Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
The Buffalo Sabres have eight prospects playing in the CHL, including Quebec Remparts center and 2012 first round pick Mikhail Grigorenko. Only Grigorenko, Daniel Catenacci, and Andrey Makarov are under contract with the organization. The others will be using the rest of the season to showcase their skills. While the most recent draft picks have a little more time to spare, others like Colin Jacobs are playing in their last year of eligibility with the Sabres.
The Buffalo Sabres have traditionally taken the long and steady approach to developing their projects, giving their prospects as much time as needed to develop into an NHL player. That patience has paid off, with many players drafted in the past five years making contributions at the NHL level last year, and are ready to this year, if or when the NHL lockout ends. Corey Tropp, Luke Adam, Brayden McNabb, Marcus Foligno, and a few others are among those who have proven that they can play in the NHL.
The 2012 NHL Draft saw its share of prominent falling stocks such as first-rounders Filip Forsberg (WAS) and Mikhail Grigorenko (BUF). Even “Mr. Irrelevant,” 211th pick Nick Ebert (LAK), fell from a potential first-round projection in 2011. Yet there were several players who were passed over entirely that raised the eyebrows of the Hockey’s Future staff.
Here's a look at Hockey's Future's top 10 prospects from the Western Hockey League, a group that includes a large batch of elite defensemen.