The rest of the Shark's forward prospects are possible role or depth players with some offensive talents and upside if all goes well with their development. The Sharks have too many high-risk/high-reward type prospects that are still a few years away from possibly playing at the NHL level.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Tomas Hertl, C; 2. Matt Nieto, RW; 3. Matt Tennyson, D; 4. Freddie Hamilton, C; 5. Chris Tierney, C.
Lost to Graduation: Tommy Wingels.
Lost to Trade: Brandon Mashinter (NYR).
Added: Troy Grosenick, Eriah Hayes, Rylan Schwartz, Daniil Tarasov.
Strengths: The Anaheim Ducks possess a diverse group of players at all positions. Their forward crew, even with the loss of Kyle Palmieri to graduation, has high-end talent with Emerson Etem, Rickard Rakell, and Peter Holland. Nicolas Kerdiles also looks like an intriguing future prospect, and Devante Smith-Pelly still projects as a useful utility player in the future. Defensively, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm are impressive puck-movers who could be potential top-four defenseman. In terms of goaltending John Gibson is a rising star, and Igor Bobkov has built himself up at the pro level slowly after an impressive 2011 World Junior Championships.
Weaknesses: The left wing position lacks a true scoring threat, although Max Friberg could grow into such a player, and is primarily made up of character grit players with limited upside. Outside of Lindholm and Vatanen, the drop off in defensive talent is rather significant.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Emerston Etem, RW; 2. Sami Vatanen, D; 3. Rickard Rakell, RW; 4. Peter Holland, C; Hampus Lindholm, D.
Lost to Graduation: Kyle Palmieri.
Added: Harry Zolnierczyk, Steven Whitney, Charles Sarault, John Kurtz, Antoine Laganiere.
Strengths: The Stars lead off in net with Jack Campbell, whose steady rookie season in the AHL should ease concerns about his struggles at the junior level. On defense, the club added mobile puck-mover Joe Morrow to bigger, two-way defensemen like Brenden Dillon and Jamie Oleksiak. The acquisitions of Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce also added blue line depth at the pro level while a longterm project like Ludvig Bystrom develops at the pro level overseas. The top forward prospects, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, and Radek Faksa, possess a mixture of size and scoring ability, leading a deep group up front of potential role players.
Weaknesses: Dallas has plenty of forward depth but many are high-risk/high-reward prospects. The goaltending depth behind Campbell does not inspire much confidence.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Jack Campbell, G; 2. Jamie Oleksiak, D; 3. Alex Chiasson, RW; 4. Brett Ritchie, RW; 5. Radek Faksa, C.
Lost to Graduation: Cody Eakin.
Added: Joe Morrow, Kevin Connauton, Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, Cameron Gaunce, Carl Sneep, Taylor Peters.
Strengths: The Coyotes are loaded with talented defenseman in their system. Brandon Gormley and David Rundblad continue to adjust to the professional level and both players have the potential to be top-pairing defensemen. Up front, Henrik Samuelsson and Lucas Lessio have the highest potential to be two-way forwards that can contribute on the score sheet at the NHL level, with Tobias Rieder not far behind.
Weaknesses: Like the NHL club, the Coyotes pipeline lacks a player with game-breaking offensive potential. Outside of the few skilled forwards, most of the forward prospects have the ceiling of bottom-six grinders with a strong work ethic.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Brandon Gormley, D; 2. David Rundblad, D; 3. Henrik Samuelsson, C; 4. Lucas Lessio, LW; 5. Michael Stone, D.
Lost to Trade: Kale Kessy (EDM).
Added: Tobias Rieder, Mathieu Brisebois.
Strengths: Over the years, the Kings have accumulated a significant amount of depth on the blue line and that again continues to be the strength of the organization. With Derek Forbort finishing up his career in the NCAA, and Kevin Gravel slowly turning into one of the most reliable shut down defenseman in the WCHA, they have several key pieces at defense, including outstanding NHL rookie Jake Muzzin. Tyler Toffoli projects as an elite scoring talent, while blue collar forwards Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey round out a rather top-heavy forward pool. Goaltenders Martin Jones and Christopher Gibson continue to develop and, while they lack consistency, the pieces are there for game-stealing ability.
Weaknesses: As mentioned, the Kings have few real elite forwards past Toffoli and perhaps Vey, who has developed very well in recent seasons. There are a lot of question marks after the top players in every category, and the prospect pool has been somewhat homogenized with projected third- and fourth-line grinders. While these depth players have plenty of quantity and quality, whether they will make an NHL impact is up for debate.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Tyler Toffoli, RW/C; 2. Tanner Pearson, LW; 3. Derek Forbort, D; 4. Linden Vey, C/RW; 5. Jake Muzzin, D.
Lost to Trade: Andrei Loktionov (NJD).
Lost to Waivers: Thomas Hickey (NYI).
Lost to Graduation: Jordan Nolan, Dwight King.