Photo: Jaden Schwartz, selected 14th overall in 2010, skated in 45 regular season and six playoff games for the St. Louis Blues in 2012-13 (courtesy of Keith Gillett/Icon SMI)
Prior to the trade deadline, the St. Louis Blues tried to acquire enough talent to make a push for the Stanley Cup. While the additions of Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold helped solidify the depth and experience of their blue line, they were unsuccessful in making a run for a championship and lost both young talent and draft picks in the process. In the Bouwmeester deal, the Blues gave up Mark Cundari, Reto Berra, and a conditional first round draft pick, which would be exercised if the Blues made the playoffs. The Blues did make the playoffs and were forced to give up their 2013 first round draft pick to the Calgary Flames.
Photo: Forward Yevgeni Kuznetsov is widely considered to be the top young hockey player not playing in North America. Kuznetsov is currently playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. (courtesy of Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)
With every regular season in hockey finished, it is once again time to select the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Year. Though there were many fantastic performances outside of the NHL, none were quite as good as Yevgeni Kuznetsov (WAS), who this season further cemented himself as the best hockey player not currently in North America.
Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau finished the 2012-13 season tied for the lead among NHL rookies with 31 points (courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. 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.
Photo: Rookie winger Jaden Schwartz played a prominent role in Peoria during the NHL lockout, but since the start of the Blues season, he has skated in a bottom-six role in St. Louis (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
The St. Louis Blues have found a way to be successful at the NHL level and still maintain a very deep prospect pool. With draft selections primarily out of the top ten picks, the Blues have drafted extremely well to maintain a talented group of players at all positions.
Photo: Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues' fourth overall pick in 2008, has developed into the team's top blueliner, leading the team with over 25 minutes of ice time per game this season. (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
While some teams experience a lack of draft picks, or reliable prospects, the St. Louis Blues had an abundance of both in 2008. Headlining the list of 2008 draft picks was Alex Pietrangelo, a soon-to-be superstar in the NHL. Along with Pietrangelo, nine other selections were made by the Blues in 2008.