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WHICH NHL TEAM HAS THE BEST FORWARD PROSPECTS?

Posted By Corey Krakower On Jul 21 2011 @ 3:13 pm In Around The Rinks,NHL | 5 Comments

In the NHL’s salary cap era, there is one thing that almost every successful team has in common; and that is having at least a few quality young players that are still on entry-level contracts playing in the NHL. Drafting and cultivating prospects has never been as important as it has been over the last 6 seasons. That trend is not slowing down, and fans will continue to see teams promoting their top prospects (especially forwards) at an incredibly fast rate. The reason “especially forwards” was mentioned is because traditionally defensemen and goaltenders need more time to develop, as the adjustment to the pro game is more difficult.

Here is a chart ranking the 30 NHL teams based on the quality of their forward prospects.

RANKING OF NHL TEAMS’ FORWARD PROSPECTS
RANK TEAM
1 FLORIDA PANTHERS
1 – Jonathan Huberdeau
2 – Quinton Howden
3 – Nick Bjugstad
4 – Drew Shore
5 – Garrett Wilson
ANALYSIS: Best group by far. Plenty of depth, speed and scoring.
RECENT GRADUATES: Dadonov,Matthias
2 EDMONTON OILERS
1 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2 – Curtis Hamilton
3 – Anton Lander
4 – Ryan Martindale
5 – Tyler Pitlick
ANALYSIS: Tons of skill. Would be #1 if not for recent grads.
RECENT GRADUATES: Hall, Eberle, Omark, Paajarvi
3 NEW YORK ISLANDERS
1 – Ryan Strome
2 – Nino Niederreiter
3 – Brock Nelson
4 – Casey Cizikas
5 – Anders Lee
ANALYSIS: Strome & Nino could be in the NHL this year.
RECENT GRADUATES: Tavares, Grabner, Martin
4 NEW YORK RANGERS
1 – Chris Kreider
2 – Christian Thomas
3 – Carl Hagelin
4 – JT Miller
5 – Ryan Bourque
ANALYSIS: Kreider and Thomas are projected to be top 6 Fs soon.
RECENT GRADUATES: Anisimov, Stepan, Zuccarello
5 ANAHEIM DUCKS
1 – Kyle Palmieri
2 – Emerson Etem
3 – Peter Holland
4 – Devante Smith-Pelly
5 – Rikard Rackell
ANALYSIS: Top 3 are NHL ready, and Smith-Pelly is not far off.
RECENT GRADUATES: McMillan, Beleskey, Sexton, Bonino
6 ST. LOUIS BLUES
1 – Vladimir Tarasenko
2 – Jaden Schwartz
3 – Phil McRae
4 – Evgeny Grachev
5 – Stefan Della Rovere
ANALYSIS: Tarasenko & Schwartz will be in the NHL in 2012-13.
RECENT GRADUATES: N/A
7 CAROLINA HURRICANES
1 – Zach Boychuk
2 – Zac Dalpe
3 – Drayson Bowman
4 – Chris Terry
5 – Justin Shugg
ANALYSIS: No 1st liners yet, but all 5 can play 2nd/3rd line.
RECENT GRADUATES: Skinner
8 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
1 – Mark McNeil
2 – Jeremy Morin
3 – Kyle Beach
4 – Brandon Pirri
5 – Kevin Hayes
ANALYSIS: Very raw, but tons of potential. Watch out for Morin!
RECENT GRADUATES: Bickell, Kruger, B. Smith
9 MINNESOTA WILD
1 – Mikael Granlund
2 – Charlie Coyle
3 – Zack Phillips
4 – Jason Zucker
5 – Johan Larsson
ANALYSIS: Recent additions of Coyle/Phillips puts them in top 10.
RECENT GRADUATES: N/A
10 VANCOUVER CANUCKS
1 – Cody Hodgson
2 – Jordan Schroeder
3 – Anton Rodin
4 – Bill Sweatt
5 – Nicklas Jensen
ANALYSIS: Hodgson/Schroeder have been dissapointing thus far.
RECENT GRADUATES: N/A
11 BUFFALO SABRES
1 – Zack Kassian
2 – Joel Armia
3 – Luke Adam
4 – Marcus Foligno
5 – Corey Tropp
ANALYSIS: Not highest skill level, but a quality group nonetheless.
RECENT GRADUATES: Ennis, Gerbe
12 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
1 – Brett Connolly
2 – Carter Ashton
3 – Richard Panik
4 – James Wright
5 – Alex Killorn
ANALYSIS: Ashton will be in the NHL soon, Connolly is 1 yr away.
RECENT GRADUATES: Tyrell, B. Jones
13 LOS ANGELES KINGS
1 – Tyler Toffoli
2 – Andrei Loktionov
3 – Brandon Kozun
4 – Linden Vey
5 – Jordan Weal
ANALYSIS: Many wild cards. Toffoli may make the Kings this year.
RECENT GRADUATES: Clifford, Parse, Lewis
14 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
1 – Ryan Johansen
2 – Tomas Kubalik
3 – Cam Atkinson
4 – Maksim Mayorov
5 – Boone Jenner
ANALYSIS: Generous ranking due to Johansen. Not a deep group.
RECENT GRADUATES: Calvert
15 BOSTON BRUINS
1 – Jordan Caron
2 – Ryan Spooner
3 – Jamie Arniel
4 – Zach Hamill
5 – Jared Knight
ANALYSIS: Very underrated group. NHL champs are set for a while.
RECENT GRADUATES: Seguin, Marchand
16 OTTAWA SENATORS
1 – Mika Zibanejad
2 – Jakob Silfverberg
3 – Stefan Noesen
4 – Matt Puempel
5 – Stephane Da Costa
ANALYSIS: Acquired 4 of 5 in the last few months. Early to judge.
RECENT GRADUATES: Regin, Butler, Condra, Greening, Z.Smith
17 DETROIT RED WINGS
1 – Tomas Tatar
2 – Gustav Nyquist
3 – Riley Sheahan
4 – Teemu Pulkkinen
5 – Calle Jarnkrok
ANALYSIS: No big names, but effective players in Detroit’s system.
RECENT GRADUATES: Abdelkader, Mursak
18 COLORADO AVALANCHE
1 – Gabriel Landeskog
2 – Joey Hishon
3 – Ryan Stoa
4 – Mark Olver
5 – Justin Mercier
ANALYSIS: Amazing top 2 in Landeskog/Hishon, but that’s it.
RECENT GRADUATES: Duchene, O’Reilly, Galiardi, Yip
19 WASHINGTON CAPITALS
1 – Evgeny Kuznetsov
2 – Cody Eakin
3 – Stanislav Galiev
4 – Caleb Herbert
5 – Francois Bouchard
ANALYSIS: Same as Avs – top 2 are great, but no depth.
RECENT GRADUATES: Johansson
20 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
1 – Joe Colborne
2 – Greg McKegg
3 – Matt Frattin
4 – Tyler Biggs
5 – Brad Ross
ANALYSIS: Great size, and surprisingly good group of scorers.
RECENT GRADUATES: Kadri, Bozak
21 CALGARY FLAMES
1 – Greg Nemisz
2 – Sven Baertschi
3 – Ryan Howse
4 – Max Reinhart
5 – Mitch Wahl
ANALYSIS: Slowly rebuilding their forward prospect pool.
RECENT GRADUATES: Backlund
22 MONTREAL CANADIENS
1 – Louis Leblanc
2 – Aaron Palushaj
3 – Michael Bournival
4 – Danny Kristo
5 – Brendan Gallagher
ANALYSIS: Bad year for Leblanc. Rest are projected as 3rd liners.
RECENT GRADUATES: Pacioretty, Eller, Desharnais, White
23 WINNIPEG JETS
1 – Mark Scheifele
2 – Jason Gregoire
3 – Carl Klingberg
4 – Spencer Machacek
5 – Eric O’Dell
ANALYSIS: Very little top-end skill in this group past Scheifele.
RECENT GRADUATES: Kane, Burmistrov, Cormier
24 NASHVILLE PREDATORS
1 – Taylor Beck
2 – Austin Watson
3 – Zach Budish
4 – Gabriel Bourque
5 – Michael Latta
ANALYSIS: Low rank due to many recent grads over the past 2 yrs.
RECENT GRADUATES:Wilson, O’Reilly, Spaling, Geoffrion, Halischuk
25 PHOENIX COYOTES
1 – Brett MacLean
2 – Chris Brown
3 – Andy Miele
4 – Viktor Tikohonov
5 – Ethan Werek
ANALYSIS: Constant drafting of D results in a weak forward group.
RECENT GRADUATES: Turris, Boedker
26 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
1 – Sean Couturier
2 – Matt Read
3 – Brendan Ranford
4 – Eric Wellwood
5 – Ben Holmstrom
ANALYSIS: This is what you get when you always trade 1st rd pks.
RECENT GRADUATES: van Riemsdyk, Nodl
27 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
1 – Eric Tangradi
2 – Beau Bennett
3 – Tom Kuhnhackl
4 – Ken Agostino
5 – Ben Hanowski
ANALYSIS: Being a top team year after year has its consequences.
RECENT GRADUATES: Jeffrey, Letestu
28 DALLAS STARS
1 – Scott Glennie
2 – Reilly Smith
3 – Alex Chiasson
4 – Tomas Vincour
5 – Colton Sceviour
ANALYSIS: Besides Glennie, Dallas has little to look forward to.
RECENT GRADUATES: Benn, Wandell
29 NEW JERSEY DEVILS
1 – Adam Henrique
2 – Alexander Vasyunov
3 – Mike Hoeffel
4 – David Wohlberg
5 – Blake Coleman
ANALYSIS: Another low rank due to flurry of recent grads.
RECENT GRADUATES: Josefson, Tedenby, Palmieri, Zharkov
30 SAN JOSE SHARKS
1 – Tommy Wingels
2 – Marek Viedensky
3 – Matt Nieto
4 – Freddie Hamilton
5 – John McCarthy
ANALYSIS: Burns trade killed an already poor group of prospects.
RECENT GRADUATES: Couture, Ferriero

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