Photo: Red Wings draft pick Anthony Mantha has torn up the QMJHL and put himself in prime position for a prominent role on Team Canada at the 2014 WJC (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Welcome to the November 2013 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various competition levels who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
Photo: Forward Zemgus Girgensons is one of four teenagers to play for the Buffalo Sabres this season. The Latvian-born Girgensons was selected 14th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Currently amid a full-scale rebuild, the Buffalo Sabres have 43 prospects in their system, including seven first-round picks, giving them both quantity and quality at every position. The Sabres also have many prospects already contributing at the NHL level, including forwards Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Johan Larsson.
Photo: Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo’s 12th overall pick in 2012, will look to bounce back in 2013-14 from an up-and-down rookie season split between the Sabres and the Quebec Remparts (courtesy of Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMI)
The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 21-30.
New additions from the 2013 NHL Draft augment the depth of skilled forwards in the middle group of the ranking. Elias Lindholm, drafted fifth by Carolina, and Sean Monahan, sixth by Calgary, debut on the list next to prospects who lost some luster after a rocky 2012-13 season in Mikhail Grigorenko and Mikael Granlund.
Photo: Forward Gustav Possler tries to score for Team Sweden during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in August. Possler was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The future of the Buffalo Sabres is now. Five of the six players drafted by the Sabres in the first round since 2010 – Mark Pysyk, Joel Armia, Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, and Rasmus Ristolainen – are expected to be key contributors this season.
Photo: Forward Mikhail Grigorenko is expected to have a strong 2013-14 season with the Buffalo Sabres. Grigorenko played in 25 games with the Sabres last season, managing a goal and four assists. (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres continue their re-build with a sense of optimism this coming season. Mikhail Grigorenko steps in full-time as one of the team's top centers while Finnish power forward Joel Armia prepares to test his scoring abilities on North American ice.