Less than a year ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in an unenviable place—the prospect cupboard was bare, the AHL affiliate lacked star power, and the big club was in a downward spiral. This year’s version of the Maple Leafs doesn’t inspire much confidence, but the future looks bright thanks to a drastic overhaul and a newfound commitment to drafting and development. Read more»
The Florida Panthers have been fortunate—or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it—enough to draft high in the recent NHL drafts. Players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov have quickly made the leap to the NHL, leaving the organization with few high-profile prospects, outside of recent first-round pick Lawson Crouse, who was returned to junior. Yet, the Panthers have strong organizational depth, particularly at left wing and defense. Most wingers are capable of playing both wings, but the fact that the Panthers have just three primary right wing prospects is a bit concerning. Read more»
For a team that has drilled a message of patience, new Toronto Maple Leafs management has been able to restock the prospect cupboard rather quickly. Players with high-end skill successfully acquired through trade, via the draft and by signing undrafted free agents. Equally positive news was that a majority of the top prospects already in the Maple Leafs system metor exceeded expectations in 2014-15.
Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon amassed a staggering 13 picks for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the most in franchise history. Although the Panthers had an abysmal 32-37-13 season, the team owned three first round picks, assuring to reinvigorate the franchise with talent and youth. After employing the likes of Bryan McCabe, Steve Reinprecht, and Cory Stillman in the twilight of their careers, Florida desperately needed impact players at key positions. Read more»
The Florida Panthers have made the playoffs just twice in the last 16 years. In an effort to make the postseason this year, the Panthers added veterans Dany Heatley and Jaromir Jagr at the trade deadline. But if the Panthers are going to become a playoff contender on an annual basis, it is the youngsters coming up through their system that need to make a difference in the coming years. Read more»