Photo: Defenseman Alex Lepkowski had a strong playoff run with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. The 20-year-old was a defensive mainstay for the Colts, who finished one win away from a berth in the 2013 Memorial Cup. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL images)
After finishing last in the Northeast Division for the first time since 2004 and missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Buffalo Sabres are hitting the reset button. The first move was saying goodbye to head coach Lindy Ruff after 1,165 games behind the bench, then shipping captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild for two prospects and two picks.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Makarov went 15-0 in the month of February. Makarov was signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent in 2012. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov (BUF) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for February. The undrafted Russian goaltender rocked the WHL last month, posting a 15-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Photo: Mikhail Grigorenko remains the top prospect for the Buffalo Sabres. Drafted 12th overall in 2012, Grigorenko has played 17 games in the NHL this season. (courtesy of Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
The Buffalo Sabres prospect pool is in a state of transition, with many of their top prospects, such as Mikhail Grigorenko and Marcus Foligno, now contributing to the NHL roster. Many of the Sabres other prospects, such as Andrey Makarov and Daniel Catenacci, are dominating their respective competition levels and appear poised to move on to the professional level next year. In general, the Sabres have good depth at every position, though they are deepest at center and on defense.
Photo: Portland Winterhawks goaltender and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth has his team in the hunt for another run to the WHL Championship (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
For purposes of this list, we assessed potential as NHL prospects using the criteria whereby we ranked only NHL drafted or signed goalies currently playing in the WHL.
Photo: Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin was not a standout for his country at the 2013 WJC, but he did acquit himself well in his first appearance at the U-20 event (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Team Russia's bronze medal can be deemed as a good result on home soil, though not the result that was hoped for at the 2013 World Junior Championship. They surrendered to Sweden in the semifinals in the shoot-out, but the win over Canada in the bronze medal game surely cheered up the home crowd.