Power Ranking the Farm Systems of All 30 NHL Teams

James OnuskoContributor IIIJuly 2, 2013

Power Ranking the Farm Systems of All 30 NHL Teams

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    The recent NHL draft was used to re-stock the farm systems of all 30 NHL teams as they prepare for the 2013-14 season.

    The following power rankings are based on three main criteria: the quality of prospects, the organizational depth and the minor league teams’ success in the past three seasons (teams’ records and developing current NHL players).

    Each of these categories will be evaluated as excellent, good, fair or poor. There is also a brief overview of each team’s farm system.

    Players who no longer qualify for the Calder trophy (have played more than 25 NHL games in one previous season) or have played more than 50 games in two previous seasons (my own rule) have been excluded. All drafted players, even those not playing strictly on one of the farm teams, are considered part of the overall minor league system for that team.

    The 30 teams are power ranked in ascending order.

30. New Jersey Devils

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    The New Jersey Devils have met an organizational need by trading for Cory Schneider. The Devils still do not have any elite scorers in their system and need to address this with urgency if they want to return to the heights that fans have enjoyed for the better part of the past 15 seasons.

    They do have limited depth at all positions though, and their defensive prospects are better than average.

    Quality of Prospects: Fair/Poor

    Top Prospect: 1. LW Reid Boucher

    Reid Boucher lacks some size, but he is a scorer. This is what the Devils need desperately at the NHL level and in their system as a whole.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Steve Santini, Maxime Clermont, Artur Gavrus, Stefan Matteau, Mike Sislo, Ben Johnson, Blake Coleman, Jon Merrill, Damon Severson

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Poor

29. Carolina Hurricanes

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    The Carolina Hurricanes added one of the best prospects in the 2013 draft in Elias Lindholm from Sweden. He has all kinds of potential and a great group of centers to model his game after in Carolina.

    The Hurricanes have some solid defence prospects, but like many other teams, lack quality scorers in their system. The Hurricanes are particularly thin at right wing.

    Quality of Prospects: Fair

    Top Prospect: 1. D Ryan Murphy

    Smooth skating Ryan Murphy has all the makings of a top-pairing defenceman. If he’s paired with a defensive-minded partner with size, it could be a great duo.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other top prospects: Jacob Slavin, Trevor Carrick, Victor Rask, Zac Dalpe, Daniel Altshuller, Evgeni Dadonov, Phil Di Giuseppe, Danny Biega, Elias Lindholm

    Minor League Teams Quality: Fair

28. Washington Capitals

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    The Washington Capitals have a few holes in their farm system. They need to add more top defence prospects, and they could use some more talent at the forward positions. They are relatively strong in net. Their 2013 picks, Madison Bowey and Andre Burakowsky in particular, are a good step in addressing these shortcomings.

    They do have one of the best prospects playing outside of the NHL right now in Evgeny Kuznetsov. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the NHL when he joins the Capitals.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. F Evgeny Kuznetsov

    Evgeney Kuznetsov has a dynamic game that features an ability to attack the net with speed. Kuznetsov is an excellent skater.

    Organizational Depth: Fair

    Other Top Prospects: Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, Riley Barber, Chandler Stephenson, Connor Carrick, Thomas Kundratek, Cameron Schilling, Stanislav Galiev, Caleb Herbert

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair

27. San Jose Sharks

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    The San Jose Sharks have some really good depth, although there aren’t many, if any, elite talents.

    Mirco Mueller was their first selection at the draft and he projects to be a top-four defenceman in a few years. The Sharks are deep in goal and have some good role players at varying stages of development.

    Their defence group is average when compared to the rest of the league.

    Quality of Prospects: Fair

    Top Prospect: 1. C Thomas Hertl

    Thomas Hertl has been a standout in the Czech Elite league. He projects to be a top-six forward with the Sharks.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Freddie Hamilton, Mirco Mueller, Harri Sateri, Max Gaede, Matt Tennyson, Chris Tierney, Konrad Abeltshauser, Sebastien Stalberg, Dan O’Regan, Matt Nieto

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair/Poor

26. Montreal Canadiens

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    The Montreal Canadiens had a very good season, much better than predicted by most. They have had some young players have an impact for them at the NHL level and still have a number of very good prospects in the organization. They are solid in goal, and they have some depth and talent on the point.

    They need more sandpaper throughout their system and addressed some of that at the 2013 draft. Their farm teams have not been particularly strong of late, but they are doing an adequate job in helping to develop these young players.

    Quality of Prospects: Good/Fair

    Top Prospect: 1. LW Charles Hudon

    Left winger Charles Hudon is a dynamic forward with great hockey sense. His defensive game is improving but he’s make his money in the offensive zone.

    Organizational Depth: Fair

    Other Top Prospects: Dustin Tokarski, Zach Fucale, Tim Bozon, Louis Leblanc, Christian Thomas, Michael Bournival, Dalton Thrower, Morgan Ellis, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Poor

25. Anaheim Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks have relatively good organizational depth at most positions, although there are no exceptional talents in their system.

    The Norfolk Admirals struggled to score goals this year, and that speaks to the lack of blue-chip talent at the AHL level currently. The system has been a good feeder for the Ducks in recent years, and there is no reason to think this will not continue although there are some holes.

     

    Quality of Prospects: Fair

    Top Prospect: 1. F Devante Smith-Pelly

    Devante Smith-Pelly is a developing talent who can change a game with his size and high-end speed.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other top prospects: John Gibson, Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, Shea Theodore, Max Friberg, Nick Kerdiles, Kevin Roy, Shea Theodore, Peter Holland, Sami Vatanen

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair

24. Calgary Flames

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    The Calgary Flames had one of the better draft days with the selection of some quality prospects, and just as importantly, adding some more depth to the prospect pool.

    The Flames have a number of players that are ready to grow together in the NHL. That bodes well for team chemistry, despite the likely pain in the standings for a few seasons.

    Flames fans should be excited about some of the players that are in the Calgary farm system, despite the Abbotsford Heat and Utah Grizzlies not having much success.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. LW Sven Baertschi

    Sven Baertschi is lightning-quick and loves to handle the puck. He will be given the opportunity to be an impact player in Calgary next season.

    Organizational Depth: Fair

    Other top prospects: Laurent Brossoit, Akim Aliu, Morgan Klimchuk, John Gaudreau, Mark Jankowski, Markus Granlund, Greg Nemisz, Max Reinhart, Sean Monahan

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair

23. Buffalo Sabres

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    The Buffalo Sabres added some excellent prospects at the 2013 draft. Their top two picks, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, should be considered elite prospects in the Sabres organization. The Sabres have exceptional depth on defence and a number of prospects that are on the cusp of being NHL regulars.

    They could use another top goaltending prospect and more elite scorers at all levels in the organization.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Mikhail Grigorenko

    Mikhail Grigorenko has the size and talent to be an excellent NHL pivot in the next few seasons.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other top prospects: Joel Armia, Jake McCabe, Matt Hackett, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Johan Larsson, Brayden McNabb, Daniel Catenacci, Mark Pysyk

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair

22. Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadephia Flyers addressed a gaping hole in their organization by drafting two very good defence prospects at the 2013 draft in Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin.

    They aren’t NHL-ready, but there is a lot of promise here. The Flyers are not deep at center and need to address this in the near future. The Flyers' farm system lacks elite scorers and a goalie that projects as a bona fide NHL starter.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Scott Laughton

    Scott Laughton is a solid two-way center who should be at least a top-six forward if he continues on his current development path.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Anthony Stolarz, Brandon Manning, Shayne Gostisbehere, Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, Mitch Wahl, Taylor Leier, Nick Cousins, Jason Akeson

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair

21. Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks had a strong draft in 2013. They added two top prospects in Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk in the first round. They did lose one of their two top goaltenders, but that situation needed to be resolved. Time will tell if they made the right choice.

    The Canucks have some players that project to be high-end talents in the league but need to add some more two-way players to help bolster depth.

    Horvat and Shinkaruk are two players that will certainly help in this process.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. RW Nicklas Jensen

    Nicklas Jensen has put up good offensive numbers, and the Canucks will need him to do the same at the NHL level.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Bo Horvat, Patrick McNally, Hunter Shinkaruk, Joacim Erikkson, Joseph Labate, Darren Archibald, Alexandre Grenier

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Fair 

20. New York Rangers

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    The New York Rangers have had some good drafts in recent years, and although they didn’t have any high picks this year, they did manage to add some talented young forwards in Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich.

    The Rangers have a lot of talented forwards in the system as well as some defencemen that project to be solid NHLers in a few seasons. While there is no superstar in the mix, the organization is on solid ground.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. LW Chris Kreider

    Chris Kreider is a top prospect not just for the Rangers, but across the league. He has all the tools to be an excellent winger.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Cam Talbot, Jesper Fasth, Danny Kristo, Steven Fogarty, Brady Skjei, Cristoval Nieves, Michael St. Croix, J.T. Miller, Dylan McIlrath

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

19. Phoenix Coyotes

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    The Phoenix Coyotes landed one of the more skilled forwards in the entire draft in Max Domi. The Coyotes are relatively deep at the forward position, although they need to continue to acquire role players in nearly all positions except defence.

    The Coyotes also have a strong group of goalie prospects.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Max Domi

    Max Domi is not the biggest forward, but his skill with the puck makes up for it. He may play on the wing in Phoenix, and with his great attitude, he is likely to succeed at whatever he is asked to do.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Lucas Lessio, Mark Visentin, Mike Lee, Henrik Samuelsson, Andy Miele, David Rundblad, Michael Stone, Laurent Dauphin, Brandon Gormley

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

18. Winnipeg Jets

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    The Winnipeg Jets drafted well this year. Josh Morrissey was a good pick for the Jets. Center Nicolas Petan is a wild card given his small stature, but he led the WHL in scoring last year with 120 points. He can score.

    The Jets have some blue-chip talent at most positions, particularly at center and wing, but more depth is needed on the wing.

    Center Mark Scheifele certainly qualifies as one of the best junior-aged players not playing in the NHL.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Mark Scheifele 

    Mark Scheifele has been a dominant center in the OHL. He has nothing left to prove in junior hockey and expect him to make the jump to the NHL next season.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Jacob Trouba, Jason Gregoire , Connor Hellebucyk, Thomas Kubalik, Adam Lowry, Zach Redmond, Scott Kosmachuk, Eric O’Dell, Lukas Sutter

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

17. Nashville Predators

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    The Nashville Predators jumped at the opportunity to take Seth Jones in the draft. Jones should play in Nashville next year, barring something unforeseen.

    He also becomes the Predators’ top prospect by virtue of his talent. 

    The Predators are deep on the blue line at all levels. They also have some good goaltending prospects. What they don’t have are an abundance of elite forwards in their system, which has been reflected in their goals for over they years.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Seth Jones

    Defenceman Seth Jones has top-pairing potential and could join Shea Weber there next year.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Filip Forsberg, Magnus Hellberg, Jimmy Vesey, Zach Stepan, Mattias Elkholm, Anthony Bitetto, Joonas Rask, Jeremy Smith, Austin Watson

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

16. Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs needed to add some more size the draft and they did just that. Their NHL forwards are tending to the small side, so they need to develop some skilled forwards with size to complement this group in the years ahead.

    The team has really worked at building their team from within after years of neglecting this. Former GM Brian Burke should be credited with beginning this process toward the end of his tenure. The Leafs are set in goal at the NHL level now, but could use some more depth within the organization.

    The only area of concern is a lack of high-end forward talent in the system.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Joe Colborne

    Center Joe Colborne projects to be a dominant NHL player. All that remains is for him to do it now.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Tyler Biggs, Carter Ashton, Matt Finn, Mark Owuya, Josh Leivo, Stuart Percy, Jesse Blacker, Spencer Abbott, Morgan Rielly

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

15. Los Angeles Kings

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    The Los Angeles Kings have developed some very good prospects in the past couple of years.

    Tyler Toffoli is on the verge of being a very good NHL regular. Tanner Pearson and Jean-Francois Berube also have a lot of upside. The Kings have been a hybrid team in that they have a number of players who grew up in other organizations, along with several players who have come up through the Kings’ system.

    The Kings have good organizational depth on defence, and they are deep in net as well, despite the recent trade of Jonathan Bernier.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Tyler Toffoli

    Center Tyler Toffoli has really progressed the last two seasons. He should be a top-six player in Los Angeles for a long time.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Ben Scrivens, Jean-Francois Berube, Linden Vey, Nikolai Prokhorin, Derek Forbort, Nicolas Delauriers, Jordan Weal, Valentin Zykov, Tanner Pearson

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

14. Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning drafted the best winger in the 2013 draft in Jonathan Drouin. He is easily their top prospect. The Lightning have a solid farm system in place, with particular strengths being between the pipes and on defence.

    The one forward position where the Lightning could use some more depth is at center. 

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. F Jonathan Drouin

    Jonathan Drouin could be a threat to win both the Maurice Richard and Art Ross trophies in a few seasons. He has exceptional offensive skill.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Nikita Kucherov, Tanner Richard, Slater Koekkoek, Dylan Blujus, Vladislav Namestnikov, Radko Gudas, Matthew Peca, Andrey Vasilevskiy, Tyler Johnson

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

13. St. Louis Blues

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    The St. Louis Blues are quite deep at all positions, with several players that should be good NHL players in little time.

    It won’t be surprising to see the Blues continue to be one of the better teams in the Western Conference for several seasons if they continue to develop this talent so well. They have a good prospect in Jake Allen who is one of the stronger goaltending prospects in the NHL.

    The Blues picked up William Carrier with a later pick at the 2013 NHL draft, and he may be one of the steals from this year’s class.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. RW Ty Rattie

    Ty Rattie has been one of the better junior players in North America over the past two years and projects to be a top-six forward in short order in the NHL.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent

    Other Top Prospects: William Carrier, Jordan Binnington, Sam Kurker, Yannic Veilleux, Jordan Schmaltz, Cade Fairchild, Dimitrij Jaskin, Max Gardiner, Jake Allen

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

12. Florida Panthers

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    The Florida Panthers added another excellent prospect on draft day in Alexander Barkov.

    Barkov is just 17 years old, but he is now in the top 10 of Florida’s prospects. The Panthers have had a number of top picks over the past decade but haven’t been able to parlay that into regular season or playoff success.

    The Panthers have some good depth at center and on defence, however they lack elite talent on the wing, and in particular, on the right side.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Nick Bjugstad

    Center Nick Bjugstad has all the markings of top-six forward. The Panthers have a number of quality prospects at forward and Bjugstad is the first among many. 

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Quinton Howden, Jacob Markstrom, Zach Hyman, Yaroslav Kosov, Rocco Grimaldi, Mike Matheson, Alex Petrovic, Kyle Rau, Alexander Barkov

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

11. New York Islanders

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    The New York Islanders have one of the most talented groups of defencemen in the NHL, and there are several different types of player in that group. The Islanders also drafted a goaltender that helps to address one area of weakness in the organization. There is a lot of reason for optimism for the Islanders with their NHL talent and with what is on the way.

    The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have been up and down over the past few seasons, but have helped in developing some good NHL talent.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. C Ryan Strome

    Center Ryan Strome is one of the top prospects in the NHL. He should be joining the Islanders next season.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Anders Nilsson, Kirill Kabanov, Ryan Pulock, Brock Nelson, Matt Donovan, Adam Pelech, Calvin de Haan, Ville Pokka, Griffin Reinhart

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

10. Boston Bruins

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    The Boston Bruins are an interesting hybrid in that many of their top skaters are home-grown, but the majority of NHL roster players are not a product of the system.

    The Providence Bruins have been strong in recent years. The Bruins have excellent depth at most positions, although outside of Malcolm Subban, there is not a lot of high level talent.

    The Bruins have a number of top prospects that should challenge for a roster spot next season. 

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Torey Krug

    Defenceman Torey Krug was a more than able replacement due to injury during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. He is skilled and has a high hockey I.Q. 

    Organizational Depth: Excellent

    Other top prospects: Ryan Spooner, Max Chudinov, Malcolm Subban, Jared Knight, Anthony Camara, Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Brian Ferlin

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

9. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the winners at the 2013 NHL draft.

    They picked up a number of promising players in the first two rounds. Of particular note were Alexander Wennberg and Kerby Rychel. Both players have very bright futures and should become key players for the Jackets in the years to come.

    The Blue Jackets are particularly deep on defence and have a handful of players who have just transitioned to the NHL in the past two seasons.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Ryan Murray

    Defenceman Ryan Murray has had some unfortunate injury issues in the past, but still projects as the top prospect with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has a great all-around game and always seems to make the smart play.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent

    Other top prospects: Alexander Wennberg, Maksim Mayorov, Oscar Dansk, T.J. Tynan, Cody Goloubef, Kerby Rychel, Joonas Korpisalo, David Savard, Boone Jenner

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

8. Colorado Avalanche

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    The Colorado Avalanche had the luxury of the first overall pick in the recent NHL draft.

    Selecting Nathan MacKinnon made him their top prospect immediately. That is not the whole story with Colorado though, as they have a relatively strong farm system. There is quality and depth, particularly in goal, at center, and on the point.

    The Avalanche should have a number of players that are NHL-ready relatively soon.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent

    Top Prospect: 1. C Nathan MacKinnon

    Nathan MacKinnon joins a great young cast of forwards in the Mile High City. Look for the Avalanche to jettison one of their centers in the offseason.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent/Good

    Other top prospects: Duncan Siemens, Garrett Meurs, Mike Connolly, Joey Hishon, Stefan Elliott, Chris Bigras, Michael Sgarbossa, Calvin Pickard, Kieran Miller

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

7. Edmonton Oilers

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    The Edmonton Oilers have shown increased interest in their farm system in recent years. They selected 10 prospects at the 2013 draft. Depth in the years ahead seems to be important to the management team. The Oklahoma City Barons are one of the better AHL teams and have been for a few seasons now. The Oilers have some high quality defence prospects now in the fold. What is lacking are elite goaltending prospects and greater talent at center ice. These are key areas that need to be addressed in the next few drafts or via trade.

    Quality of Prospects: Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Oscar Klefbom

    Oscar Klefbom will come to the Oilers training camp with a lot of fanfare. While much of this is warranted, it is important to remember that he may need at least half a season in the AHL to acclimatize to the North American pro game.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent/Good

    Other Top Prospects: Martin Marincin, Darnell Nurse, Mark Arcobello, Tyler Pitlick, Taylor Fedun, David Musil, Martin Gernat, Olivier Roy, Toni Rajala

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Good

6. Ottawa Senators

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    The Ottawa Senators have one of the better minor league systems in the NHL. The Senators have been adding young players over the past three seasons in particular. These prospects have been essential with the injuries that the team has suffered recently.

    The Senators have some very good prospects at all positions with the greatest strengths at center and on defence.

    The Binghamton Senators have been a more than useful springboard for their prospects.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent

    Top Prospect: 1. G Robin Lehner

    Robin Lehner is at or very near the top of the list of NHL prospects in goal. The question is when he will get the chance to show his talents on a regular basis.

    Organizational Depth: Good

    Other Top Prospects: Curtis Lazar, Chris Driedger, Mark Stone, Shane Prince, Nikita Filatov, Jim O’Brien, Andre Petersson, Matt Puempel, Cody Ceci

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Excellent/Good

5. Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Chicago Blackhawks have benefited from having a lot of high picks in the draft.

    The key is that they have used them wisely and added players that turned out to be excellent pros.

    Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook highlight that group. Many of their key components were drafted when the Blackhawks were near the bottom of the league, seven or eight years ago. \

    The Blackhawks picked up some good prospects at the 2013 draft. Outside of elite goaltending prospects, the cupboard is full.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent

    Top 3 Prospects: 1. C Teuvo Teravainen

    Teuvo Teravainen has a lot of skill, although he is not a large player. His numbers in Europe have been strong and bode well for his transition to the NHL.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent

    Other top prospects: Brandon Whitney, Maxim Shalunov, Ben Smith, Terry Broadhurst, Brandon Pirri, Drew LeBlanc, Shawn Lalonde, Jeremy Morin, Antti Raanta

    Minor League Teams’ Quality: Good/Fair

4. Detroit Red Wings

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    The Detroit Red Wings added some size into their system at the draft.Their first pick, Anthony Mantha, had the best goal-scoring numbers in the entire draft, scoring 50 goals last season. Mantha will eventually join one of the best farm systems in the entire NHL.

    The Red Wings have not had many early, first-round picks. They have still managed to add some great prospects that have had time to grow and develop over a number of seasons.

    The Red Wings don’t have a lot of quality depth in goal and still lack some size among their forwards, but otherwise, they have a very strong group of prospects.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Dan DeKeyser

    Defenceman Dan DeKeyser is a mobile defender who has the makings of becoming a top-four defenceman as he adapts to Detroit’s puck-possession game.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent/Good

    Other top prospects: Peter Mrazek, Tomas Tatar, Teemu Pulkkinen, Martin Frk, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist, Calle Jarnkrok

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Excellent

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Outside of left wing, the Pittsburgh Penguins have depth at all positions across their organization. There are a number of young prospects in their system and a few NHL-ready players.

    The Pens are particularly stacked on defence.

    It may be a few years until the next wave of players hits the highest pro level, although Beau Bennett may be ready to join the Penguins as early as next year.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent/Good

    Top Prospect: 1. D Derrick Pouliot

    Derrick Pouliot has the abilities to develop into a top-four defenceman at least, if not a top-pairing defenceman. He isn’t NHL-ready, but his upside is undeniable.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent/Good

    Other Top Prospects: Beau Bennett, Olli Maatta, Tristan Jarry, Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Josh Archibald, Robert Bortuzzo, Teddy Blueger, Scott Wilson.

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Excellent/Good

2. Dallas Stars

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    The Dallas Stars have had a strong AHL affiliate in the Texas Stars with a number of current Dallas Stars having spent time in the system. The Stars have some good offensive prospects along with a lot of big, reasonably mobile defencemen.

    The Stars added Valeri Nichushkin with their first pick at the 2013 draft.

    He is somewhat of a wild card, but if he works out as some expect him to, he will have been a steal at No. 10.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent

    Top Prospect: 1. RW Brett Ritchie

    Right wing Brett Ritchie has been a terror versus most OHL teams he has played against. He was able to dominate like few other players this past season.

    Organizational depth: Excellent/Good

    Other top prospects: Jamie Oleksiak, Alex Chiasson, Valeri Nichushkin, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore, Mike Winther, Joe Morrow, Patrik Nemeth, Jack Campbell

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Excellent

1. Minnesota Wild

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    The Minnesota Wild were not particularly active in the early rounds of this year’s draft, but they are increasingly concentrating on the here and now. They have some excellent prospects in their farm system and continue to integrate players like Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund via their minor league affiliates.

    They also added Nino Niederreiter, who remains a top prospect despite things not working out on Long Island. The Wild have several elite prospects at each position other than right wing, and they are particularly strong on defence.

    Quality of Prospects: Excellent

    Top Prospect: 1. D Mathew Dumba

    Mathew Dumba has the potential to be a top-pairing defenceman and an All-Star in the NHL. He has all the tools to be a dominant defenceman for the Wild.

    Organizational Depth: Excellent

    Other Top Prospects: Tyler Graovac, Johan Gustafsson, Jarod Palmer, Jason Zucker, Zach Phillips, Tyler Cuma, John Draeger, Darcy Kuemper, Nino Niederreiter

    Farm Teams’ Quality: Excellent/Good