Photo: Selected seventh overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, forward Jeff Skinner had an immediate impact with the Carolina Hurricanes. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
An injury laden 2012-13 season derailed the Carolina Hurricanes hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, a feat they have not accomplished in the past four seasons. General Manager Jim Rutherford's trade for Jordan Staal last year and his long term signing of Russian sniper Alexander Semin signaled that the Hurricanes are in win-now mode and they believe a championship is within grasp.
Photo: Forward Victor Rask split the 2012-13 season between the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL and the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Rask projects to be a second-line forward for the Hurricanes, possibly as soon as next year. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Despite lacking a lot of depth and talent, the Carolina Hurricanes organization has top-end prospects in the pipeline, including the offensively talented defenseman Ryan Murphy, and a potential rising offensive star in Victor Rask. There are also several good depth defensemen who, in the near future, could solidify the Carolina blue line.
Photo: Cam Atkinson is one of several Blue Jackets prospects who has seen regular time in the lineup for Columbus during the 2013 NHL season (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
Welcome to 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: Kitchener Rangers defenseman and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Ryan Murphy saw his first NHL action during a brief call-up in February (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)
Looking for a way to rebound after falling behind 3-1 early in the second round of the OHL playoffs, you could forgive Kitchener Rangers’ captain Ryan Murphy for channeling his inner James Taylor. After all, in trying to lead by example he’s got Carolina on his mind.
Photo: Zac Dalpe is one of three forwards the Hurricanes selected in the 2008 NHL Draft. Carolina used three of their five picks that year to select forwards. (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)
Headed into the 2008 off-season, there were two distinct trends in the Hurricanes' draft history under GM Jim Rutherford: they preferred not to draft defensemen or European forwards in the early rounds. For the most part, the Hurricanes elected to use their picks on forwards playing in North American leagues. The 2008 draft class was a very talented crop, but most of the better prospects were defensemen.