In the first edition of On the Rush for the 2012-13 season, we take a look at prospects either excelling at their respective levels of play as well as those players who are not quite living up to expectations. This month we take a look at how the NHL lockout is impacting prospects playing in the minor leagues and junior levels and also discuss several top performers from the recent Subway Super Series between Team Russia and the CHL's top players.
In terms of strengths and weaknesses, not much has changed for the New Jersey Devils organization. They continue to be well stocked on the blue line, which is good for the future because, aside from Adam Larsson and Mark Fayne, the majority of defensman in New Jersey are on the wrong-side of 30. In between the pipes, the Devils have finally started to plan for future and have a solid group of goaltending prospects. Upfront is a bit of a different story. There is some decent depth at wing and center, but in terms of top-six ability, there is not much to get excited about.
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.
Lockout or no lockout, it is not likely that many of the New Jersey Devils minor-pro prospects would be in line for a promotion to the NHL. Having graduated a handful of players over the past couple of years like Adam Larsson, Adam Henrique, and Mark Fayne to name a few, the NHL roster is well stocked with established veterans and young up-and-comers.
The strength of the New Jersey Devils organization continues to reside in the burgeoning stable of defensemen working their way through the system. The addition of 2012 draft pick Damon Severson to a group that already includes Jon Merrill, Alexander Urbom, Eric Gelinas, and Reece Scarlett should have Devils fans frothing at the mouth about what the defense might look like in the near future. That doesn't even include Adam Larsson, who's already established himself at the NHL level.