Photo: Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo bounced around Europe for much of the 2013-14 season before finally settling down with Ilves. Korpisalo was selected 62nd overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
After selecting eight players in the 2013 NHL Draft, it was exciting as ever to watch some of the Columbus Blue Jackets prospects bloom. Kerby Rychel and Oliver Bjorkstrand put together tremendous years at the Canadian major junior level, while Alexander Wennberg and Marko Dano got their skates under them in Europe.
Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Wennberg saw his first extended action in Sweden’s top league during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
For the better part of the last 25 years, Sweden has continued to provide the world with some of the best and most exciting forward talent anywhere. That trend has continued in recent years and is testified to in the fact that no European nation has seen as many players drafted in recent years than has Sweden.
Photo: Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau is Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month for March. Gaudreau was stellar in March, managing six goals and eight assists through six games. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Boston College forward and Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for March. The player known as "Johnny Hockey" was a standout last month, managing six goals and eight assists through six games, including a six-point night against the University of Denver on March 29th.
Photo: Forward T.J. Tynan had a strong senior season with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, posting eight goals and 30 assists through 40 games. Tynan recently signed an entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Columbus Blue Jackets had some high-end talent playing in Europe this season, with first-round picks Alexander Wennberg and Marko Dano playing in European men's leagues. The organization has also used mid and late round draft picks to select players that are developing in some of the nation's top collegiate programs.
Photo: Erie Otters forward and Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky has had a smooth transition to the North American game, notching 87 points in 57 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The top 10 NHL-drafted wingers currently playing in the OHL aren’t overly large (a couple of notable exceptions, of course), but this year’s crop represents a collection of players who generally are solid defensively (or at least have shown that capability when they put their minds to it), and have the hands to chip in once in a while.