Photo: Center Aleksander Barkov was the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Barkov projects as a first line center and is thought to be very close to NHL ready. (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
Heading into the 2013 NHL Draft, the Florida Panthers had one of the deeper and more talented groups of prospects in the NHL, including the recent Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. With eight picks, including the second overall, the team needed to address several deficiencies in their depth chart, the most notable being a center to run the first-line offense and distribute the puck to Huberdeau.
Photo: Selected 3rd overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, defenseman Erik Gudbranson recently completed his second full season in the NHL. (courtesy of Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
One year after a surprising trip to the playoffs, the Florida Panthers fell to the bottom of the league standings. For a team in transition such a drop is disheartening. There is a however a silver lining to the Panthers poor season, as the second-overall draft pick in 2013 can yield a potential superstar.
Photo: In his first season of North American hockey, forward Alexander Delnov managed 49 points through 69 regular season games with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Delnov also appeared in seven playoff games, managing two goals and two assists. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The summer started early for many of Florida's top prospects, after both the Panthers and their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, failed to make the playoffs. Several of the team's brightest young stars, Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore, Jacob Markstrom, and Alex Petrovic among them, missed out on postseason action. However, the Panthers were still represented in playoff action at many levels of play.
Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau edged out the Montreal Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher as HF’s pick for NHL Rookie of the Year (courtesy of Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Hockey's Future polled their staff to find out who their choice was for the 2013 Calder Trophy. As it was last season, when Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog narrowly edged out Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this year's contest came down to two forwards.
Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau finished the 2012-13 season tied for the lead among NHL rookies with 31 points (courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.