Photo: Binghamton Senators forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Mike Hoffman has turned in a strong season in the AHL after having his 2012-13 campaign shortened by an injury (courtesy of Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
With the NHL on a two-week Olympic hiatus, several top prospects were sent down to their respective AHL teams, with several teams in the Eastern Conference receiving reinforcements.
For some clubs, the quick spike in depth provided almost instant results. For others, the "better on paper" lineup caused a downgrade in the team's on-ice performance.
Photo: Defenseman Simon Despres was the 30th overall pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. Despres has split the 2013-14 season between the NHL and AHL. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The 2009 NHL off-season was one of the most important in Pittsburgh Penguins history as it marked their first Stanley Cup parade in over 15 years. The off-season also marked a major transition period for the Penguins as General Manager Ray Shero and his management team used the opportunity to rebuild the organization's then-barren defensive pool.
Photo: Guelph winger Jason Dickinson has been a standout at both ends of the ice for the Storm. The Dallas Stars draft pick registered nine assists in his last five games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Welcome to the January 2014 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
Photo: Brian Dumoulin is one of many talented young defensemen in the Penguins minor-league system. Dumoulin made his NHL debut on December 14th and played in six games before returning to the AHL. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty)
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently lead the NHL in man games lost to injury and at one point were missing their entire top-four defensive unit. The team has not missed a beat, however, and currently leads the NHL's Eastern Conference with 63 points and 31 wins.
Photo: Portland Winterhawks defenseman and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Derrick Pouliot has been a productive offensive contributor for the Winterhawks this season, notching 30 points in 28 games (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Portland Winterhawks defenseman Derrick Pouliot's skills lean towards the offensive side of the game, and that is what he has provided to Team Canada so far at the 2014 World Junior Championship. He and his Canadian teammates have moved on to the semi-finals of this tournament by virtue of their 4-1 win over Switzerland on Thursday.