Photo: Derrick Pouliot led the WHL in points from a defenseman with five goals and 27 assists. Pouliot and the Portland Winterhawks almost won their second consecutive WHL championship, losing in seven games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
After failing to make the Stanley Cup finals for a fifth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired longtime general manager Ray Shero. The organization named Shero's former assistant, Jason Botterill, as the interim GM while the organization seeks a permanent replacement. However, it is not all bad news on the playoff front for the Penguins organization. Several prospects, namely Derrick Pouliot and Tristan Jarry, had long and productive postseasons, which should benefit their development down the road.
Photo: Forward Brian Gibbons was one of several Penguins prospects to see a substantial amount of NHL time due to injuries. Gibbons finished the 2013-14 season with five goals and 12 assists through 41 NHL games. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The 2013-14 season was a good one for many Pittsburgh Penguins prospects. Over 500 man games lost to injury at the NHL level paved the way for several players, such as Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna, and Brian Dumoulin, to make their NHL debuts. Several other prospects, like Josh Archibald, Tristan Jarry, and Matt Murray had breakout seasons and elevated their status within the organization.
Photo: Olli Maatta has been one of the top young defensemen in the NHL this season, with seven goals and 18 assists through 58 games. Maatta also helped Finland win the bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the NHL's Eastern Conference with 40 wins and 84 points despite amassing over 350 man-games lost to injury. The team has suffered major injuries at every position and at one point were missing four of their top-six defensemen, two of their top-six forwards, and their backup goaltender.
Photo: Guelph winger Jason Dickinson has been a standout at both ends of the ice for the Storm. The Dallas Stars draft pick registered nine assists in his last five games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Welcome to the January 2014 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind.
Photo: Brian Dumoulin is one of many talented young defensemen in the Penguins minor-league system. Dumoulin made his NHL debut on December 14th and played in six games before returning to the AHL. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty)
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently lead the NHL in man games lost to injury and at one point were missing their entire top-four defensive unit. The team has not missed a beat, however, and currently leads the NHL's Eastern Conference with 63 points and 31 wins.