Photo: Defenseman Steve Santini is one of several strong defensive prospects in the New Jersey Devils system. Santini was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)
Stacked with 12 shootout loses and inconsistent play throughout the year, the New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. Once more, scoring was the culprit as the Devils failed to finish off their opponents when they had to in regulation.
Photo: Selected 14th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, Dmitri Kulikov has developed into a steady, two-way defenseman for the Florida Panthers. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Florida Panthers entered the 2009 NHL Draft with a new general manager in Randy Sexton, a cornerstone defenseman about to leave the team via free agency in Jay Bouwmeester, and a desperate need for an infusion of offensive skill.
Photo: Keith Kinkaid has been one of the top goaltenders in the AHL this season. In 16 starts, Kinkaid has an 11-4-1 record, three shutouts, and a 2.09 goals against average. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
While the New Jersey Devils are having a roller coaster season, their minor league affiliate, the Albany Devils, are the surprise team of the AHL. Part of the reason is the play from their rookie class, featuring some of the franchises top prospects, including Jon Merrill, Reid Boucher, and Stefan Matteau.
Photo: Goaltender Scott Wedgewood is currently in his second full season of professional hockey. Wedgewood was selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
General Manager Lou Lamoriello has done a good job of restocking the lackluster New Jersey Devils farm system over the past six years. The junior and college ranks have produced talented prospects of all skill levels that fit the Devils mold. Now their minor league affiliate is reaping the benefits of this youth movement.
Photo: Forward Drew Shore is one of several Florida Panthers prospects playing in their first season of professional hockey. (Courtesy of Juan Salas/Icon SMI)
The Florida Panthers prospect pool has seen significant turnover at the minor league level over the last six months. Some players have graduated to the NHL while others have been traded. Several new faces have joined the professional ranks for the first time. After all of the movement is accounted for, what remains is perhaps the strongest minor league group of prospects the Panthers have had in a long time, if ever.