Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has done his due diligence through the NHL Draft over the past few years. Many of his first round picks, players such as Brett Connolly, Andrey Vasilevskiy, and Jonathan Drouin, all figure to be big components to the Lightning's success in the future. But it is his later-round picks and shrewd free agent signings that could make a more immediate impact for Tampa Bay.
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.
The Tampa Bay Lightning failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season and Head Coach Guy Boucher was eventually relieved of his duties and replaced by Jon Cooper, the coach of the Lightning's AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Goaltending and defense proved once again to be the team weakness, as they dropped to 14th in the East, and locked up the third overall pick in this June's draft.
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.
Welcome to the final 2012-13 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 many leagues around the world approaching their finals or already finished, we take a look at some of the prospects who stood out over the course of the season. While some players proved to be farther along than initially expected, there are also those prospects who did not develop as planned in 2012-13.