The scene: The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The players: a 27-year-old ‘franchise’ goaltender and an 18-year-old London, ON-born forward who was coming off of an OHL playoff coming-out party and second-straight Memorial Cup appearance. And while the names Cory Schneider and Bo Horvat will long be linked together thanks to a Draft Day trade, the ninth-overall selection of the 2013 NHL Draft knows this will not be the climax of his story.
The Fall 2013 edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects has been released, but there are many very talented players who did not make the cut. Ranking the prospects was especially difficult given the sheer volume of quality players who did not graduate because of the truncated 2012-13 NHL season.
After years of late-round drafting, two quick first round playoff exits, and a starting goaltender slow-burn drama, Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced he was hitting the reset button. That reset started in Newark, New Jersey during the 2013 NHL Draft, ushering in a new wave of prospects, a coaching staff change, and a shift in expectations for the fanbase for the 2013-14 season.
Since the NHL Draft was instituted in 1969, the Ontario Hockey League has proven to be the richest source of future talent in the world. And with six of the previous seven first-overall selections coming from the middle Canadian Hockey League association, there was no reason to believe that the province of Ontario (and parts of Michigan and Pennsylvania) wouldn’t be fertile soil again for the next generation of professionals.