Photo: Norfolk Admirals goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson was having a strong showing in the 2014 AHL playoffs before getting the call to play for the Ducks in Game 4 of their series against the Los Angeles Kings (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The 2014 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs are in mid-swing and there have been plenty of upsets in the Eastern Conference, which saw all three regular season division champions fall in the first round. While the Western Conference might have taken the spotlight winning most of the league’s awards and honors, there are plenty of Eastern Conference players who continue to show they’re ready to take on a larger role with their respective NHL affiliates next season.
Photo: Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon led all NHL rookies in scoring during the 2013-14 regular season, and even led all NHL scorers during the 2014 NHL playoffs until the Avalanche were eliminated in the first round (courtesy of Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon had a huge second half of the season to pull away from the field in the Calder Trophy race. His performance in the 2014 NHL playoffs was simply the cherry on top of a great rookie season.
Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Wennberg saw his first extended action in Sweden’s top league during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
For the better part of the last 25 years, Sweden has continued to provide the world with some of the best and most exciting forward talent anywhere. That trend has continued in recent years and is testified to in the fact that no European nation has seen as many players drafted in recent years than has Sweden.
Photo: Forward Brian Gibbons was one of several Penguins prospects to see a substantial amount of NHL time due to injuries. Gibbons finished the 2013-14 season with five goals and 12 assists through 41 NHL games. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The 2013-14 season was a good one for many Pittsburgh Penguins prospects. Over 500 man games lost to injury at the NHL level paved the way for several players, such as Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna, and Brian Dumoulin, to make their NHL debuts. Several other prospects, like Josh Archibald, Tristan Jarry, and Matt Murray had breakout seasons and elevated their status within the organization.
Photo: Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is the top NHL rookie in most offensive categories and has totaled 62 points in 79 games (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
The Calder Trophy race heads down the stretch and, while Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat led all rookie scorers in the month of March, Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon has tightened his hold on the lead in the Hockey's Future monthly poll.