Photo: A pair of 2014 NHL Draft first round selections, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander and Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kasperi Kapanen, highlight the prospects taking part in the 2014 Leafs Prospect Tournament in London, ON (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images/Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
While the Traverse City Prospects Tournament is the most heralded NHL prospects gathering, it is not the only one taking place over the course of the next few days. Over in London, ON, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be holding their annual prospects confab that includes players from four NHL teams – the Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins. Read more»
Photo: Forward Josh Leivo is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who are expected to take the next step in their development. Leivo was a third round pick in 2011. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.
Photo: William Nylander was one of five forwards the Toronto Maple Leafs selected in the 2014 NHL Draft. Toronto drafted Nylander eighth overall. (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ director of amateur scouting, Dave Morrison, used the 2014 NHL Draft to select players with a strong competitive demeanor and good offensive upside.
Photo: The Buffalo Sabres added to their already deep draft pool with nine selections at the 2014 NHL Draft, including first round pick Sam Reinhart (L) and second round selection Brandon Lemieux (R) (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL's Western Conference currently has the bragging rights to league supremacy as a a result of the Los Angeles Kings five-game Stanley Cup final win over the New York Rangers. While the results from the 2014 NHL Draft may not alter the current lock the West has on the NHL's most prized trophy, at least one team in the Eastern Conference might be offering a ray of hope for the future.
Photo: Plymouth Whalers goaltender and former Belle Tire player Alex Nedeljkovic was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes (courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It's no secret that youth hockey in the United States has made great strides the past few decades.
Players from more geographical locations continue to appear on the rosters of major junior teams in Canada, as well as USHL and NAHL clubs in the U.S. The National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI and the squads at the northeastern private schools and NCAA college teams also have more American players than ever.