PHT Morning Skate: The top 10 prospects that have seen their stock rise in 2017

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–The Hockey News breaks down a list of the top 10 prospects that have seen their stock rise significantly in the last year. At the top of the list is Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov (pictured). Philadelphia’s Philippe Myers and Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway round out the top 3. (The Hockey News)

Eric Staal is closing in on his 1000th game, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Michael Russo spoke to Staal’s parents about their son’s journey from OHL Peterborough to the NHL. “He drove, all by himself. I’ll never forget it. Just happier than heck,” Staal’s father, Henry, said of Eric’s third year in junior. “Seventeen years old, he had his own vehicle. Horn was honkin’, 4 or 5 in the morning, like, ‘I’m gone.’” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

–The NHL’s current playoff format has its share of flaws.  Because the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Capitals have had terrific seasons and they all find themselves in the same division, it means that two of the three best teams in the league will be eliminated after the second round. (Toronto Sun)

–Washington is stacked on defense, which means some players are forced to play less minutes than they’re used to. Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik has seen his ice time go down this season, but he’s willing to accept it for the benefit of his team. “I think you’ve got to realize that there’s only so much ice time to go around. . . . It’s easy for everybody to say their main goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Well, times like this are really good tests to show if that really is important to guys, or if individual accomplishments or minutes are more important.” (Washington Post)

–The ESPN roundtable discussed who they thought were worthy “surprising newcomer(s)” to the Hart Trophy debate. As you’d imagine, Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson were mentioned on more than one occasion. (ESPN)

–The Arizona Coyotes held “Diamondbacks night” on Thursday night. They marked the occasion by wearing these cool Arizona Diamondbacks-themed hockey jerseys during the pre-game warmup: