Photo: Abbotsford Heat forward and Calgary Flames prospect Corban Knight’s strong play from his final NCAA season has carried over into the early portion of the 2013-14 AHL season (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
The American Hockey League’s Western Conference is approaching the end of the first quarter, and the wild, wild west is producing some dynamic offensive hockey players.
Photo: Forward Spencer Abbott has been a standout for the Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Abbott is in his second full season of professional hockey. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs strong start can be attributed to the depth they have accumulated over previous seasons. Under general manager Dave Nonis, the Maple Leafs continue to foster the development of their youth in hopes they will one day become NHL players.
Photo: Selected first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, center Nathan MacKinnon has made a smooth transition to the NHL level. (courtesy of Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Below is the 21-30 segment of the Hockey's Future 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 for each club are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with this ranking meant to represent the state of the prospect pools in the early stages of the 2013-14 season.
Photo: Erie Otters captain and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Connor Brown is experiencing success as an Otter for the first time as he leads the OHL in scoring this season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
He’s been drafted by his hometown team, he’s leading the Ontario Hockey League in scoring, and is the captain of the top team in the OHL 15 games into the young campaign. But for the Erie Otters’ Connor Brown, seeing his name on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger may be his most proud accomplishment.
Photo: Now in his fourth season of junior hockey, Matt Finn is expected to be a leader for the Guelph Storm on and off the ice. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Marlies, are expected to ice a very youthful lineup for the 2013-14 season, comprised mostly of players aged 23 and under. The Marlies will welcome eight players who make their rookie debuts in the AHL.