While the Florida Panthers’ farm system put up a good fight coming in at No. 2, Hockey’s Future placed the Minnesota Wild’s promising prospects first overall in its fall team rankings on Dec. 7.
Potential Wild stars of the future such as Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin made the difference in what the site called a very tight race; the Panthers had been at the top of the site’s heap for quite some time.
Hockey’s Future listed Minnesota’s strengths:
The Minnesota Wild have spent several years rebuilding their system and now boast one of the deepest, most talented group of prospects in the NHL. Leading their system is potential star Mikael Granlund. Behind Granlund there are a multitude of talented, offensively minded forwards that includes Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, and Jason Zucker. They also have a very talented group of two-way forwards that includes Johan Larsson, Brett Bulmer, and Erik Haula. Leading the defense are puck-moving defensemen Jonas Brodin and Mathew Dumba. The Wild also have very good goaltending prospects in Matt Hackett and Darcy Kuemper.
The Edmonton Oilers’ system came in close at third, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the team’s slew of recent high draft picks – particularly nabbing the No. 1 pick in the last three drafts.
Here is a list of the remaining top 10 teams (in order): the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings.
On the other hand, here are the bottom five farm systems according to Hockey’s Future:
26. Vancouver Canucks
27. New Jersey Devils
28. Colorado Avalanche
29. Winnipeg Jets
30. Philadelphia Flyers
The popular prospect site explains the Flyers’ struggles by citing the system’s lack of top-four defensemen, offensive upside among forwards and quality goaltending.
Time will tell if teams like the Wild, Panthers and Oilers can develop their prospects and lower-ranked organizations can overcame their (perceived) deficiencies.
(H/T to the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika.)