The 31-40 spots in Hockey’s Future’s Top 50 prospect rankings feature players who were all ranked in the Spring edition, though many saw a great deal of movement from their previous spots. The 2012 NHL Draft can be partially to blame for some of the prospects moving down the list, as there are numerous new faces at the top of the rankings, but two players in particular, Mark Scheifele (WPG) and David Rundblad (PHX) saw a dramatic drop from their previous spots.
If the Ottawa Senators' appearance in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was surprising, it was only because no one expected the organization's young talent to develop so quickly. With Erik Karlsson leading the way, the Senators have another triumvirate of future Swedish stars in forwards Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg and goaltender Robin Lehner in the pipeline.
With a surprise appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2011-12, the Ottawa Senators' rebuilding blueprint is starting to show signs of success. Competition for roster spots and ice time this coming season should be fierce as Jakob Silfverberg, Mark Borowiecki, and Jim O'Brien appear targeted to claim roster spots in Ottawa. Other prospects such as Mika Zibanejad and Robin Lehner should also push for full time spots in the NHL.
Success in Hockeytown is measured in Stanley Cups, but unfortunately, the Detroit Red Wings and their local affiliates came up well short of their intended goals this past season. The Red Wings made the playoffs but failed to advance past the division rival Nashville Predators in the first round. The AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins missed the playoffs altogether. They won just three of their final 10 games down the stretch and missed the playoffs by nine points. At the ECHL level, the Toledo Walleye posted the third-worst record in the league as they were unable to clinch a postseason berth for the second straight season. It was a disappointing spring for most Red Wings prospects abroad as well, though there were several notable exceptions.
As an organization, the Ottawa Senators were able to gain invaluable experience during the recent playoff season. The NHL club exceeded most predictions and made the playoffs in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. Many observers credited a portion of their success to a core group of young players who played a major role in the Binghamton Senators championship run in the 2010-11 AHL playoffs.