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: Second-round pick Alex Chiasson is in his first full season with Dallas in 2013-14. The winger has 25 points but a minus-20 rating in 55 games (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
Montreal hosted the 2009 NHL Draft. The draft was highlighted by super-skilled forwards John Tavares and Matt Duchene and massive Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. All three have been exceptional NHL players. In fact, the first seven players selected have all been impactful NHL players to whatever degree. Unfortunately, first-time GM Joe Nieuwendyk was armed with the eighth pick.
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.