NHL Power Rankings: Ranking Each Team's Minor League Prospects
This slideshow is an evaluation of the talent currently owned by NHL teams.
Unlike a slideshow I released earlier this year, which evaluated how well each team had developed players in the past, this simply evaluates how many top prospects they have in their system.
The amount of prospects at each position, how good those prospects are and how close they are to the NHL level will all be taken into account.
30. San Jose Sharks
Matt Nieto, RW (47th overall, 2011)
Freddie Hamilton, C (129th overall, 2010)
Travis Oleksuk, C (Free agent)
After years of unearthing hidden gems in the draft, the Sharks appear to have lost their touch.
On top of that, in their quest to try to get to their first championship game in franchise history, San Jose has gutted most of their minor league system.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets
Cam Atkinson, RW (157th overall, 2008)
Tim Erixon (Trade with Rangers)
T.J. Tynan, C (66th overall, 2011)
Ryan Murray, D (Second overall, 2012)
Oscar Dansk, G (31st overall, 2012)
David Savard, D (94th overall, 2009)
Matt Calvert, LW (127th overall, 2008)
Boone Jenner, C (37th overall, 2011)
Columbus has a lot of players that could potentially make an impact in the next few years as a result of years and years of top picks.
Unfortunately for the moribund Blue Jackets, few, if any, of these players have the talent it takes turn this franchise’s fortunes around.
28. Vancouver Canucks
Nicklas Jensen, RW (29th overall, 2011)
Eddie Lack, G (Free agent)
Zack Kassian, RW (Trade with Buffalo)
Jordan Schroeder, C (22nd overall, 2009)
The Canucks have been so good for so long that they haven't been able to get much in the draft.
Most of the players in the system right now are going to take a few years before they make an impact at the major league level.
27. Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov, RW (26th overall, 2010)
Dmitri Orlov, D (55th overall, 2009)
The Capitals have built around the draft in the past, but are in a “win now” mode and have called up the guys they want to contribute.
Most of the guys in their systems are projects at best.
26. Philadelphia Flyers
Nick Cousins, C (68th overall, 2011)
Marc-Andre Bourdon, D (67th overall, 2008)
Eric Wellwood, LW (172nd overall, 2009)
The Flyers are built to win right now and for the most part have called up the players they want.
It will take a little time to re-stock the farm system.
25. Winnipeg Jets
Jacob Trouba, D (Ninth overall, 2012)
Mark Scheifele, C (Seventh overall, 2011)
The reason why this the Winnipeg Jets' minor league system is bare is because most of their best young players are already on the big league roster.
24. Calgary Flames
Sven Baertschi, LW (13th overall, 2011)
Max Reinhart, C (64th overall, 2010)
Fans in Calgary rave about Baertschi, and rightfully so, but there’s not much else here other than depth players.
This is a problem for a team with an older core.
23. Colorado Avalanche
Joey Hishon, C (17th overall, 2010)
Stefan Elliott, D (49th overall, 2009)
Duncan Siemens, D (11th overall, 2011)
Tyson Barrie, D (64th overall, 2009)
The Avs have ample depth along the blue line, but they are really lacking talent up front and in net.
This would make sense. Their best young players are forwards (Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog), and they could really use some impact players to keep the puck out of the net.
Right now, they have the defensemen they need, but they really need some goaltending prospects.
22. Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrey Vasilevskiy, G (19th overall, 2012)
Richard Panik, RW (52nd overall, 2009)
Nikita Kucherov, RW (58th overall, 2011)
Cory Conacher, LW (Free agent)
Vladislav Namestnikov, C (27th overall, 2011)
Tyler Johnson, C (Free agent)
The Lightning have plenty of hard-working, physical players along the blue line and speed up front.
The glaring weakness is that the Bolts do not have many skaters with a high upside outside of Namestnikov and Panik.
21. New Jersey Devils
Jon Merrill, D (38th overall, 2010)
Scott Wedgewood, G (84th overall, 2010)
All of the Devils’ best prospects are in goal or along the blue line.
They are really lacking talent at the forward position. If they want scoring in the future, they are going to have to look outside of the system.
20. Pittsburgh Penguins
Beau Bennett, RW (19th overall, 2010)
Joe Morrow, D (23rd overall, 2011)
Simon Despres, D (30th overall, 2009)
Brian Dumoulin, D (51st overall, 2009)
It’s hard to tell who’s going to come out of the Penguins system and make a splash in the NHL.
After years of getting single-digit selections in the draft, Pittsburgh has fallen back and now has to draft players who are projects that need years in the minors.
Bennett and Morrow are the best bets to be NHL mainstays in the future, but the rest have a decent amount of development ahead of them.
19. Dallas Stars
Jack Campbell, G (11th overall, 2010)
Reilly Smith, RW (69th overall, 2009)
Scott Glennie, RW (Eighth overall, 2009)
Alex Chiasson, RW (38th overall, 2009)
Philip Larson, D (149th overall, 2008)
Jamie Oleksiak, D (14th overall, 2011)
The Stars are a little caught in the middle.
They are trying to make the playoffs, but haven’t quite done that yet. At the same time, they have been good enough lately where they don’t have a lot of potential superstars in the system.
What they are going to find is that they’ll be able to call up a lot of large defensemen. They'll have enough depth that they can include prospects in trades.
The problem is that they don’t have any skaters that are going to make a major impact in the league in the near future.
18. Buffalo Sabres
Joel Armia, C (16th overall, 2011)
Mark Pysyk, D (23rd overall, 2010)
Mikhail Grigorenko, C (12th overall, 2012)
Zemgus Girgensons, C (14th overall, 2012)
The Sabres don’t have many hyper-talented prospects in the system, but their depth is among the best in the league.
17. Carolina Hurricanes
Victor Rask, C (42nd overall, 2011)
Ryan Murphy, D (12th overall, 2011)
Zac Dalpe, C (45th overall, 2008)
The reason this system lacks depth is because Carolina is such a young team, and most of their best prospects from a few years ago are already on the team.
The Canes have depth on defense and a few solid centers, but after that it’s pretty suspect. Rask and Murphy look like the real deal, but after that, it's anyone’s guess with most of the other prospects.
16. New York Rangers
Chris Kreider, LW (19th overall, 2009)
J.T. Miller, RW (15th overall, 2011)
Christian Thomas, RW (40th overall, 2010)
Dylan McIlrath, D (10th overall, 2010)
Hockey fans are quick to note that Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and now Rick Nash came from outside of the system, but there are many young, homegrown players that are currently making an impact for the Blueshirts.
New York still has some skill in the system, but many of their top prospects have already made the team or been traded.
15. Los Angeles Kings
Tyler Toffoli, RW (47th overall, 2010)
Slava Voynov, D (32nd overall, 2008)
Andrei Loktionov, C (123rd overall, 2008)
The Kings turned their fortunes around by building through the draft.
Although the core in L.A. is young and capable of winning, many of their young players are now in a purple sweater because it has cleaned out much of the minor league system.
Having said that, there are still promising players like Toffoli remaining in the minors.
14. Phoenix Coyotes
Brandon Gormley, D (13th overall, 2010)
David Rundblad, D (Trade with Ottawa)
Connor Murphy, D (20th overall, 2011)
Gormley is the only superstar prospect in the system, but the Coyotes have a lot of players that are lightning fast and as gritty as sandpaper.
The question is that after you get through a few of the high-end guys, whether or not there will be enough third or fourth line players to fill out the roster.
13. Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, D (Fifth overall, 2012)
Nazem Kadri, C (Seventh overall, 2009)
Jussi Rynnas, G (Free agent)
Joe Colborne, C (Trade with Boston)
Jesse Blacker, D (58th overall, 2009)
The Leafs have a lot of depth in their minor league system, but they do not have any blue chippers outside of Rielly.
This means they will probably use their prospects to fill out the roster, but it is unlikely Toronto will develop a bona fide superstar scorer or stalwart goaltender in the near future.
12. Montreal Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk, C (Third overall, 2012)
Sebastian Collberg, RW (33rd overall, 2012)
Nathan Beaulieu, D (17th overall, 2011)
Danny Kristo, RW (56th overall, 2008)
Brendan Gallagher, RW (147th overall, 2010)
Charles Hudon, LW (122nd overall, 2012)
Tim Bozon, LW (64th overall, 2012)
Louis Leblanc, C (18th overall, 2009)
Jarred Tinordi, D (22nd overall, 2010)
Montreal has a glut of prospects, and many of them should go on to become impact players in the NHL. Many of the players in the Canadiens' system are among the most talented in the league.
The problem is that some of that talent has not translated into production, or at least projected talent, at the big-league level.
Furthermore, this team is really lacking at center after Galchenyuk and Leblanc and has virtually no goaltending prospects.
11. Boston Bruins
Dougie Hamilton, D (Ninth overall, 2011)
Alexander Khokhlachev, C (40th overall, 2011)
Ryan Spooner, LW (45th overall, 2010)
Malcolm Subban, G (24th overall, 2012)
Hamilton, Khokhlachev and Spooner are three of the best prospects in the league right now.
After that, there’s a big drop, though. It’s unlikely that many of the players currently under control of the Bruins will go on to be mainstays in the NHL.
10. Detroit Red Wings
Brendan Smith, D (27th overall, 2007)
Gustav Nyquist, LW (121st overall, 2008)
Teemu Pulkkinen, RW (111th overall, 2010)
Tomas Jurco, RW (35st overall, 2011)
Tomas Tatar, LW (60th overall, 2009)
Calle Jarnkrok, C (51st overall, 2010)
The Red Wings could probably put you or me in a red sweater and we’d go out and produce.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Detroit has become the NHL’s flagship franchise by getting value in the draft and turning overlooked prospects into superstars.
As the Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom era comes to a close, the Wings will be relying on more and more prospects to fill holes on the roster.
Right now, it looks like Nyquist and Smith are the best bet to become superstars in the near future.
9. Nashville Predators
Magnus Hellberg, G (38th overall, 2011)
Zach Budish, RW (41st overall, 2009)
Taylor Beck, LW (70th overall, 2009)
Jonathon Blum, D (23rd overall, 2007)
Ryan Ellis, D (11th overall, 2009)
Nashville tends to fill out their roster with players from the minors rather than with free agents or trade acquisition.
This means that they tend to get the most out of their players, but some lack the ceiling they need to make a serious impact in the NHL.
The Preds tend to develop goaltenders well, and they have a couple of prospects at that position and they have a glut of defensemen, but few (if any) of the players they have drafted stand any chance to be a volume scorer at the highest level.
8. Chicago Blackhawks
Teuvo Teravainen, LW (18th overall, 2012)
Brandon Saad, LW (43rd overall, 2011)
Mark McNeill, C (18th overall, 2011)
Dylan Olsen, D (28th overall, 2009)
Chicago has built its team into a contender through the draft and has one of the strongest prospect pools in hockey.
Every position has a player that could make an impact down the line except at goaltender, where the Blackhawks are particularly weak.
7. St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (16th overall, 2010)
Jaden Schwartz, C (14th overall, 2010)
Jake Allen, G (34th overall, 2008)
Ty Rattie, RW (32nd overall, 2011)
Philip McRae, C (33rd overall, 2008)
Tarasenko is one of the best prospects in the minors right now, and Schwartz is not far behind him.
After that, it looks like there is talent up the middle and on the blue line, but a lot of uncertainty elsewhere. To be fair, that may be because many of their young players are currently playing on the major league roster.
6. Ottawa Senators
Mika Zibanejad, C (Sixth overall, 2011)
Jakob Silfverberg, RW (39th overall, 2000_
Robin Lehner, G (46th overall, 2009)
Matt Puempel, LW (24th overall, 2011)
Shane Prince, LW (61st overall, 2011)
People forget that the Senators were kind of in rebuilding mode because of their playoff appearance last year, but this team is still relying on prospects to become a contender in the future.
The cupboards are stock full of left wings and centers, but this team really needs goaltenders and defensemen.
That would make sense, of course, as the Senators are typically an offensive-minded club that has trouble keeping the puck out of their own net.
5. New York Islanders
Ryan Strome, C (Fifth overall, 2011)
Griffin Reinhart, D (Fourth overall, 2012)
Nino Niederreiter, LW (Fifth overall, 2010)
Anders Lee, C (152nd overall, 2009)
Aaron Ness, D (40th overall, 2008)
A move to Brooklyn means the Islanders are here to stay. A quick glimpse in Bridgeport and in the CHL will tell you that the Brooklyn version of this club should be more competitive than the latter years on the Island.
Strome, Reinhart and Niederreiter are the three-headed monster when it comes to Islanders prospects, and there are plenty of other players in the system that may be overlooked now.
There is a glaring absence of goal-scorers, however, which is something that must be addressed in years to come.
4. Anaheim Ducks
Emerson Etem, RW (29th overall, 2010)
Kyle Palmieri, RW (26th overall, 2009)
Peter Holland, C (15th overall, 2009)
For years, the Ducks have had some of the best players in the league on their top line and playing on the top defensive pairing, but have lacked the depth they need to make a splash in the playoffs.
That depth will come from the minor league system, and it starts with guys like Palmieri, Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly that have all spent time in an Anaheim uniform.
Anaheim has depth all over the board, but Palmieri and Etem are far and away its best prospects. After that, there are a lot of question marks as to whether the rest of the crew will become impact players in the NHL.
3. Edmonton Oilers
Nail Yakupov, RW (1st overall, 2012)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (1st overall, 2011)
Martin Marincin, D (46th overall, 2010)
Justin Schultz, D (Free agent)
Oscar Klefbom, D (19th overall, 2011)
Tyler Bunz, G (121st overall, 2010)
Tobias Rieder, RW (114th overall, 2011)
Teemu Hartikainen, LW (163rd overall, 2008)
David Musil, D (31st overall, 2011)
Martin Gernat, D (122nd overall, 2011)
Edmonton has arguably the best prospect in the league in Yakupov. If you want to count Nugent-Hopkins as a prospect still, then the Oilers have the top two. He should complement its many other first-round picks Edmonton has selected over the years.
The Oil are stacked on defense and have depth at just about every position.
A dearth of high-end centers is this club’s only weakness, and many of their top draft picks are already in the league, which makes it hard to consider them prospects still.
2. Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau, C (Third overall, 2011)
Rocco Grimaldi, C (33rd overall, 2011)
Jacob Markstrom, G (31st overall, 2008)
Nick Bjugstad, C (19th overall, 2010)
Quinton Howden, LW (25th overall, 2010)
The Panthers have a bright future ahead of them.
They are stacked at center and defense, have a potential full-time goaltender in Markstrom and really are not lacking anywhere except for possibly the right wing.
The biggest question for them is whether they have enough high-end offensive defensemen or not, and there is some concern over the ceiling of some of their wingers.
1. Minnesota Wild
Mikael Granlund, C (Ninth overall, 2010)
Charlie Coyle, RW (Trade with San Jose)
Jonas Brodin, D (10th overall, 2011)
Losing Brodin and Granlund hurts, but, generally, the lockout isn’t hurting the Wild as much as it is for other teams.
Many of their prospects are on the payroll, but may not be ready for NHL play. Having them light up the weaker, but prospect saturated AHL may help their development down the line.
This team is lacking depth at right wing behind Coyle and doesn’t really have any superstars at left wing, but otherwise this team’s pipeline is pretty stacked.