Photo: Portland Pirates forward and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Tobias Rieder is tied for third in rookie goal-scoring with 23 so far in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
It is getting down to the last dozen or so games in the 2013-14 season and still many things are left undecided in the AHL's Eastern Conference, with at least 10 teams still vying for a chance at the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Photo: Rookie defenseman Ryan Murray had settled in nicely as a top-four defenseman for the Columbus Blue Jackets before suffering a knee injury on March 3rd, 2014. (courtesy of Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets' Top 20 has not changed all too much this season. Although a handful of prospects are already regulars on the Blue Jackets' roster, with Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray leading the bunch, many are still several years away from making an NHL contribution.
Photo: Providence College goaltender and Calgary Flames prospect Jon Gillies has played for Team USA at the last two U20 World Junior Championships (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
This season started with 15 NHL-drafted goaltenders playing in the NCAA. Now it is down to 13. Reigning ECAC Rookie of the Year Jason Kasdorf (WPG) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in October after playing in just two games. Sophomore Collin Olson (CAR) left Ohio State in November to play in the USHL.
Photo: HPK Hameenlinna goaltender and Nashville Predators prospect Juuse Saros turned in a stellar performance at the 2014 World Junior Championship, helping to lead Finland to their first gold medal at the U20 WJC since 1998 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
No country has had as much success developing goaltenders in recent years as Finland.
But with 14 Finland-trained goalies playing in North America and another nine playing in Europe in either the KHL or in Sweden's SHL, the number of drafted prospects playing in Finland's Liiga has dwindled to just five.
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.