According to the insightful minds at Hockey Prospectus, the Chicago Blackhawks are in the top third of the league when it comes to organizational depth. That is very impressive, considering the Hawks just one their second Stanley Cup in the last four seasons, leaving them without the advantage of the highest draft picks. The St. Louis Blues, didn’t impress nearly as much, as they were ranked 30th out of 30 NHL teams.
Organizational depth is considered as a gauge to determine the quality of each team’s minor-league system. The Tampa Bay Lightning were ranked first on the list. This means that they were considered to have the most amount of quality prospective NHL talent, coming up through the minor leagues. The Ligtning have struggled in recent years, and have seeming built up their farm system very well, so if all goes according to plan, they will be back in contention very soon. Like I said before, the Hawks look very comfortable in the 9th place positions. Having been a competitive team for the past 5 seasons or so, the Hawks have done a fine job of keeping the minor-league pipeline active. This will help when as free-agents depart from the team, as a quality minor-leaguer will be able to fill the holes left behind.
The Blues have a very solid team, that has called upon it’s minor-leagues for help a lot, in the past two seasons, as Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Taresenko have become key members of the NHL team. According the Hockey Prospectus, the contributions from the farm system, in recent years, has left the farm barren of an abundance of high-quality prospects.
The picture that the rankings are trying to paint, says that the Hawks will have more longevity to their competitiveness, as the Blues window to be a contender, might be closing much sooner. There is little science, and lots of theory in these rankings, as they are far from certain indicators of the future, but it is the closest thing to a crystal ball, that we are able to utilize. Things could end up turning out much differently, but things are looking up, for the Blackhawks, in their new conference.