Photo: Derrick Pouliot led the WHL in points from a defenseman with five goals and 27 assists. Pouliot and the Portland Winterhawks almost won their second consecutive WHL championship, losing in seven games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
After failing to make the Stanley Cup finals for a fifth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired longtime general manager Ray Shero. The organization named Shero's former assistant, Jason Botterill, as the interim GM while the organization seeks a permanent replacement. However, it is not all bad news on the playoff front for the Penguins organization. Several prospects, namely Derrick Pouliot and Tristan Jarry, had long and productive postseasons, which should benefit their development down the road.
Photo: Aleksander Barkov leads the Florida system. The rookie center scored eight goals and 24 points in 54 NHL games before suffering a knee injury at the Olympics (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Below is the 11-30 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. Each team’s Fall ranking is listed in parenthesis next to their Spring ranking.
Photo: Norfolk Admirals goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson was having a strong showing in the 2014 AHL playoffs before getting the call to play for the Ducks in Game 4 of their series against the Los Angeles Kings (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The 2014 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs are in mid-swing and there have been plenty of upsets in the Eastern Conference, which saw all three regular season division champions fall in the first round. While the Western Conference might have taken the spotlight winning most of the league’s awards and honors, there are plenty of Eastern Conference players who continue to show they’re ready to take on a larger role with their respective NHL affiliates next season.
Photo: Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon led all NHL rookies in scoring during the 2013-14 regular season, and even led all NHL scorers during the 2014 NHL playoffs until the Avalanche were eliminated in the first round (courtesy of Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon had a huge second half of the season to pull away from the field in the Calder Trophy race. His performance in the 2014 NHL playoffs was simply the cherry on top of a great rookie season.
Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Wennberg saw his first extended action in Sweden’s top league during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
For the better part of the last 25 years, Sweden has continued to provide the world with some of the best and most exciting forward talent anywhere. That trend has continued in recent years and is testified to in the fact that no European nation has seen as many players drafted in recent years than has Sweden.