Photo: Forward Kerby Rychel was one of three forwards the Columbus Blue Jackets selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of CHL Images)
For the first time since 2009 the Columbus Blue Jackets had a berth in the NHL playoffs. Their time, however, was short lived, as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Photo: Yale forward John Hayden, #21 right, got off to a slow start in 2013-14, but doubled his freshman year point total with eight points in the final nine games of the season (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks had several prospects make an impact at the NHL level in 2013-14. Those players, along with others that stood out in the CHL, NCAA, and international levels, are featured below in this season’s prospect awards.
Photo: Forward Sam Carrick was a big part of the Toronto Marlies postseason success in 2014, posting five goals and four assists in 14 games. (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
While the Toronto Maple Leafs may have underachieved by not making the NHL playoffs in 2013-14 season, their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies, completed a deep run in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. In addition, all seven of their CHL prospects made it to their respective league playoffs, including three who went on to play in the 2014 Memorial Cup.
Photo: Kingston Frontenacs center and 2014 prospect Sam Bennett, shown here taking part in the 2014 NHL Combine, is ranked fourth overall for the 2014 NHL Draft by ISS Hockey (courtesy of Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
There is varied opinions as to which player is the top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. Some NHL scouts feel that Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad is the top player by a tiny margin, while the independent scouting service ISS Hockey ranked Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart as their top prospect. But NHL Central Scouting hasn't wavered in their belief that Kingston Frontenacs center Sam Bennett is the best of this year's crop.
Photo: Goaltender Spencer Martin, selected 63rd overall in 2013, played the most minutes in the OHL in 2013-14 with 64 appearances for the Mississauga Steelheads (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The rejuvenated Colorado Avalanche franchise took the NHL by surprise this past season and defied all expectations by finishing at the top of the Western Conference’s tough Central Division.