Photo: Selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft, forward Marcus Foligno has carved out a role in the NHL as a big, physical forward who can chip in offensively. (courtesy of Jerome Davis/Icon SMI)
Despite improving their standing in the Northeast Division at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, the Buffalo Sabres found themselves out of playoff contention for the second year in a row.
Photo: Defenseman Chris Tanev has been one of the best blueliners at both ends of the rink for the Chicago Wolves thus far in 2012-13. (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Considering that the Chicago Wolves have played the fewest games in their conference to this point in the 2012-13 season, they are enjoying a modicum of success. Though currently sitting in 10th spot, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks is still within striking distance of a top five seeding.
Photo: Though the Columbus Blue Jackets added several important prospects this past off-season, none were more prominent than defenseman Ryan Murray, who was selected second overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Below is the bottom third of the NHL Team Rankings in terms of prospects as voted on by Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Chicago Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack leads a shallow group of netminder in the Vancouver Canucks' prospect pipeline. (courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Had the NHL lockout not come to pass, it certainly would have been an interesting training camp in Penticton this season for the Vancouver Canucks. They have graduated a number of players over the past five years, leaving only a couple of select, higher-tier prospects to mature and come of age. With Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler still on the shelf after surgeries, it was shaping up to be an impromptu game of musical chairs to fill the holes left by Kesler’s and Edler’s convalescence.
Brendan Gaunce will once again be expected to lead the way for the Belleville Bulls heading into the 2012-13 season. (courtesy of Leon T. Switzer/ Icon SMI)
The Vancouver Canucks organization used the 2012 draft to augment their forward talent levels. Already well-stocked on the back end and between the pipes, forwards with grit and size were added to help balance out the positional depth. With that said, many of the interesting stories shaping up for this season come from players that have already spent time in the team's developmental system.