Photo: Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen leads a deep group of Buffalo Sabres prospects (courtesy of Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hockey's Future presents the top group of the 2014 Spring NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked by the overall quality of their prospect pool as voted on by the HF staff. For reference, the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall rankings. Each team's Fall ranking is listed in parenthesis next to their current ranking.
Photo: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm finished second in scoring among rookie defensemen in the 2013-14 regular season, behind Boston Bruins’ rookie defender Torey Krug (courtesy of John Cordes/Icon SMI)
He was a surprise top-10 selection at the 2012 NHL Draft, but Anaheim Ducks rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm has at times looked like a seasoned NHL veteran at the tender age of 20.
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: Union College defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere raised his stock dramatically in 2013-14 with a superb regular season and dominant playoff run for the National Champions (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Welcome to the April 2014 edition of On the Rush. With the postseason underway, this will be the final column for the 2013-14 season. As such, this edition will focus on prospects at various levels of competition who exceeded expectations or fell behind a bit over the course of the entire season.