Photo: Forward Jonathan Drouin should be one of the top NHL rookies in 2014-15. Drouin was the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Despite the fact the team graduated a large number of prospects last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s system remains flush with high-end prospects.
Photo: Winger Jonathan Drouin had a standout season in the QMJHL, managing 108 points in only 46 games. Drouin was selected third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Despite a first round playoff exit to the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has to be feeling pretty good about the position the organization is in right now. The Lightning finished a surprising second place in the Atlantic Division, with key contributions from young players like Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Ondrej Palat, among others.
Photo: Goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis had a strong rookie season in the AHL, winning 18 of 35 starts while posting a 2.68 goals against average. Gudlevkis also represented Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympics. (courtesy of Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have steadily built a strong group of prospects since the arrival of general manager Steve Yzerman in 2010. This season, their patience paid dividends as they made a surprising playoff appearance. Several prospects – Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Mark Barberio – made key contributions and earned regular NHL roles.
Photo: Selected third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, forward Jonathan Drouin has established himself as one of the top offensive forwards in junior hockey. The 18-year-old forward currently has 78 points through 37 games in the QMJHL. (courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
While the top of the Tampa Bay Lightning's Top 20 prospects remains unchanged from the beginning of the 2013-14 season, there has both plenty of movement and fresh faces beyond top prospects Jonathan Drouin and Andrey Vasilevskiy.
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.