Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of Hockey's Future's NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year.
Photo: One of the top defensive prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool, Dylan Olsen will look to continue rounding out his game in Rockford in 2012-13. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
A significant number of early-round draft picks in recent years have put the Chicago Blackhawks system among the deepest organizations in the league. Although there may not be much in the way of blue-chip talent, the system has multiple NHL-caliber prospects at each position and plenty of players competing at the AHL level.
Boston College center Kevin Hayes will return to help the Eagles defend their National Championship in 2012-13. (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
While there are no plans for the Chicago Blackhawks to take the ice in the forseeable future, many of the team's top prospects will still be playing with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL as well as in junior, college, and European leagues around the world. Several prospects will transition to new levels of play while others will look to gain a foothold among the competition in the Chicago system. Below are a few of the interesting storylines headed into the 2012-13 season.
The selection of talented Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen added skill and offensive flash to the depth forwards and defensemen in the Chicago system. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Three of the Blackhawks' new additions from the 2012 NHL Draft make their debut in the new edition of the team's top 20 rankings, but the most significant storylines heading into the season belong to the prospects playing at the pro level. The NHL work stoppage will lead to a bevy of talent in the Rockford IceHogs lineup, including players like Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, and Brandon Saad who would have had a good chance of breaking camp with a spot in the Blackhawks lineup.
Photo: Chicago Blackhawks prospect Phillip Danault will look to lead his Victoriaville Tigres squad to an extended season in 2012-13 (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Phillip Danault is entering his final season of junior hockey but he has some unfinished business to take care of before he makes the jump to pro.