Photo: Now in his third year of professional hockey, Patrick Wiercioch has started to blossom into an offensive defenseman. Through 30 AHL games he has nine goals and nine assists. (Jay Kopinski/Icon SM)
In years past, Ottawa's AHL affiliate has been a mixed roster of AHL veterans, free agent signings, and draft picks. This is no longer the case. The Binghamton Senators are stacked with young talent and are among the youngest teams in the AHL.
Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of Hockey's Future's NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. 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.
Photo: Offensive Defenseman Cody Ceci is one of several talented players the Ottawa Senators have at the OHL level. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Ottawa Senators have nine prospects presently at the junior level led by former first round picks Cody Ceci, Stefan Noesen, and Matt Puempel. The organization addressed its weak goaltending depth in the 2012 entry draft by selecting Chris Driedger of the WHL and Francois Brassard of the QMJHL, both of whom are having strong seasons. The lone junior prospect Ottawa has outside of Canadain major junior is Robbie Baillargeon of the USHL.
Photo: Mark Borowiecki is one of several defensive prospects the Ottawa Senators have playing at the AHL level. (Tony Medina/Icon SMI)
The future of the Ottawa Senators looks bright. The Senators are considered to have one of the better pools of young talent in the NHL and, while some top draftees have recently cemented themselves on the Ottawa roster, most notably Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen, there are many prospects on the verge of becoming solid NHL contributors in the near future. The club has quality and various skill-sets in all positions and has worked to draft where they previously had weak depth.
Photo: Forward Jarrod Maidens has to yet to return to action after suffering a concussion in November 2011. (CHL Images)
If the Ottawa Senators' appearance in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was surprising, it was only because no one expected the organization's young talent to develop so quickly. With Erik Karlsson leading the way, the Senators have another triumvirate of future Swedish stars in forwards Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg and goaltender Robin Lehner in the pipeline.