Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau finished the 2012-13 season tied for the lead among NHL rookies with 31 points (courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. 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.
Photo: Chad Ruhwedel, who led the UMass-Lowell defense in scoring during the 2012-13 season, signed a pro contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel didn’t take a short path to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. In fact, the junior rearguard’s path was a rather winding one since he first started to play hockey in his hometown of San Diego, CA.
Photo: Defenseman Jake McCabe had a breakout sophomore season with the Wisconsin Badgers. McCabe was drafted 44th overall in 2012. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Buffalo Sabres tend to draft players out of the CHL, and as a result have fewer high-end prospects in Europe and the collegiate levels. Even when the Sabres elected to drafted European-born players with their first round picks, as they did twice in 2012 by taking Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, both players were playing in North American leagues at the time.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Makarov went 15-0 in the month of February. Makarov was signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent in 2012. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov (BUF) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for February. The undrafted Russian goaltender rocked the WHL last month, posting a 15-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Photo: Mikhail Grigorenko remains the top prospect for the Buffalo Sabres. Drafted 12th overall in 2012, Grigorenko has played 17 games in the NHL this season. (courtesy of Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
The Buffalo Sabres prospect pool is in a state of transition, with many of their top prospects, such as Mikhail Grigorenko and Marcus Foligno, now contributing to the NHL roster. Many of the Sabres other prospects, such as Andrey Makarov and Daniel Catenacci, are dominating their respective competition levels and appear poised to move on to the professional level next year. In general, the Sabres have good depth at every position, though they are deepest at center and on defense.