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 Alex Killorn is one of several young players to make the Lightning’s NHL roster out of training camp. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
With the compliance buyout of long time captain Vincent Lecavalier this off-season, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to send a message to everyone that the rebuild was in full swing. The Lightning went into training camp with around five to six spots up for grabs for young players, and many on the Top-20 came away with spots for the opening night roster.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy remains the top prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 2012-13 season saw many of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects work their way onto the NHL roster. Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn both saw substantial time and made significant contributions with the big club while Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, Ondrej Palat, and Mark Barberio also made their NHL debuts at various points throughout the lockout shortened season.
Photo: Tyler Johnson has solidified the Lightning lineup by finding success between fellow prospects Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik (courtesy of Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Welcome to the March 2013 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various competition levels who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind. With junior levels and European professional leagues playing in their respective post-seasons, this edition checks in with prospects who have elevated their games down the stretch and those who have struggled under the increased pressure in the playoffs. We also take a look at a pair of prospects who have stepped seamlessly into prominent roles for their clubs as they head into the final month of the NHL season.
Photo: Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin was not a standout for his country at the 2013 WJC, but he did acquit himself well in his first appearance at the U-20 event (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Team Russia's bronze medal can be deemed as a good result on home soil, though not the result that was hoped for at the 2013 World Junior Championship. They surrendered to Sweden in the semifinals in the shoot-out, but the win over Canada in the bronze medal game surely cheered up the home crowd.