Photo: Selected first overall in 2008, Steven Stamkos has developed into one of the top goal-scorers in the NHL. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
With the number one overall pick going into the 2008 NHL draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning were expected to select at least one successful NHL player. This was certainly the case, as Steven Stamkos, widely touted to be one of the best prospects in the world for quite some time prior to the draft, turned out to be a top-notch sniper at the NHL level.
Photo: Forward Cory Conacher has been one of the top rookie forwards in the NHL this season. Conacher was a free agent signing by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a deep and talented affiliate in their AHL squad, the Syracuse Crunch. Several players have filtered through the Crunch recently to make it on the NHL ice with the Lightning, including: Cory Conacher, Alex Killorn, and Richard Panik. Currently, their offensive talent at the professional level is deeper than their defensive talent.
Photo: After spending two and a half seasons with Peterborough, defenseman Slater Koekkoek was traded to the Windsor Spitfires at the 2013 OHL trade deadline. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With the majority of their prospects either playing at the college level, overseas, or already making the jump to pro hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning have seven prospects playing junior hockey.
Photo: Drafted ninth overall in 2010, Finnish Center Mikael Granlund has made his AHL debut this season. Granlund was widely considered one of the best hockey players not playing in North America. (Juan DeLeon/Icon SMI)
Below is the top-10 section of Hockey's Future's NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. 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.
Photo: Richard Panik (14) is one of several talented forwards the Tampa Bay Lightning have in their minor league system. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
It seems that, as a general manager, Steve Yzerman can do no wrong. In his first year as the Tampa Bay Lightning's GM, Yzerman made a number of shrewd moves that helped put the team into the playoffs, and while they finished outside of the playoffs this past season, Yzerman has continued to build a winning system.