The Florida Panthers AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, finished the 2014-15 season with a 45-23-7-1 record, which was good enough for first place in the West Division. However, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs. It was a team that relied heavily on veterans like Bobby Butler, Mark Mancari, Shane O’Brien and Brett Olson, while prospects Connor Brickley and Rocco Grimaldi made swift progression throughout the season. Read more»
Less than a year ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in an unenviable place—the prospect cupboard was bare, the AHL affiliate lacked star power, and the big club was in a downward spiral. This year’s version of the Maple Leafs doesn’t inspire much confidence, but the future looks bright thanks to a drastic overhaul and a newfound commitment to drafting and development. Read more»
The Florida Panthers have been fortunate—or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it—enough to draft high in the recent NHL drafts. Players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov have quickly made the leap to the NHL, leaving the organization with few high-profile prospects, outside of recent first-round pick Lawson Crouse, who was returned to junior. Yet, the Panthers have strong organizational depth, particularly at left wing and defense. Most wingers are capable of playing both wings, but the fact that the Panthers have just three primary right wing prospects is a bit concerning. Read more»
For a team that has drilled a message of patience, new Toronto Maple Leafs management has been able to restock the prospect cupboard rather quickly. Players with high-end skill successfully acquired through trade, via the draft and by signing undrafted free agents. Equally positive news was that a majority of the top prospects already in the Maple Leafs system metor exceeded expectations in 2014-15.