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: 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: 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.
Selected 19th overall, Andrey Vasilevskiy is the first goaltender the Lightning have drafted in the first round since 2006. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
While Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steven Yzerman made a number of shrewd moves with the team's NHL roster over his first two seasons as general manager, his best work perhaps has come through building the team's prospect depth.