Photo: Now a rookie with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, forward Drew Shore experienced little difficulty transitioning to professional hockey. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Not only has Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon turned a perennially underachieving NHL club into a playoff contender in just over two years, but he built an enviable stable of prospects, many of whom are close to NHL ready.
Photo: A lethal goal scorer and elite skater, Nail Yakupov is Hockey's Future's top NHL prospect. (courtesy of Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
In the final installment of Hockey's Future's Top 50 prospect rankings we look at the top 10 spots. Seven players from the previous ranking maintained their status with the top group, but there are several prominent new additions, most notably 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov (EDM).
Photo: Alex Petrovic is one of several Panthers prospects expected to make their AHL debut in 2012-13. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
With arguably the best group of prospects in the NHL, the Florida Panthers and their fans have a lot to be excited about coming into the 2012-13 season, at all levels of play. In fact, the argument could be made that the Panthers have players who are among the very best of prospects in the CHL, NCAA, and AHL. That means, despite the lockout that currently has hockey fans looking beyond the NHL to fill their passion for the sport, there are plenty of intriguing Panthers' prospect stories playing out all over North America and beyond.
Photo: University of Minnesota center Nick Bjugstad is one of several Panthers prospects who had a breakout season in 2011-12. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Over the last three drafts, the Florida Panthers managed to stockpile an incredible array of young prospects. Some top-flight prospects such as former third-overall draft pick Jonathan Huberdeau, Quinton Howden, and Alex Petrovic will make their official professional debuts this fall. Other top prospects like Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau, and Corban Knight will return to their college programs, ready to resume their quests for a national title.
Photo: Taken third overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, Jonathan Huberdeau might be the last high draft pick the Florida Panthers have in a while. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
After completely rebuilding the NHL club through a series of trades and a variety of free agent signings that complemented their existing core (Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison and Dmitry Kulikov, etc.), the Florida Panthers
made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. The future is bright too, as many of their top prospects are starting to come of age.