Photo: Eric Hartzell is one of several promising goaltending prospects in the Pittsburgh Penguins system. Hartzell was signed as a free agent on April 14th, 2013. (courtesy of Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins front office has shown a preference for selecting mobile, puck-moving defensemen early and often in the NHL Draft. The organization believes puck-moving defensemen hold premium value in the NHL, and by having several with very high pedigree, they are in a position of strength.
Photo: Photo: Jarred Tinordi leads a deep group of defensive prospects for the Montreal Canadiens. Tinordi was selected 22nd overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by HF staff. 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 this ranking meant to represent the state of the prospect pools in the early stages of the 2013-14 season.
Photo: Forward Matia Marcantuoni is one of several Penguins prospects playing for a contract in 2013-14. Marcantuoni was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of only a handful of teams in the NHL who are expected to not just make the playoffs, but compete for the Stanley Cup. Therefore, anything short of an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals will be considered a failure.
Photo: San Jose Sharks prospect Tomas Hertl is making the jump to the NHL in 2013-14 after spending last season in the Czech Extraliga with HC Slavia Praha (courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 31-40. While this group is populated primarily by defensemen, the group is led by Sharks top prospect Tomas Hertl.
Photo: Defenseman Matt Dumba, who is poised to crack Minnesota’s opening night roster, leads the players ranked 41-50 in HF’s Top 50 prospects ranking (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. The lockout-shortened 2012-13 season left a talented pool of eligible prospects, evident already in the bottom group of players.