Photo: Speedy forward Quinton Howden was one of several Florida Panthers prospects to spend some time in the NHL during the 2013-14 season. Howden was the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Opportunities for prospects in the Florida Panthers system were omnipresent during the 2013-14 season. Whether those opportunities came in the form of the NCAA tournament, professional hockey debuts, or calls to the NHL, several hungry young prospects distinguished themselves by their play, effort and skills.
Photo: Aleksander Barkov leads the Florida system. The rookie center scored eight goals and 24 points in 54 NHL games before suffering a knee injury at the Olympics (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Below is the 11-30 segment of the Hockey's Future 2014 Spring NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by members of the HF staff. 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. Each team’s Fall ranking is listed in parenthesis next to their Spring ranking.
Photo: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly holds up the card showing the Florida Panthers as the winner of the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Maybe second is the new first, at least when it comes to the NHL Draft Lottery, the latest of which took place on Tuesday evening. In the prior two lotteries, the 29th-ranked club ended up with the first selection, and that trend held in the 2014 edition as this season's 29th club, the Florida Panthers, ended up walking away with the first selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Photo: Freshman goaltender Evan Cowley was strong in his limited starts with the University of Denver. Cowley was a backup to starting goaltender Sam Brittain, who is also a Florida Panthers prospect. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon has a penchant for college hockey prospects, especially with the flexibility that the current NCAA eligibility rules allow. In fact, the Panthers currently have nearly double the amount of college players in their system than they have in major junior hockey, an anomaly in a league that relies heavily on the CHL for player development.
Photo: University of North Dakota forward and Florida Panthers prospect Rocco Grimaldi was third in scoring on the ND roster in 2012-13 but is leading the offense this season with 39 points in 41 games (courtesy of Tim G. Zechar/Icon SMI)
At 5’6” and 172 pounds, Rocco Grimaldi is one of the smallest players in all of college hockey, but he is also one of the most dynamic. The Rossmoor, CA native’s developmental progress has allowed him to reach new heights and become more of a rounded player. Grimaldi currently leads the University of North Dakota with 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 41 games to date.