Rather than adding anymore to the endless speculation, I thought I'd look and see how our prospects are fairing, in order to give us some more data to judge them by.
First off, Brian Dumoulin of the BC Eagles... 3 goals, 14 assists, +8 in 22 games. Best numbers by a defenseman on the team. Last year he had 33 points in 37 games, so he is about on the same pace. He still looks as promising as ever.
Sticking with the D... Ryan Murphy. Statistically, he looks like crap. 14 points, and only one goal in 23 games. Miles off of last year's pace. Of course he was badly injured earlier in the year, and suffered both rejection by the Canes and Team Canada. Hopefully he can put it back together. It probably bears remembering that he is a very one dimensional player, which could make him an interesting, but not great NHLer. I'd be happy if he makes it to Marek Zidlicky levels, or even MA Bergeron, though I fear he is more likely to be an Andy Delmore. Here is a nice recent article about him, and his bad season this year...
Moving on to the forwards...
Zac Dalpe looked really good in CLT last year, putting up nearly a point-per-game. This year, not so much (13 points in 21 games as of 1/15). His injuries obviously have affected his play. All of this, however, seems to indicate that he is not a lock to end up as a regular Hurricane, let alone the top-six player we need. Maybe, but at 22, he could be approaching his ceiling.
The other Zach, Zach Boychuk, is only a month older than Dalpe, but shows a lot more signs of having hit a ceiling. He was great in CLT last year, but has only 18 points in nearly a season's worth of chances at the NHL level (69 games). He is probably an excellent candidate for a mid-career role redefinition. He might make the NHL if he added a strong defensive element to his game right now. As it is, he is a failed offensive prospect. 22 points in 28 games in CLT right now.
Victor Rask... putting up decent points in the WHL (31 in 36 games). He had an unremarkable WJC tournament, though earned some praise for his play. Still, I'm not sure he has ever done anything to lead us to believe he will be much of an NHLer. Good, sure, but not star material.
Drayson Bowman is slightly off of his praiseworthy AHL scoring pace from last year (14 points in 28 games). His NHL time was not wasted. This guy has future third/fourth line winger written all over him. Definitely a regular next year, assuming we cut some players loose.
Goalies. I am not going to mention Justin Peters, as he is on the Canes roster right now. Mike Murphy, on the other hand, is doing great things in CLT with his .913 save percentage. Definitely NHL backup material.
Anyway, I am in no way convinced that anyone else in our system is going to do much at the NHL level. Realistically, we should only be really confident in Brian Dumoulin. He should become a top-four defenseman. Bowman will be a good bottom-six forward. Mike Murphy can play backup to Ward, and is probably better than Peters. Otherwise, we don't have much help on the way up. Dalpe might yet make it to a top-six NHL level, but I'd put the odds at less than 50-50. Same for Boychuk, but probably more like 20-80 odds. The reality is, especially in the salary cap era, good players don't linger in the AHL. They make the jump young, ala Skinner and Faulk.