Photo: Frolunda Indians forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Wennberg saw his first extended action in Sweden’s top league during the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
For the better part of the last 25 years, Sweden has continued to provide the world with some of the best and most exciting forward talent anywhere. That trend has continued in recent years and is testified to in the fact that no European nation has seen as many players drafted in recent years than has Sweden.
Photo: Forward Teemu Hartikainen was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade on January 31st, 2014. Hartikainen spent the 2013-14 season in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa. (courtesy of ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO/AFP/Getty Images)
For the greater part of the last decade, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been reluctant to draft outside of the CHL in the first round. Sure, they selected NCAA-bound Tyler Biggs in 2011, but just a season later he was playing for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.
Photo: Erie Otters forward and Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky has had a smooth transition to the North American game, notching 87 points in 57 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The top 10 NHL-drafted wingers currently playing in the OHL aren’t overly large (a couple of notable exceptions, of course), but this year’s crop represents a collection of players who generally are solid defensively (or at least have shown that capability when they put their minds to it), and have the hands to chip in once in a while.
Photo: Defenseman Martin Marincin has had a solid 2013-14 season split between the AHL and NHL. Marincin was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Spring edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. This group features several prospects on the verge of cracking an NHL roster on a full-time basis, as well as more recent draft picks who are finding breakout success in 2013-14.
Photo: Val-d’Or Foreurs goaltender and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau was dealt from the Charlottetown Islanders to the Foreurs in late December, with Bibeau assuming the starting role with his new club (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years…"
Although the QMJHL is a long way from its 1990's heyday, when it regularly knocked out similar junior leagues when it came to the development of NHL goaltending prospects, the league currently boasts nine netminders who have been drafted or signed by NHL clubs. This number was bolstered by a bumper crop of five current QMJHL goalies drafted in the 2013 NHL Draft.