Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
1. John Gibson: Anaheim Ducks
John Gibson's ascent to No. 1 status with the Anaheim Ducks is so certain, the team said goodbye to both Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth by the end of the 2013-14 season.
Gibson started his NHL career perfectly with a shutout in his first-ever game last April against the Vancouver Canucks. He was also perfect when called upon to make his first playoff start against the Los Angeles Kings but ultimately couldn't squeeze out a series win against the eventual Stanley Cup Champions. That's a lot to ask from a raw, then-20-year-old rookie.
With a standout junior and minor league career and a World Junior Championship gold medal from 2013, expect Gibson to dazzle as he takes to the ice for the Ducks this fall for his true rookie season.
2. Jake Allen: St. Louis Blues
During an impressive 15-game injury-relief stretch in 2012-13, Jake Allen announced himself as the St. Louis Blues' goaltender of the future. Trapped behind Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott on the depth chart, Allen spent the entire 2013-14 season with Peoria of the AHL but is finally poised to get a real NHL shot next season.
Soon to turn 24, Allen should have all the seasoning he needs to put his best game forward. Blues fans will be squarely behind him after having been disappointed by the performance of trade-deadline acquisition Ryan Miller.
3. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Tampa Bay Lightning
Or is the Lightning's top goaltending prospect Latvian sensation Kristers Gudlevskis? Either way, Tampa Bay is well-positioned in net if starter Ben Bishop is injured or free-agent signing Evgeni Nabokov shows signs of faltering in his backup role.
After an astonishing performance at the Olympics in Sochi, Gudlevskis stepped up for the Lightning down the stretch of the 2013-14 season while they dealt with Bishop's injury and erratic play from Anders Lindback.
That doesn't change the fact that 2012 first-rounder Vasilevskiy is believed to be the more highly touted prospect. He's a medalist from three IIHF World Junior Championships and backed up Sergei Bobrovsky when Russia took the gold at the 2014 senior world championship, but he will be playing in North America for the first time after two seasons with Ufa of the KHL.
Expect to see Vasilevskiy and Gudlevskis both start the season in the AHL. They'll be battling to be the first call-up when they're needed by the Lightning.
Biographical and statistical information courtesy of NHL.com and HockeyDB.com.