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.
Photo: Goaltender Jake Allen moved up to the number one spot in the Blues Top 20 following the graduation of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz (courtesy of Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)
Since the previous Top 20 rankings, the St. Louis Blues have changed dramatically in terms of prospects and those will be reflected in this edition of the Blues’ Top 20.
Photo: Val-d’Or Foreurs goaltender and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau was dealt from the Charlottetown Islanders to the Foreurs in late December, with Bibeau assuming the starting role with his new club (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years…"
Although the QMJHL is a long way from its 1990's heyday, when it regularly knocked out similar junior leagues when it came to the development of NHL goaltending prospects, the league currently boasts nine netminders who have been drafted or signed by NHL clubs. This number was bolstered by a bumper crop of five current QMJHL goalies drafted in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Photo: Linkoping goaltender and Ottawa Senators prospect Marcus Hogberg backed up Oscar Dansk on Sweden’s silver medal squad that competed at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With the arrival of Henrik Lundqvist in the NHL back in the 2005-06 season, the NHL seen an influx of Swedish goaltenders being drafted or signed to professional contracts and brought over to North America at a rate not seen before.
Photo: Rockford IceHogs forward and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin has spent most of the season with the AHL’s IceHogs, but has appeared in 15 games for the Blackhawks in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
While the top nine teams in the East have separated themselves from the pack, the AHL's Western Conference is still wide open heading down the stretch.