Last spring, Team Sweden went to Sochi, Russia feeling like a gold medal candidate. After two silver medals in a row and with a line-up chock full of kids who eventually heard their names called at the 2013 NHL Draft, Sweden sent a team into play that didn’t have to hide from anyone.
On the eve of the NHL Draft Lottery, ISS Hockey has released their April ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft. And, as a result of some strong playoff performances by a pair of players, there has been some re-shuffling at the top of the order since the March edition of this list.
With the arrival of Henrik Lundqvist in the NHL back in the 2005-06 season, the NHL seen an influx of Swedish goaltenders being drafted or signed to professional contracts and brought over to North America at a rate not seen before.
The top six prospects from last month's rankings are the same six players holding down those slots in this month's list. And in fact, the players are ranked exactly as they were in January, so the ISS view of the draft's top prospects seems to be more settled as the 2013-14 regular season heads towards its conclusion.
You can judge a fine wine by its vintage. For the next generation of NHL goaltenders, the second and third round of 2012 was a particularly fine year. The top five NHL-drafted netminders currently playing in the OHL were drafted within 52 picks of one another, and all are currently playing key roles in the playoff fortunes of their respective squads.