Photo: Forward Nick Baptiste was one among the Buffalo Sabres’ most improved prospects in 2013-14. Baptiste managed 89 points in 65 OHL games this past season, more than his previous two junior seasons combined. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
If the decline of the Buffalo Sabres had to reach its darkest depths before progressing upwards, the 2013-14 season was certainly the franchise's lowest point. At various points throughout the season, the team was in a state of flux, either in the front office, behind the bench, or on the ice.
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: 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.
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.
Photo: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly holds up the card showing the Florida Panthers as the winner of the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Maybe second is the new first, at least when it comes to the NHL Draft Lottery, the latest of which took place on Tuesday evening. In the prior two lotteries, the 29th-ranked club ended up with the first selection, and that trend held in the 2014 edition as this season's 29th club, the Florida Panthers, ended up walking away with the first selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.