A new generation of NHL prospects is prepared to take over the hockey world in the coming decade.
Players from the top tiers of the every recent draft class are waiting in the wings, poised to explode into superstardom as soon as the opportunity arises.
And for most, that opportunity could be just around the corner—many current franchise icons may soon be yielding to an heir.
After all, the league's defending top scorer, Martin St. Louis, is 38, and the league's second-ranked active career scorer, Teemu Selanne, is 43. Moreover, a number of other star players are also approaching retirement age, from Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall to San Jose's Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle to New Jersey's Patrik Elias and Martin Brodeur.
Which highly talented youngsters could replace some of those aging cornerstones in the coming years? We point out five top NHL prospects on track to do so on the coming slides.