The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. The lockout-shortened 2012-13 season left a talented pool of eligible prospects, evident already in the bottom group of players.
Narrowing the Florida Panthers vast prospect pool into a top 20 is no easy task, and several of the players in the second half of the list could easily crack the top 10 prospects in other organizations. The Panthers continue to move youth into their NHL lineup and many of the players currently ranked will graduate in 2013-14, but there are several newcomers and other top prospects ready to fill the empty spots.
One year after a surprising trip to the playoffs, the Florida Panthers fell to the bottom of the league standings. For a team in transition such a drop is disheartening. There is a however a silver lining to the Panthers poor season, as the second-overall draft pick in 2013 can yield a potential superstar.
The summer started early for many of Florida's top prospects, after both the Panthers and their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, failed to make the playoffs. Several of the team's brightest young stars, Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore, Jacob Markstrom, and Alex Petrovic among them, missed out on postseason action. However, the Panthers were still represented in playoff action at many levels of play.
Although a couple of the Florida Panthers prospects have moved on from the collegiate ranks and begun their professional careers, the organization still has several valuable players in the NCAA and in Europe, including a Hobey Baker finalist. At least two and perhaps as many as four or more players may have already played their final seasons in college. The prospects currently playing in Europe may be a thinner crop, but there are a couple of them who look ready to move to North America.