Photo: Portland Winterhawks forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand was one of just three WHL players to hit the 50-goal mark in the 2013-14 regular season (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
In the 2013-14 season regular season, the WHL featured a talented variety of wingers that are currently NHL prospects. The focus of this article is on the those WHL wingers that are currently property of a National Hockey League team, six of whom have signed NHL contracts. Our ranking consists of seven Canadians and three imports. Seven toiled in the WHL’s Western Conference, and our ranking contains a couple sets of teammates.
Photo: Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, currently skating in the QMJHL for the Quebec Remparts, was ranked 21st in the Fall edition of the rankings but dropped to 31st in the Spring update (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 31-40. This section of the ranking is particularly deep with offensively talented forwards, led by Mikhail Grigorenko, Nicolas Petan, and Max Domi.
Photo: Val-d’Or Foreurs goaltender and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau was dealt from the Charlottetown Islanders to the Foreurs in late December, with Bibeau assuming the starting role with his new club (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years…"
Although the QMJHL is a long way from its 1990's heyday, when it regularly knocked out similar junior leagues when it came to the development of NHL goaltending prospects, the league currently boasts nine netminders who have been drafted or signed by NHL clubs. This number was bolstered by a bumper crop of five current QMJHL goalies drafted in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.
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.