Photo: Andrey Vasilevskiy has been very good in his first season of North American hockey, posting a 10-3-5 record in 18 AHL starts. Vasilevskiy even saw several NHL starts in December, filling in for injured starter Ben Bishop. (courtesy of Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Having gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, the Syracuse Crunch are trending upward thanks to a well-stocked Tampa Bay Lightning prospect pool highlighted by some promising goaltenders and depth on the blue line.
Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette has split the 2014-15 season between the AHL and NHL. Paquette was picked in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Even with some of its most promising prospects graduating to NHL ranks in recent years, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to boast one of the league’s most impressive prospect pools.
Photo: Forward Vladislav Namestnikov is amidst a breakout season for the Syracuse Crunch, with 28 points through 24 AHL games. (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
On the outside of the AHL playoff picture as of mid-January, things do not look like they will get any easier for the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thanks in large part to Steven Stamkos' broken leg, among other injuries, a number of Crunch players have been summoned for short term replacement.
Photo: Richard Panik (left), Tyler Johnson (center), and Alex Killorn (right) have been a crucial component of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success in the 2013-14 NHL season. (courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)
Armed with one of the top prospect pools in all of the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning are starting to reap the rewards of good drafting, particularly in the mid-rounds. In the past few years they have added high-ceiling players like Jonathan Drouin and Andrey Vasilevskiy in the first round, whom have been complemented nicely with former mid-round selections like Ondrej Palat, Radko Gudas, and Alex Killorn.
Photo: Forward Cory Conacher has been one of the top rookie forwards in the NHL this season. Conacher was a free agent signing by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a deep and talented affiliate in their AHL squad, the Syracuse Crunch. Several players have filtered through the Crunch recently to make it on the NHL ice with the Lightning, including: Cory Conacher, Alex Killorn, and Richard Panik. Currently, their offensive talent at the professional level is deeper than their defensive talent.