Photo: Forward Jon Drouin has been solid in his rookie NHL season, producing 19 points in 38 games. Drouin was picked third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)
With expectations comes pressure; pressure to succeed and meet said expectations. So far, the young Tampa Bay Lightning squad has met and surpassed most expectations, proving last year’s playoff appearance was no fluke—far from it.
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: 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.