Photo: Yaroslavl Lokomotiv defenseman and 2014 prospect Vladislav Gavrikov is ranked 17th among European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft by Central Scouting (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
One of the top-ranked Russian defensemen for the 2014 NHL Draft, Vladislav Gavrikov, had an eventful season, culminating with his inclusion in NHL Central Scouting's draft rankings.
Photo: Drummondville defenseman Ryan Culkin, signed to an entry-level contract by Calgary in March, led Voltigeurs blueliners with 11 points in 11 QMJHL playoff games (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Although the Calgary Flames did not make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year, most of the prospects in the system were involved in postseason play.
Photo: Boston College winger Johnny Gaudreau leads a deep and talented group of college prospects in the Flames system. Notre Dame upset Gaudreau and the Eagles in the Hockey East tournament last weekend (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
The NCAA has been a source of quality talent for the Calgary Flames. With a group of eight highly skilled NCAA players, the Flames are stocked with prospects developing and preparing to graduate to new levels in their careers.
Photo: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov took part in the Subway Super Series with Team Russia and was a late cut from Russia’s 2014 World Junior squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
In spite of producing great defensemen like Sergei Gonchar, Vyacheslav Fetisov, and Sergei Zubov, Russia has a better reputation for developing forwards. This is well reflected in the NHL prospect situation in the KHL, where there are a number of intriguing offensive prospects, but only a few defenders with solid NHL potential.
Photo: Recently recalled to the AHL, Laurent Brossoit will open his rookie pro career in a timeshare with Reto Berra in Abbotsford (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
A year can surely make a difference for an NHL organization, and for the Calgary Flames, 2013 could prove to be their lucky year as the team changes directions. Calgary was fortunate enough to acquire eight valuable prospects in the 2013 NHL Draft to build a new foundation.