While the NHL postseason is in high drive, most other leagues have wrapped up and plenty of top prospects have finished out their seasons. During the past nine months there have been notable prospects who have made significant strides forward in their development. So as teams prepare to add to their rosters with the upcoming NHL draft and free agency, some may already have prospects in their pipeline ready to make a jump next season.
Based on my observations and discussions with industry sources, here are some of the notable prospects who made some of the biggest improvements this season. As a note, this doesn't include players who got regular NHL playing time. That's why, for example, a player like Senators G Robin Lehner is featured but Avalanche D Tyson Barrie is not.
W Riley Barber, Washington Capitals (Miami University-NCAA): Barber was the Capitals' sixth-round pick in 2012 and elevated his prospect stock significantly this season. He was a CCHA First Team All-Star as a freshman and got the conference's final Rookie of the Year award. Barber did everything for Miami, logging tough minutes and generating a lot of offense. He also exhibited some of his offensive tools for Team USA in their gold-medal effort in the World Junior Championships. One season after being drafted, Barber looks like a top-45 selection, as opposed to a sixth-rounder.