Photo: Notre Dame defenseman and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns will cap off his college career with his most productive offensive season for the Fighting Irish (courtesy of Zumapress/Icon SMI)
This season, the NCAA features an array of outstanding NHL-drafted defensemen and many of them, particularly underclassmen, have been left off this year’s list. The ten defensemen ranked here are all having excellent seasons with their respective teams and have made tremendous strides in their development.
Photo: University of Minnesota backstop Adam Wilcox, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, and the Gophers hold the top spot in the Big Ten going into the final weeks of the NCAA regular season (courtesy of Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Welcome to the February 2014 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
Photo: Defenseman David Savard appears to have carved out a role with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Savard was selected 94th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Columbus Blue Jackets spent four of their six selections in the 2009 NHL Draft stocking up defenders. Of those defensemen, top pick John Moore (NYR) and third round selection David Savard are both in the NHL, while Thomas Larkin and Anton Blomqvist, as expected, are going to need a bit more time to develop.
Photo: Albany Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid, shown here playing for New Jersey in an NHL preseason game, has been among the top goaltenders in the AHL so far in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
As the AHL season has entered full swing, so have the NHL recalls. Many AHL players have already seen considerable time in the NHL, or have spent a large number of days traveling between where their parent club is playing, and where their AHL team is located.
Photo: Team Sweden goaltender Oscar Dansk stops Switzerland’s Flavio Schmutz in a preliminary round game at the 2014 WJC won by Sweden, 5-3 (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Erie Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk seems to have taken his game to another level this season in the OHL, as have his teammates. Dasnk's improvement has carried over into the 2014 World Junior Championship, where he is an integral part of Sweden's undefeated run to the tournament's semi-finals.