Photo: Detroit’s signing of Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser has improved the team’s breakout and transition game (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future 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: Flames winger Sven Baertschi, who possesses great instincts and determination with the puck on his stick, took home the award for the Best Offensive Prospect (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Calgary Flames 2013 Hockey's Future prospect awards are based on the 2012-13 regular season performances in all the leagues in which they have played this year. The award winners are selected by the HF writers and decided on after all the tabulations of the opinions from the HF staff.
Photo: Boston College winger Johnny Gaudreau was part of the Hobey Hat Trick as one of three finalists for college hockey's top individual award (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
Boston College did not make the 2013 Frozen Four, but they were nonetheless well represented at the festivities, with sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau among the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Gaudreau was the only underclassman to be selected as a finalist for the award, with the other two, winner Drew LeBlanc (CHI) and Eric Hartzell, both seniors. He was also the only member of the trio whose team did not make it to the Frozen Four.
Photo: Providence goaltender Jon Gillies was named Hockey East's Rookie of the Year for his performance in backstopping the Friars all the way to the semifinals of the league tournament (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
The Calgary Flames have a good mix of talent amongst their prospects playing in the NCAA and Europe. The organization has eight forwards and one defenseman that possess varying degrees of speed, skill, character, physicality, size, and grit. The two goalies play the butterfly style with very different attributes to their games. These young prospects have shown improvement in their development this year and could add good overall depth to the Flames' organization in the very near future.
Photo: Boston College standout and WJC gold medalist Johnny Gaudreau continues to climb in the Calgary Flames' mid-season Top 20 ranking (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Calgary Flames' talent pool has good depth but will need a better development plan in order to have success getting their prospects to the NHL level. The Abbotsford Heat and the Calgary Flames need to use the same systems in order to make the transition between the levels more seamless for their young prospects. With the NHL team's playoff hopes fading as each week passes, the organization might have some very difficult decisions to make that could bring more high-end prospects and draft selections to Calgary.