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: Winger Ben Hanowski is just one of several talented forward prospects the Penguins have at the NCAA level. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Over the past four seasons the Pittsburgh Penguins organization has made a concerted effort to draft quality defensemen and now boasts one of the deepest groups of defensive prospects in the NHL. Their forward depth, while not as impressive as the defense, has also come a long way and now has quality prospects at every position.
Photo: Yale University forward Ken Agostino has developed into an effective offensive weapon in his collegiate career (courtesy of Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)
After being an undersized player earlier in his career, Ken Agostino is continually learning how to play to his size at Yale, and is becoming one of the top offensive threats in college hockey.
Photo: Defenseman Reid McNeill (PIT) credits former OHL coaches Dale Hawerchuk and Dale Hunter for molding him into an NHL prospect. (CHL Images)
Defenseman Reid McNeill (PIT) was not on many scouting radars as a 15 or 16-year-old. He was not selected in the OHL priority draft and played as a 16-year-old for Lucas High School, located in London, Ontario, then later JrD level hockey for the Lambeth Lancers of the OHA. Then something happened.
Photo: Olli Maatta is one of several Penguins prospects who could see a huge spike in production over the 2012-13 season. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins organization injected their prospect pool with a massive amount of talent at every level this past off-season and will consequentially head into the 2012-13 season with many questions. There will be eight new additions to their minor-league roster, but there will also be many eyes on 2012 first round draft picks Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maata, both of whom recently signed entry-level contracts.