Photo: Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen leads a deep group of Buffalo Sabres prospects (courtesy of Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hockey's Future presents the top group of the 2014 Spring NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked by the overall quality of their prospect pool as voted on by the HF staff. For reference, the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall rankings. Each team's Fall ranking is listed in parenthesis next to their current ranking.
Photo: Toronto Marlies forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Josh leivo has been productive so far in the 2014 AHL playoffs, notching six points in five games for the Marlies (courtesy of Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
The Western Conference ran away with most of the AHL team and player honors for the 2013-14 season, with the explosive offense from the Texas Stars overshadowing the league’s annual awards. The defending champion Grand Rapids Griffins also took home some hardware, but can the West keep the most important award – the Calder Cup trophy – in the conference?
Photo: Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin’s 34 points placed him ninth among rookies that competed during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Although the Stars’ postseason ended in a mere six games, Dallas has years of excellence to look forward to from their dynamic winger, Valeri Nichushkin.
Photo: Maine’s Devin Shore had a breakout season in 2013-14, registering 43 points in 35 games as a sophomore (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
On the back of a first line and a first-rate goaltender, the Dallas Stars have found themselves in the postseason for the first time since 2008.
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.