Photo: Drafted in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Vincent Trocheck has been among the top players in the OHL this season. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The number of Florida Panthers prospects playing junior hockey has dropped over the last year as several key junior performers have moved on to start their professional careers. The 2012 draft class did however add three new junior prospects for Florida. The talent of the junior prospects is evident in the fact that several of the nine suited up for their respective conferences in the recent Subway Super Series that pitted CHL conference teams against the Russian national junior team.
Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of Hockey's Future's NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year.
Photo: Now a rookie with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, forward Drew Shore experienced little difficulty transitioning to professional hockey. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Not only has Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon turned a perennially underachieving NHL club into a playoff contender in just over two years, but he built an enviable stable of prospects, many of whom are close to NHL ready.
Photo: Alex Petrovic is one of several Panthers prospects expected to make their AHL debut in 2012-13. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
With arguably the best group of prospects in the NHL, the Florida Panthers and their fans have a lot to be excited about coming into the 2012-13 season, at all levels of play. In fact, the argument could be made that the Panthers have players who are among the very best of prospects in the CHL, NCAA, and AHL. That means, despite the lockout that currently has hockey fans looking beyond the NHL to fill their passion for the sport, there are plenty of intriguing Panthers' prospect stories playing out all over North America and beyond.
Photo: University of Minnesota center Nick Bjugstad is one of several Panthers prospects who had a breakout season in 2011-12. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Over the last three drafts, the Florida Panthers managed to stockpile an incredible array of young prospects. Some top-flight prospects such as former third-overall draft pick Jonathan Huberdeau, Quinton Howden, and Alex Petrovic will make their official professional debuts this fall. Other top prospects like Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau, and Corban Knight will return to their college programs, ready to resume their quests for a national title.