The Tampa Bay Lightning have had standout performances from a number of prospects this season both at the pro and junior levels. In the CHL, recent draftees Dennis Yan, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Mitchell Stephens all had impressive campaigns. The organization also got contributions in Tampa Bay from players like Nikita Nesterov – who graduated from prospect status – as well as arriving talents Slater Koekkoek and Joel Vermin.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have primarily gone to the CHL in making draft selections over the past two drafts. 12 of the team’s 16 picks were taken from the top junior league in Canada, two were drafted out of Europe (though one is now playing in the CHL) and while the other two players, Kris Oldham and Ryan Zuhlsdorf, had commitments to NCAA schools, so they will not join the collegiate ranks until next season.
Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman has maintained a fine balance between keeping a competitive team on the ice with Stanley Cup aspirations, while still having a strong prospect group. The team’s top five scorers were all drafted and developed in-house and there’s a wave of prospects in Syracuse of the AHL that could be ready to fill voids left by departing free agents next season. Read more»
The Tampa Bay Lightning‘s prospect pool has maintained good health despite the continual graduation of top-notch prospects. A number of close-to-ready prospects played small roles with the team last season, while others like Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat emerged as top-six forwards. Players like Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov, still considered prospects, are expected to make the leap this season, but there’s still quality and quantity at other levels. Read more»
The Tampa Bay Lightning have done a tremendous job at drafting and developing since Steve Yzerman took over the general manager position in 2010. The team has more hits than misses in the early rounds and has found quality late-round players that have since filled significant roles with the team. Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov are two that immediately come to mind and both players were selected in 2011, the first draft that Yzerman and his staff had a full year to prepare for. It might also end up as the team’s best in the past decade-plus. Read more»