Photo: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (left) and forwards Sam Reinhart (center) and Sam Bennett (right) will learn where they begin their professional careers at the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images and Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Now that the Los Angeles Kings have hoisted their second Stanley Cup in three years, the hockey world can now focus on the 2014 NHL Draft that will take place on June 27th and 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Goaltender Tristan Jarry was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins head into the 2014 NHL Draft under new management. Jim Rutherford, who retired from the Carolina Hurricanes general manager position in late April, was hired in early June to take the same job in Pittsburgh. Head coach Dan Bylsma was fired the same day Rutherford was hired, and while the Penguins have yet to find a replacement, Rutherford is optimistic a head coach will be in place by the start of free agency on July 1st.
Photo: Derrick Pouliot led the WHL in points from a defenseman with five goals and 27 assists. Pouliot and the Portland Winterhawks almost won their second consecutive WHL championship, losing in seven games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
After failing to make the Stanley Cup finals for a fifth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired longtime general manager Ray Shero. The organization named Shero's former assistant, Jason Botterill, as the interim GM while the organization seeks a permanent replacement. However, it is not all bad news on the playoff front for the Penguins organization. Several prospects, namely Derrick Pouliot and Tristan Jarry, had long and productive postseasons, which should benefit their development down the road.
Photo: Aleksander Barkov leads the Florida system. The rookie center scored eight goals and 24 points in 54 NHL games before suffering a knee injury at the Olympics (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Below is the 11-30 segment of the Hockey's Future 2014 Spring NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by members of the HF staff. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking. Each team’s Fall ranking is listed in parenthesis next to their Spring ranking.
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.