Below is the bottom third of the ranking of the prospect depth of the NHL organizations as voted by the Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. 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 each season, in the fall and spring.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Deep pool of NHL ready defenders
- Depth of play making centers
- Depth and talent of prospects at pro level
- No premiere scorers at the wing
- Goaltenders still a long way from NHL
- Lack a big physical presence at forward
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
It’s not often that you find a 6-5 defenseman with a right-handed shot blasting shots from the blueline. And it’s even more seldom that a player of this nature has an Italian passport. But both of these things are true in the case of Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2009 fifth round pick, Thomas Larkin.
With much on the line at the 2012 World Championships, Thomas Larkin and his teammates are doing all they can to position themselves for the 2014 Winter Olympics qualification round. With a 4-3 overtime victory against Denmark, the team has already been responsible for the tournament’s biggest upset to date.
Larkin answered a few questions for Hockey’s Future after the team’s opening day loss to Team Germany.
Hockey’s Future: I believe this is your first World Championship appearance
Thomas Larkin: It’s my first one in the top division. I represented Italy at the lower division tournament last spring.
HF: You opened this tournament with a tough 3-0 loss to Germany today. What was your take on the game?
TL: It was a tough game. I think we came out little soft, but started to feel well at the end there. By the time we figured things out, it was already too late.
HF: Do you find it difficult going from Colgate to the bigger European ice surfaces?
TL: It’s definitely a big change, especially playing defense against faster forwards, but it’s going well. We just had training camp for three weeks, so I’ve had some time to get used to it.
HF: What do you think this tournament will mean for you, perhaps even in the eyes of some NHL scouts who will be viewing events here?
TL: This tournament is really one of the best in the world and it’s a big step up for me going from playing college hockey to facing players from leagues like the NHL, AHL and KHL. You know, I just really hope to learn as much as I can this week and step my game up.
TL: That’s definitely a factor, you know. Playing against players you’ve been watching on TV throughout the winter is really quite special. Nonetheless, I’ve got to try to keep that out of my mind and we’re going to try to sneak up on a few teams here and win a couple of games.
HF: There are a lot of guys on this Italian team who are originally from North America. What is your connection to the country? How is it you’re here playing for the “Azzurri”?
TL: Oh, I grew up there. My mother is Italian and I grew up in a town not far from Milan until I was 14. We then moved to the States. My dad is American, so I’m half and half, but I grew up in Italy and then moved to the States after that.
Below is the inaugural edition of the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect awards. The Blue Jackets remain among the bottom feeders in the NHL standings though unlike other teams who've languished at the bottom of the standings for several years, they lack a large stable of elite young talent. Instead there is a mix of moderately skilled, hard-working forwards and defensemen with loads of unrealized high-end potential.
The Blue Jackets don't exactly have any blue-chip prospects currently playing NCAA hockey, but they've got a number of players who could potentially contribute to an NHL lineup in the near future. Undersized-center T.J. Tynan has quite a bit of offensive potential, while wingers Seth Ambroz and Jake Hansen have looked promising this season. On the back-end, Miami's Will Weber has been one of the top defensive defensemen in the CCHA. The club's lone prospect playing overseas, Anton Forsberg has been progressing better than expected, and at this point, looks to have NHL potential.
It's been nearly five years since the 2007 NHL draft and the Blue Jackets top two selections are no longer with the organization. Not only that, they've only managed to get 24 games of NHL experience for their bottom five picks. Of their seven total selections, four went the NCAA route, three of whom are currently in their fourth and final season.
At this point, the jury is still somewhat out on how the organization did in the 2007 draft; it will likely depend on the progression of Weber, Hansen, and goaltender Allen York. The outlook however isn't too promising.