Photo: Cam Atkinson is one of several Blue Jackets prospects who has seen regular time in the lineup for Columbus during the 2013 NHL season (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)
Welcome to the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. 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.
Photo: Following another productive season at Boston University, Matt Nieto has mad a strong first impression in his AHL debut with Worcester (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks prospect pool continues to get better and better. The 2012-13 season has been a strong one for development, and while there looks to be a gap in high-end skill after top prospect Tomas Hertl, a number of prospects have really played themselves into the limelight and have shown at times an ability to possibly fill that gap.
Photo: Apart from current Sharks Jason Demers and Tommy Wingels, AHL goaltender Harri Sateri is the only other remaining member of San Jose’s 2008 draft class. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The San Jose Sharks went into the 2008 NHL Entry Draft under unfavorable circumstances not having a pick until the end of the fourth round at number 117. Statistics show, the deeper you go into drafts, the harder it is to convert prospects into NHL players. The move to acquire Brian Campbell for a cup push made things very hard at the draft table.
Photo: Harvard forward and San Jose Sharks prospect Colin Blackwell is currently ranked fifth in scoring on the Crimson roster (courtesy of Rich Barnes/Icon SMI)
The 2012-13 season has been a tough one so far for the Harvard Crimson. And with a host of injuries and the loss of four key sophomores earlier in the year, it has made the challenge of climbing out of the ECAC basement that much more difficult. It has also forced players such as sophomore Colin Blackwell to take on expanded or different roles.
Photo: Center Travis Oleksuk is one of the Sharks' 2012 free agent signings that has struggled to make a consistent impact in his rookie season at the AHL level. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Worcester Sharks and San Francisco Bulls probably did not benefit as a whole due to the lockout as much as other AHL and ECHL organizations, but the individual San Jose Sharks prospects on the teams have made tremendous strides so far in the 2012-13 season. Injuries have slowed down development, but generally the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 has shown great improvement in the Shark’s prospect pool thanks in part to these AHL and ECHL players.