Photo: Portland Winterhawks forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand was one of just three WHL players to hit the 50-goal mark in the 2013-14 regular season (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
In the 2013-14 season regular season, the WHL featured a talented variety of wingers that are currently NHL prospects. The focus of this article is on the those WHL wingers that are currently property of a National Hockey League team, six of whom have signed NHL contracts. Our ranking consists of seven Canadians and three imports. Seven toiled in the WHL’s Western Conference, and our ranking contains a couple sets of teammates.
Photo: Defenseman Martin Marincin has had a solid 2013-14 season split between the AHL and NHL. Marincin was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. This group features several prospects on the verge of cracking an NHL roster on a full-time basis, as well as more recent draft picks who are finding breakout success in 2013-14.
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: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.
Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich was a scoring star for Russia’s bronze medal-winning squad at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)
In spite of the bad performance at the recent Winter Olympics, Russia keeps on producing good players at a good rate, as confirmed by the recent good showing of the WJC squad.