Photo: Goaltender Mark Visentin was the #1 goaltender for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship. Hockey Canada's Ron Tugnutt is working on finding this year's goaltenders for that tournament (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Among the players on the ice, the goaltender stands out as a unique presence. Not only does he wear different equipment, play the entire game and often has peculiar mannerisms, but as the last line of defense, a goaltender can find himself singled out for both praise and blame.
Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning top pick Slater Koekkoek, currently playing for the OHL's Peterborough Petes, receives his jersey and hat from current Lightning GM and former Pete Steve Yzerman (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
In what was a popular theme for this year's NHL Draft crop, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected with their top pick one of the prospects that missed a great deal of the 2011-12 season due to an injury.
Photo: Though he started the 2011-12 season in the AHL, two-way winger Carl Hagelin finished it in the NHL on a line with stars Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The New York Rangers' prospects had an excellent season, as the fruits of the changes in drafting philosophy continue to bear fruit. The awards include three first round selections and two picks from the 2011 entry draft.
Photo: Tomas Jurco is among the few Red Wings prospects to see an extensive post-season. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Success in Hockeytown is measured in Stanley Cups, but unfortunately, the Detroit Red Wings and their local affiliates came up well short of their intended goals this past season. The Red Wings made the playoffs but failed to advance past the division rival Nashville Predators in the first round. The AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins missed the playoffs altogether. They won just three of their final 10 games down the stretch and missed the playoffs by nine points. At the ECHL level, the Toledo Walleye posted the third-worst record in the league as they were unable to clinch a postseason berth for the second straight season. It was a disappointing spring for most Red Wings prospects abroad as well, though there were several notable exceptions.
Photo: Finishing the season with an OHL championship and an appearance at the Memorial Cup, defenseman Scott Harrington easily saw the most post-season success of any Penguin prospect. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
Only two years ago an extended run in the NHL post-season was a seeming right of passage for the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and their rabid fanbase. But after two consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009, the Penguins have experienced dramatic early post-season upsets, the first in 2011 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and most recently in 2012 to the Philadelphia Flyers.