Photo: Forward Tyler Toffoli has been impressive in his first professional season, managing about a point-per-game in the AHL before getting called up to play in the NHL with the Kings (courtesy of Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. The emergence of many new rookies in the truncated NHL season presented the ranking committee with a formidable challenge. The result is a diverse group of prospects at different stages in their development, from those on the verge of NHL stardom to project players who are still years away from helping their NHL club on a nightly basis.
Photo: With 54 NHL games already under his belt, Devante Smith-Pelly is the leading left wing prospect in the Anaheim prospect pool. (courtesy of Ray Carlin/Icon SMI)
The Anaheim Ducks prospect system has a solid core and the future appears to be very bright. The club features great depth with young rising stars at each position. The Ducks have a few skaters whom many believe have the ability to make an immediate impact at the NHL level.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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.
Photo: Goal-scoring winger Kyle Palmieri may not be far away from establishing himself with the Ducks after short NHL stints in his first two pro seasons. (courtesy of Patrick Green/ Icon SMI)
Even though in 2012 the Anaheim Ducks suffered their worst regular season finish in eight years, there is a ton to be excited about moving forward for Ducks hockey. Over the years the organization has compiled a solid group of hard working, blue-collar prospects, several which are on the cusp of NHL careers. The list may be void of a true stand out "superstar" but the Ducks have compiled a plethora of solid puck-moving defenseman and gritty and talented forwards. Names like Emerson Etem, Sami Vatanen, and Nicolas Kerdiles are just a few on a long list that is filled with potential.
Photo: Emerson Etem may only be a rookie pro in 2012-13, but his elite speed and nose for the net could see him skating soon for an Anaheim team that was starved for offense last season. (courtesy of Paul Hebert/Icon SMI)
Forward prospects Emerson Etem and Charlie Coyle settle into the middle section of the ranking, but not for lack of talent. Both players lit up the CHL last season, Etem breaking the 60-goal mark for Medicine Hat in the WHL and Coyle using his size and quick hands to fit right in with the high-octane Saint John offense in the QMJHL.