Photo: London Knights defenseman and Buffalo Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov didn’t look out of place during seven NHL games played in the early portion of the 2013-14 season, but returned to the Knights following the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The OHL has long been known for its ability to pump out marquee offensive talent, but don’t sell the league short on the blueline. This year’s elite draft-eligible defensemen, like Aaron Ekblad and Roland McKeown, have a number of role models within the league whose path they can follow to the draft podium and beyond.
Photo: With 13 points through 16 games, Guelph defenseman Zac Leslie ranks second among Storm defensemen in points per game this season (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The ebbs and flows of hockey are apparent at every level, and junior is no exception. With injuries and inconsistencies, the world of hockey can be a rough ride for young players sometimes.
Photo: The Kings prospect pool is heavy on two-way players like Andy Andreoff, a hard-nosed center who could see time on the bottom line in LA this season (courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Kings system, while you would expect a drop off in quality due to several playoff appearances in the last few years, has remained relatively strong.
Photo: Vancouver Canucks propsect Bo Horvat, the second OHL player chosen at the 2013 NHL Draft, had his day made more memorable due to his inclusion in the Cory Schneider deal (courtesy of CHL Images)
Since the NHL Draft was instituted in 1969, the Ontario Hockey League has proven to be the richest source of future talent in the world. And with six of the previous seven first-overall selections coming from the middle Canadian Hockey League association, there was no reason to believe that the province of Ontario (and parts of Michigan and Pennsylvania) wouldn’t be fertile soil again for the next generation of professionals.
Photo: Russian winger Valentin Zykov was named the CHL Rookie of the Year for his 2012-13 campaign with Baie-Comeau in the QMJHL (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Despite not having a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings still managed to grab some talented kids from various leagues and at multiple positions. General Manager Dean Lombardi, who has put together a solid track record of middle-round picks, had a lot on his plate coming into the draft in trying to extend the youthful success his squad has had up to now.