Photo: Brendan Shinnimin (left) and Jordan Szwarz are two of the young forwards that have chipped in at both ends of the rink for the Portland Pirates in 2012-13. (courtesy Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The Portland Pirates are having a successful season, thanks in large part to the influx of young talent. The Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate features eight rookies, including a few first round picks. Many of the Coyotes prospects that are playing professional hockey play the same style as many of the players on the parent club: a speedy, gritty, two-way game.
Photo: Sarnia Sting defenseman and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy has been a solid defensive presence for Team USA at the 2013 WJC (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
After dropping a couple of tight, low-scoring encounters to rivals Russia and Canada, Team USA appears to have gotten their offense in gear the past couple of games. The USA has scored 16 times in those two games, against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while giving up just three goals.
Photo: After playing the past three seasons in Finland, defenseman Sami Vatanen made his way to North America and currently plays for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Below is the middle section 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, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
Photo: Henrik Samuelsson, the Phoenix Coyotes' first-round selection last summer, continues to be a force for the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Coyotes prospect pool currently features a modest total of seven players currently playing in the Canadian Hockey League. What they lack in numbers though they certainly make up for in talent with several of the players possessing the potential to become quality players at the next level.
Photo: Defenseman Connor Murphy, who will compete for a spot on Team USA at the 2013 WJC, is one of three first-round picks on the Phoenix Coyotes' blue line depth chart. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
As has been the case over the past few years, the Phoenix Coyotes prospect pool is built around their strong group of defensive prospects. Elite talents like Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson quickly became franchise cornerstones and gave way to a new crop led by the likes of first-round studs Brandon Gormley, David Rundblad, and Connor Murphy.