Photo: Jokerit defenseman and Dallas Stars prospect Esa Lindell (R) scored the first goal of the game in Finland’s 3-2 gold medal win over Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
With the wealth of talented young defensemen coming out of Finland's junior hockey program lately, it's hard to imagine that just three years ago there was a serious dearth of prospects.
Photo: Toronto Marlies forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Spencer Abbott is currently ranked fifth in scoring in the AHL with 42 points in 40 games (courtesy of David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
With the American Hockey League season passing the midway point, a great deal of young prospects have already made some noise with their respective NHL clubs while others continue to adjust to the pro-style game.
Photo: Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who has 23 career NHL games on his resume, has spent most of the 2013-14 season with Texas in the AHL (courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With excellent scouting and drafting, the Stars have had a lot of inexperienced pros force their way into the Texas Stars lineup in recent years. With an experienced coach leading the charge, the Stars have been rather successful despite the youth.
Photo: Guelph winger Jason Dickinson has been a standout at both ends of the ice for the Storm. The Dallas Stars draft pick registered nine assists in his last five games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Welcome to the January 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: Kamloops Blazers forward and Dallas Stars prospect Cole Ully is currently the leading scorer on the rebuilding Blazers (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Imagine spending two full seasons battling for ice time on a veteran-laden junior hockey team, one that was built to produce high-octane scoring in pursuit of a Western Hockey League championship. And then, when the elite performers finally move on, graduating to professional or Canadian University hockey, your time as a veteran leader emerges as the team is entrenched in rebuilding mode.