With the NHL season around the corner, NHL teams are evaluating what they have from a prospect standpoint. Here's a look at each Pacific Division team's prospect pool heading into the 2018-19 NHL season, including the top players in each system.
Some ground rules:
• Players listed as "A" prospects project more comfortably into impact roles -- that is, players who will fit into top scoring lines or top-four defenses and goalies with starter potential. "B" prospects are players who project comfortably as everyday NHL players but don't project as comfortably to make a big impact. That's not to say the B prospects can't develop into larger roles in the future; it's just what I see for them for right now.
• Players not listed simply didn't meet the very high threshold set by the A and B parameters. That doesn't mean I don't think they'll make it or that they can't develop into better prospects. I just set a high bar for the players included in this section.
• Players are considered prospects until they've lost rookie status (using the Calder Trophy eligibility threshold).
• I also have listed one prospect for each team who I think is most likely to help the NHL roster this season, along with one "breakout prospect" who I think could take the biggest step forward this season in his development.
Here's a look at the Pacific Division.
I'm not sure the Ducks get talked about enough for the quality of their drafting over the years. They have far more hits than misses, and then they have those picks that work out far better than they even probably anticipated. Specifically, former fifth-round pick Terry has developed into an impressive prospect over three years at the University of Denver. He also earned a spot on the U.S. Men's Olympic Team and had five assists in the tournament. That provides a big boost to a system that has some quality elsewhere.