NHL Prospect Rankings

Hockey's Future ranks 50 active NHL prospects who we believe will make a significant impact in the world of hockey. We publish these rankings twice a year, once before and after each regular season. NHL prospects considered for these rankings meet HF's prospect criteria at the time the list is published.

About prospect talent score and probability of success »

Post Season Prospect Rankings 2013-14

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.5 C C 6-2 205 lbs. Florida Panthers

An all-around center with elite skill level and a propensity for strong defensive zone play, Aleksander Barkov has met the expectations that came with being the number two overall pick at the 2013 NHL Draft. He does not turn 19 until September, but already has 54 NHL games – and 24 points – under his belt. With no Mikko Koivu or Valtteri Filppula available for the Finns at the Olympics, Barkov was given the opportunity to log big minutes down the middle for the eventual bronze medal winners, but he unfortunately suffered a knee injury in a round robin win against Norway. It is unclear whether or not Barkov will return to the Panthers for the 2013-14 season, but the future is bright for the budding star. He already possesses NHL size with a 6’2", 205-pound frame, and though he has not done so with the Panthers much at all this season, he has had success killing penalties with Tappara of Finland's Liiga. Moreover, his point production at the NHL level should increase as he gets more comfortable in the league and is provided the chance to play with capable wingers.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
9.0 C LW 5-11 176 lbs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Drouin is a slick puck handler with excellent vision, creativity, and playmaking skills. He can operate the power play on the half-wall or from the point and possesses a quick accurate release. He is also a solid two-way player and a good penalty killer at the QMJHL level. His level of competitiveness is extremely high with the puck on his stick, but he can lose focus when the game is not going his way. He still needs maturing and a much better off-ice work ethic in order to take the next step at the NHL level. With his dominance of the QMJHL this year, Drouin should make the Lightning's roster next season.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C C 6-0 175 lbs. Washington Capitals

Having just landed in the NHL after a rocky, injury-plagued season back home in Russia, Kuznetsov has looked comfortable in his first few games with Washington and should develop into a top-six forward for the Capitals. The native of Chelyabinsk, Russia is a very gifted player with impressive puck skills and great skating ability, but he needs to bulk up a bit to bring his game to the next level. He is very creative with the puck, and with time and experience, can become an offensive force for the Capitals.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 B D 6-2 187 lbs. Winnipeg Jets

Trouba is a physical defenseman who can do it all and make it look effortless in the process. He is an excellent skater and puck mover, and possesses a rocket of a shot. His defensive positioning, shot blocking, and gap control have improved with each NHL game this season and he is playing on both of the Jets specialty teams. The 20-year-old has a high level of competitiveness, a solid work ethic, and a real nasty streak, which is drawing comparisons to a young Chris Pronger. One thing is for sure, Trouba is in the NHL to stay and the Winnipeg Jets might have a franchise defenseman.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C C 6-2 198 lbs. San Jose Sharks

The dynamic young forward burst onto the scene this year with some scintillating performances and examples of top-level skill. Hertl was tabbed as one of the favorites for the Calder early on, but unfortunately, his rookie season was cut short due to a major knee injury. Regardless, he has proven to be a valuable asset to the high-powered Sharks forward group with his keen offensive sense, nose for the net, and fantastic skating. He has the size and the skill to be a real threat for the Sharks for years to come. Hopefully Hertl's knee recovery goes according to plan and he is back at 100 percent since he is definitely one of the more exciting next-generation players currently coming up in the NHL.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C C 6-1 183 lbs. New York Islanders

Forward Ryan Strome was not expected to see more than a handful of games in the NHL as a first-year pro. The Islanders were fearful of rushing his development and felt he was better served by playing a more prominent role in the minors. That changed, however, when Islanders captain John Tavares went down with a knee injury during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Islanders recalled Strome immediately following the Olympic break and he has been a factor in their top-nine ever since. A center with world-class speed and offensive instincts, Strome has an immense amount of NHL potential, but his defensive game and how he plays without the puck remain a work in progress.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 B D 6-0 201 lbs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are in the midst of a revitalizing youth movement, and Ryan Murray has been at the forefront for the organization. The second overall pick in 2012 has had a very strong debut to his NHL career and is showing all the poise and two-way prowess that was advertised. He is already pushing his minutes into the low 20’s in his rookie season, and will only get better with more experience and comfort at the NHL level. No question, Murray is going to be the anchor of the Blue Jackets blue line for many years with his outstanding offensive and defensive awareness. Unfortunately, Murray went down with a knee injury in early March which required arthroscopic knee surgery.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 6-3 207 lbs. Buffalo Sabres

One of the top defensemen of his birth year, Ristolainen recently raised his stock thanks to a great WJC campaign where he not only won the gold medal with Team Finland but was also named the tournament’s top defenseman and awarded with an inclusion in the media All-Star team. Ristolainen is a very interesting defenseman who joins an NHL body and excellent puck moving skills. With Ristolainen, the Sabres landed another blue chip prospect who can patrol the blue line for years to come. The native of Turku, Finland has already had his first taste of the NHL this season, which includes his first NHL goal.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C G 6-3 210 lbs. Anaheim Ducks

Gibson has been a winner no matter where he has gone. With a junior career filled with accolades behind him, his professional career has started with the same sort of promise, poise, and potential. Even with low goal support, Gibson has kept his cool and maintained a consistent work ethic and playing level. He has always been praised for his methodical approach to games and it is paying dividends at the pro level. At this rate he is close to challenging for an NHL job, and the Anaheim Ducks have recently cleared up a little of their goaltending log jam by trading Viktor Fasth. The 20-year-old Gibson is arguably the best goaltending prospect out there at the moment, and it will be hard to keep him in the minors much longer.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.5 C G 6-3 203 lbs. Tampa Bay Lightning

After an excellent showcase at the junior level, Vasilevskiy finally secured the starting goaltender duties with Salavat Yulaev Ufa and has done very well playing for one of the KHL's best Eastern Conference teams. Vasilevskiy has an NHL body, which certainly will help him in the transition to the more physical North American game, where he will be more exposed to big players crashing and screening the net. Vasilevskiy posted a .923 save percentage with a goals-against average of 2.21 during the regular season, and his numbers are improving during the playoffs. His contract will run out on April 30th so it will be interesting to see if the Lightning will offer him a contract this offseason.