Photo: Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick at the 2013 NHL Draft, scored 24 points in 54 NHL games before suffering a knee injury during the 2014 Winter Olympics (courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects concludes with the prospects ranked 1-10. The top prospect is Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov, who narrowly beat out Jonathan Drouin for top honors in the ranking.
Photo: Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (55) remains is the top prospect for the Buffalo Sabres. Ristolainen has split the 2013-14 season between the NHL and AHL. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With over 40 prospects currently in their system, and at least 10 picks in the first two rounds of the 2014 and 2015 NHL Drafts, the Buffalo Sabres are aggressively re-building. Two players graduate from the fall Top 20 rankings – former University of Maine standout Brian Flynn is now a fixture with the big club and winger Corey Tropp is now a Columbus Blue Jacket after being waived in November.
Photo: Forward Phil Varone currently leads the Rochester Americans with 29 points through 32 games. Varone is in his third year at the AHL level. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, made their return to the Spengler Cup this winter after placing third in 1996. However, the Amerks were outmatched in the prestigious tournament this time around, allowing 15 goals and losing all three of their games. Participating in the tournament meant taking a 12-day break from AHL play, but three extra games' worth of experience can be beneficial to a young team.
Photo: Finland defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen celebrates with the Championship Trophy at the 2014 World Junior Championship after he scored the gold medal-winning goal in overtime to defeat Sweden, 3-2 (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
It was a nearly identical gold medal-winning goal as the one scored two years by Mika Zibanejad, only this time, Sweden was on the receiving end. Finland defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen grabbed the puck along the boards and powered his way to the front of Sweden's net to beat Oscar Dansk for the overtime goal, giving the Finns a stunning 3-2 win in the finale of the 2014 World Junior Championship.
Photo: Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect and current Rochester American Rasmus Ristolainen is taking part in his third U20 World Junior Championship with Finland (courtesy of Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
Finland began the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament with a solid win over Norway on Friday, defeating that country 5-1. But their usual nemesis, Sweden, defeated Finland on the third day of the tournament, taking a 4-2 decision from the Finns.