Photo: Finnish forward Juho Lammikko is in his first season of North American hockey, playing for the Kingston Frontenacs. Lammikko was picked in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Under general manager Dale Tallon, the Florida Panthers have been among the foremost practitioners of drafting college-bound players and thereby gaining an extra two years of development before having to make decisions on their futures. As such, the number of Florida’s prospects playing junior hockey is relatively limited. In fact, the team currently has only four players in the Canadian major junior leagues, and two more playing in the USHL before they too go off to college.
Photo: Florida Panthers prospect Rocco Grimaldi played in two leagues in one day last week, playing an early game in the AHL for the San Antonio Rampage, then suiting up for the Panthers in a game against the Los Angeles Kings (courtesy of Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire)
Florida Panthers rookie forward Rocco Grimaldi set the stage for his team’s late comeback against the Nashville Predators, scoring his first NHL goal in what ended up being a 3-2 shootout loss for the Panthers. Read more»
Photo: Forward Rocco Grimaldi is amidst his rookie season of professional hockey. Grimaldi was a second round pick from the 2011 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)
The Florida Panthers organization looks much different now than it did even two years ago. General Manager Dale Tallon’s rebuilding of the prospect system and the relative patience that his staff has shown in allowing those prospects to mature has started to bear fruit. Several players have moved through the pipeline to become NHL regulars or AHL players on the verge of graduating to the big leagues.
Photo: Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect Rasmus Ristolainen is one of a handful of good prospects at that position. Ristolainen is a part of the prospect group ranked first in HF’s team rankings (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hockey’s Future presents the top group of the 2014-15 Fall 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 ranking is done twice a year, in the Fall and Spring. Each team’s rank from the previous rankings is listed in parentheses.
Photo: New Jersey Devils rookie defenseman Damon Severson stepped right into the NHL after starring for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets the past four seasons (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The emergence of New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson as an offensive presence after making the jump directly from junior hockey to the NHL has been a bit of a surprise. Tanner Pearson was expected to make an impact for the Los Angeles Kings after seeing regular ice time during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but few expected the eye-popping offensive numbers he has put up so far. Read more»