Photo: Finnish forward Henri Ikonen is in the midst of a breakout season with the Kingston Frontenacs. The 19-year-old has 11 goals and 24 assists through 22 games. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
In recent years the Tampa Bay Lightning have shown a willingness to select players from a variety of leagues. Their prospect pool consists of a group of talented Europeans, intriguing NCAA players, and – because most of their recent CHL selections have turned pro – just six players playing junior hockey.
Photo: Syracuse Crunch forward and Tampa Bay lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov is currently tied for second in goals with 13 so far in the 2013-14 AHL season (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)
The AHL is nearly at the quarter-pole for the 2013-14 season, with most teams approaching the 20-game mark in their season. Teams are beginning to find their strengths and weaknesses, and some players – like Tyler Toffoli – have already been called up to their NHL affiliate.
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.