Photo: Toronto Marlies forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Josh leivo has been productive so far in the 2014 AHL playoffs, notching six points in five games for the Marlies (courtesy of Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
The Western Conference ran away with most of the AHL team and player honors for the 2013-14 season, with the explosive offense from the Texas Stars overshadowing the league’s annual awards. The defending champion Grand Rapids Griffins also took home some hardware, but can the West keep the most important award – the Calder Cup trophy – in the conference?
Photo: Forward Linden Vey is one of several Los Angeles Kings prospects to make his NHL debut during the 2013-14 season. Vey appeared in 18 games for the Kings. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Below is the 21-30 segment of the Hockey's Future 2014 Spring NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by members of the HF staff. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking. For reference, each team's previous rank is listed in parenthesis.
Photo: Finnish defenseman Santeri Saari set a new career-high in pro games in 2013-14, spending 25 matches with Kiekko-Vantaa in Finland’s second-tier Mestis (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Blues have benefited greatly from college players and have several notable prospects climbing the ranks.
Photo: Union College defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere raised his stock dramatically in 2013-14 with a superb regular season and dominant playoff run for the National Champions (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Welcome to the April 2014 edition of On the Rush. With the postseason underway, this will be the final column for the 2013-14 season. As such, this edition will focus on prospects at various levels of competition who exceeded expectations or fell behind a bit over the course of the entire season.
Photo: University of North Dakota defenseman and St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Schmaltz along with Edmonton prospect Dillon Simpson and Chicago prospect Nick Mattson have generated 68 points from the blueline in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sophomore Jordan Schmaltz (STL) is in the midst of a breakout season with the University of North Dakota and is one of college hockey’s rising young defensemen. The Verona, WI native currently co-leads the team with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 40 games. He and senior defensive partner Dillon Simpson (EDM) comprised arguably the NCHC’s best defensive tandem this season.