Photo: Portland Winterhawks forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand was one of just three WHL players to hit the 50-goal mark in the 2013-14 regular season (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
In the 2013-14 season regular season, the WHL featured a talented variety of wingers that are currently NHL prospects. The focus of this article is on the those WHL wingers that are currently property of a National Hockey League team, six of whom have signed NHL contracts. Our ranking consists of seven Canadians and three imports. Seven toiled in the WHL’s Western Conference, and our ranking contains a couple sets of teammates.
Photo: Defenseman Martin Marincin has had a solid 2013-14 season split between the AHL and NHL. Marincin was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. This group features several prospects on the verge of cracking an NHL roster on a full-time basis, as well as more recent draft picks who are finding breakout success in 2013-14.
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: Forward Blake Coleman is wrapping up a breakout junior season with the Miami Redhawks, where he has posted 18 goals and seven assists through 25 games. (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Under general manager Lou Lamoriello, the New Jersey Devils have always valued players from the NCAA ranks. They currently have a nice balance of forwards and defensemen at the college level, led Boston College freshman Steve Santini
Photo: Defenseman Jon Merrill continues to be the top prospect for the New Jersey Devils. Merrill was selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
Whether or not the New Jersey Devils reach the postseason, management can be satisfied with the NHL-ready talent waiting in the wings. Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill have shown they can become impactful blueliners, as has the recently re-acquired Alexander Urbom.