Photo: Plymouth Whalers goaltender and former Belle Tire player Alex Nedeljkovic was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes (courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It's no secret that youth hockey in the United States has made great strides the past few decades.
Players from more geographical locations continue to appear on the rosters of major junior teams in Canada, as well as USHL and NAHL clubs in the U.S. The National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI and the squads at the northeastern private schools and NCAA college teams also have more American players than ever.
Photo: Zach Nastasiuk, Detroit’s 48th overall pick in 2013, served as captain for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in 2013-14 and then finished the year by making his pro debut with Grand Rapids (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Most organizations choose to either retool through free agency or rebuild through the draft. The Detroit Red Wings, however, chose to take the path least often employed and mixed retooling and rebuilding to continue their 23-year-long playoff streak.
Photo: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (left) and forwards Sam Reinhart (center) and Sam Bennett (right) will learn where they begin their professional careers at the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images and Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Now that the Los Angeles Kings have hoisted their second Stanley Cup in three years, the hockey world can now focus on the 2014 NHL Draft that will take place on June 27th and 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Texas Stars rookie forward and Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie had a productive postseason for the Calder Cup champion Stars, posting seven goals and four assists in 13 playoff games (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
The American Hockey League concluded its 2013-14 season Tuesday night as the Texas Stars defeated the St. John’s IceCaps in overtime for the third straight game of the Calder Cup finals, claiming the championship in five games – the AHL Stars’ first Calder Cup Championship in franchise history.
Photo: Val d’Or winger Anthony Mantha registered 24 goals and 38 points during the QMJHL playoffs, leading the Foreurs to the President’s Cup and a Memorial Cup berth (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
It seemed as though Detroit's much lauded playoff streak would come to an end in 2013-14 until a mid-season influx of young talent bolstered the ranks and reinvigorated a floundering Detroit Red Wings team. Prospects such as Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco were initially called up to fill in for injured NHL players, but they performed at such a high level that they never relinquished their jobs.