Ranking every NHL team's prospects: Why the Sabres are No. 1

The 2023-24 NHL season is winding down, and lots of attention is turning to the draft. Teams will be adding to their prospect pipelines in June, but some teams added to their pipelines at the deadline and through college free agency. Tomas Hertl, Jake Guentzel, Chris Tanev and Elias Lindholm all returned good prospects to the teams that traded them away.

To qualify as a "prospect" for the purposes of this list, the player must be under 23 years old, not a full-time NHL player -- to allow for players bouncing between levels (Brendan Brisson, Thomas Bordeleau) -- selected in the entry draft, and have his rights owned or signed an entry-level contract as a free agent (Collin Graf). Players who were undrafted and signed to AHL contracts are excluded.

The rankings are based on the sum total value of the prospects in each pool, meaning that some pools with many B- or C-level prospects will be ranked higher than a team with one or two A-level prospects.