Photo: Windsor Spitfires defenseman and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Slater Koekkoek is currently among the top scoring defensemen in the OHL in 2013-14 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Windsor Spitfires have been on a roll of late, putting up a 9-1-0-0 record in their last 10 games. The hot streak has gotten the club into the thick of the OHL's Western Conference race, although they are still nine points behind the conference-leading Erie Otters.
Photo: Picked third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jonathan Drouin brings elite skill to an already deep and talented group of Lightning prospects. (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Fall NHL Team Rankings. The staff's ranking of each NHL team's system is based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with this ranking meant to represent the state of the prospect pools in the early stages of the 2013-14 season.
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 J.T. Brown is one of several Lightning prospects expected to have a strong 2013-14 season. (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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.
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.