Photo: Selected 39th overall in 2011, John Gibson quickly established himself as a top goaltender in the OHL. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images).
The Anaheim Ducks dug a deep hole in the first three months of their 2011-12 campaign. They were one of the league's most dangerous teams in the second half, displaying the form that allowed them to host a playoff series just a season earlier. Now, a roster highlighted by stars and a franchise with tremendous prospect depth, Anaheim finds itself picking No. 6 and No. 36 overall. The Ducks dealt away their middle-round picks but were fortunate enough to keep their first two selections, which are much higher than the talent level in their organization might suggest.
Photo: Goaltender Chris Gibson fields questions with the media shortly after be selected by the Los Angeles Kings 49th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Gibson is part of a large group of very talented young goaltenders in the Kings system. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Over the past year, the Los Angeles Kings
shifted their philosophy from stockpiling young talent to selling it off for reliable roster players. Heading into the playoffs, the eighth-seeded Kings had bet the farm on what appeared to be a losing proposition. They entered the post-season as a bottom seed whose first pick in the 2012 draft was at 121. That changed, however, as they completed an improbable run to a Stanley Cup championship, which also will likely result in the Columbus Blue Jackets
exercising the option to take their 2013 pick. The Kings will now have the final selection in this year's first round as well as six late picks, which they have invested wisely with in recent years.
Photo: Swedish defender Hampus Lindholm should be a part of a strong group of defensive prospects chosen in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
Although a relative unknown to some at the start of the 2011-12 season, Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm has made a slow, steady climb up the 2012 draft ranks, to the point where he is a viable candidate to be chosen somewhere in the first round.
Photo: Forward John Huberdeau is the top prospect for the Florida Panthers and one of the top forwards not currently playing hockey at the professional level. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
Below is the final part of Hockey's Future's 2012 Spring Organizational Rankings. The rankings were determined by taking each NHL team's entire prospect pool into consideration as well as the likelihood those prospects are to meet their maximum potential. For reference, each team's top five prospects are included, as well as the players they have graduated, traded, or added to their pool over the 2011-12 season. To be eligible, a player must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice each season, in the fall and spring.
Photo: Ryan Hegarty was an effective shutdown defenseman in his four years with Maine. (Photo Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Ducks have more than doubled their investment in both the NCAA and European pro ranks, selecting two players competing in Sweden in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and diversifying their holdings at the college level. There is currently a very diverse mix of forwards and defensemen among the European and collegiate prospect pools.
Justin Schultz, D, Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA)
Drafted 2nd round, 43rd overall, 2008