Photo: Colorado College defenseman and Minnesota Wild prospect Gustav Olofsson (#13) has been effective for the Tigers in his freshman year in that program (courtesy of Dan Sanger/Icon SMI)
While a majority of the players on the roster for Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship were plucked directly from that country, there is a handful of Swedes that are plying their trade in North America. One such player is defenseman Gustav Olofsson, a Minnesota Wild prospect who is currently playing NCAA hockey for Colorado College.
Photo: Rookie pro Erik Haula already has 10 NHL games under his belt in 2013-14. He is currently with the AHL’s Iowa Wild, where he leads the team with 16 points in 22 games this season (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
As the Minnesota Wild goes through periods of unforeseeable injury and head-smacking offensive inability, several burgeoning talents from the Iowa squad have stepped up into NHL roles.
Photo: An energetic and hard-working forward, Kurtis Gabriel has added offense in 2013-14. He is one of two Owen Sound Attack skaters averaging over a point per game this season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With the team's largely Québécois scouting staff and its strong ties in and around the state of Minnesota, it makes sense that many of the Wild's junior prospects are found playing in those developmental channels.
Photo: Picked third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jonathan Drouin brings elite skill to an already deep and talented group of Lightning prospects. (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Fall NHL Team Rankings. The staff's ranking of each NHL team's system is 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 rankings are done twice a year, with this ranking meant to represent the state of the prospect pools in the early stages of the 2013-14 season.
Photo: First-year pro Erik Haula, who has four points in five AHL games this season, represents the depth of talent that the Wild have at the pro level (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Minnesota Wild has taken an aggressive approach in free agency and trade at the NHL level, adding a franchise defenseman in Ryan Suter, and bolstering its forward corps with legitimate NHL stars in Zach Parise and Jason Pominville and a solid defensive presence in Matt Cooke. The confidence to make these moves was in part due to a group of prospects who seemed ready to come in and provide support during their cheaper entry-level contract years.