If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”
Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»
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»
Few nations take as much pride in their national hockey teams — whether at the men’s level or in junior play — as does Finland. After a disappointing seventh-place finish in Canada last year, Suomi is hoping to challenge for the gold medal when it hosts the 2016 World Junior Championship. Read more»