Photo: Nikita Kucherov has parlayed a hot start in the AHL with Syracuse into a full-time gig with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013-14 (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 21-30. This particular section of the rankings is led by dynamic young forward Nikita Kucherov, who is one of several promising young forwards playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Photo: Boston College freshman Adam Gilmour has managed to stand out despite a limited fourth-line role, scoring 19 points through 37 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
In today's salary-cap league, NHL teams need to pursue every available avenue to procure and retain good hockey players at reasonable cost. After going out and acquiring Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley, the Wild has had to bank on some of the longer-shots in its prospect group developing into dependable NHL players who can fill out a top-heavy roster cheaply and effectively.
Photo: Val-d’Or Foreurs goaltender and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau was dealt from the Charlottetown Islanders to the Foreurs in late December, with Bibeau assuming the starting role with his new club (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years…"
Although the QMJHL is a long way from its 1990's heyday, when it regularly knocked out similar junior leagues when it came to the development of NHL goaltending prospects, the league currently boasts nine netminders who have been drafted or signed by NHL clubs. This number was bolstered by a bumper crop of five current QMJHL goalies drafted in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Photo: Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has just broken the record for the longest point-scoring streak by an 18-year-old that had been held for 34 years by Wayne Gretzky (courtesy of Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
With the Olympic break in February, most NHL teams played only a half dozen games or so during the month of February. But that was enough time for Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon to widen his lead in the Calder Trophy poll, being a unanimous selection as the leader in the monthly poll by the Hockey's Future staff.
Photo: Defenseman Matt Dumba takes over the top spot in this edition of the Minnesota Wild Top 20. Dumba opened the 2013-14 season in the NHL, but he is currently skating with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
Jonas Brodin, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter have graduated from prospect status and now appear to be legitimate NHL players, though all still at various early stages of their careers.