New-Look HP! Unfiltered Articles Stats Glossary Contact Us
Hockey Prospectus home

New Look Hockey Prospectus is available with new Premium Content!
Limited time offer: $9.99 for an entire year!

<< Previous Article
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/11)
<< Previous Column
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/11)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)

July 22, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Tampa Bay Lightning

by Corey Pronman

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Tampa Bay Lightning Top 10 Prospects

1. Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing
2. Vladislav Namestnikov, Center
3. Nikita Kucherov, Left Wing
4. Mark Barberio, Defense
5. Andrej Sustr, Defense
6. Adam Erne, Left Wing
7. Andrei Vasilevski, Goaltender
8. Slater Koekkoek, Defense
9. Tyler Johnson, Center
10. OndrejPalat, Left Wing

Organizational Ranking: 1st

System Overview

Tampa Bay boasts the best system in hockey. Their top gun is clearly Jonathan Drouin, who was rated as Hockey Prospectus' top 2013 NHL Draft prospect. Beyond him, the quality depth Tampa has is ridiculous, enough that solid players such as Tanner Richard, Brian Hart, and Nikita Gusev had to be left off of their top 15. Those three prospects would be in most teams' top 12, if not their top 10 prospects. Their forwards could be a little bigger, but aside from that,there is no real weakness in Tampa's system.

---

1. Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 03/27/1995
Age: 18
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 186
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 49 GP, 41 G, 105 P (Halifax, QMJHL)
Acquired: First round, third overall in 2013 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Drouin had one of the most dominant offensive seasons for a first year draft-eligible CHLer in this past decade. He won the QMJHL regular season and playoff MVP and the league's best pro prospect award. He also played in Canada's top six at the World Juniors and he was part of the Memorial Cup-winning Mooseheads squad.

The Good: Drouin's offensive abilities are elite, and quite unique. His possession skills are off the charts, due to his puck skills and offensive hockey sense. Drouin's ability to create scoring chances is second to none, thanks to his creativity, game processing skill, and vision. He is a nightmare to check in open ice because of those qualities and also because he a very agile skater with good speed. Drouin has a chance to be an elite NHL playmaker.

The Bad: Drouin in a little small and he could stand to bulk up, even though his lower half is already quite strong. His defense could use some work, too.

Projection: He could be one of the NHL's top offensive threats.

2. Vladislav Namestnikov, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 11/22/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 179
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 44 GP, 7 G, 21 P (Syracuse, AHL)
Acquired: First round, 27th overall in 2011 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:First professional season bumps, playing on a deep team, and injury woes plagued Namestnikov early, but he started to get rolling towards the end of the season and in the playoffs.

The Good: Namestnikov is a very gifted all-around player with a lot of potential. He has above-average to high-end speed, puck skills, hockey sense, and work ethic. He can play at a high tempo with energy and grit, and he also has the ability to control the puck, make individual plays, and play a slower, puck possession-style game.

The Bad: Namestnikov needs to continue getting stronger, as his strength is probably his biggest weakness as of now.He also needs to continue adjusting to the finer details of the professional game. He projects to have defensive value but he needs to work out some kinks in that area at this level.

Projection: He could be a fringe top line center or great second line center.

3. Nikita Kucherov, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 06/17/1992
Age: 20
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 174
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 33 GP, 29 G, 63 P (Quebec/Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL)
Acquired: Second round, 58th overall in 2011 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Kucherov's season was a success, minus some small injury worries. He was a top player in the QMJHL this year, his first campaign in North America, and he coupled that with a great World Juniors performance.

The Good: Kucherov has a ton of natural ability and he can create scoring chances in bunches. He is a good, if not a great skater, and he also possesses high-end puck skills, hockey sense, and finishing skill. He can blow by defensemen with ease and he sets up teammates well. He has great offensive awareness and he usually makes good decisions, taking advantage of his skill set.

The Bad: Kucherov's physical game is his major issue. He is small, and not all that imposing when it comes to engagement. He needs to gain a lot of strength. His defensive game has shown some improvement, but it still needs work.

Projection: He could be a fringe top line or great second line winger.

4. Mark Barberio, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 03/23/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 202
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 73 GP, 8 G, 42 P (Syracuse, AHL)
Acquired: Sixth round, 152nd overall in 2008 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Barberio did not follow up his AHL Defenseman of the Year season with a similar campaign, but he was still very good, and he is on the cusp of an NHL callup.

The Good: Barberio is a very good skating defenseman, with the ability to push the pace well and keep his checks in front of him effectively due to his good four-way mobility. He has been one of the best offensive defensemen in the AHL the past few seasons. He is a skilled, creative puck handler who can make nifty passes andcontrol a power play.He has some flashy elements to his game. He is a hard-working player who battles well and he has improved his positional defense.

The Bad: His decision making, particularly in his own end, could still be a little better, as he takes the odd bad risk. His strength has significantly improved, but he can still be outmuscled in one-on-one battles.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman who plays on a top power play unit.

5. Andrej Sustr, Defense
2011-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 11/29/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 225
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 39 GP, 9 G, 25 P (Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha, NCAA)
Acquired: College free agent

Year in Review:Sustr was a Third Team WCHA All Star and one of the top college free agents. His play was up and down during his brief time as a professional at the end of the year.

The Good: Sustr is a very toolsy for a man his size. He skates at a pro-average level, but his mobility is quite good for a man of his stature. The development in his skating has really elevated his prospect stock. He is an above-average puck mover who has power play ability to go along with very good hands for a big man. Sustr has solid creativity as well.

The Bad: Even though he is a very large defenseman, Sustr is not overly mean or tough on his checks. His defensive reads still need notable work, and at least as of now,he needs to be used very carefully.

Projection: He could be a quality second pairing defenseman.

6. Adam Erne, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 04/20/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 68 GP, 28 G, 72 P (Quebec, QMJHL)
Acquired: Second round, 33rd overall in 2012 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Erne followed up a quality first QMJHL season with another good one in terms of his on-ice play, but he did endure one minor off-ice incident with his teammates.

The Good: Erne is a plus skater who couples his great speed with a great work ethic and energy level on the ice. He can get defensemen on their heels with the way he speeds through the neutral zone, en route to driving the net. Erne also battles well in the corners and in front of the net, displaying quality strength. He also has an above-average skill level.

The Bad: Erne's vision and overall hockey sense is just average. He is not the worst in that area, but he is not the most instinctual player. His defense needs work as well.

Projection: He could be a good second line power winger.

7. Andrei Vasilevski, Goaltender
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/25/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 203
Catches: Left
Statistics: 27 GP, 1.93 GAA, .930 SV% (Ufa, MHL)
Acquired: First round, 19th overall in 2012 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Vasilevski had a third straight dominant season in Russia, including a very good brief stint in the KHL.

The Good: Vasilevski is an incredibly advanced, skilled, and well-rounded goaltender. He is one of the best at his position to come around in a few years. He brings good size, top-end athleticism, and quick reflexes to go along with great reads. He has the athletic skills to make the tough saves, but his awareness and anticipation allow him to square up pucks and cut off angles effectively.

The Bad: It is hard to pick apart a weakness in Vasilevski's game, other than the uncertainty of not playing in North America. He needs to gain strength in both his upper and lower body.

Projection: He could be an above-average starting goaltender.

8. Slater Koekkoek, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 6th
Date of birth: 02/18/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 186
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 42GP, 6 G,29 P (Peterborough/Windsor, OHL)
Acquired: First round, tenth overall in 2012 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Koekkoek showed flashes of his potential in the half season he played, but his season was cut short by surgery, as he reinjured the same shoulder that he hurt last season.

The Good: Koekkoek is plus skater, with great power in his stride, good technique in his footwork, and four-way mobility. He is a good rusher and puck mover, and he can be a significant power play asset due to these skills and his good shot. Koekkoek plays hard, and he does not mind engaging in the physical game.

The Bad: Koekkoek's injury issues are obviously not a good thing. Keeping him healthy and getting experience is what is needed right now for his development. Scouts have concerns about his defensive game and his suspect decision making in his own end, although those opinions are not consensus. He needs to gets stronger as well.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman, and if you believe in his defensive skills, maybe a fringe top pairing D.

9. Tyler Johnson, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 8th
Date of birth: 07/29/1990
Age: 22
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 183
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 62 GP, 37 G, 65 P (Syracuse, AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review:Johnson had an exceptional second AHL season, and was named the league's Most Valuable Player.

The Good: Johnson is a good, if not a high-end puck possession player, with great hands and passing ability.He is also a very quality skater, as he has the agility and speed to be a scoring line forward at the top level at his size. He is a hard-working player, and one NHL source described him as one of the best penalty killers in the AHL because of his effort and hockey sense. Johnson also has a quality shot.

The Bad: Johnson's major issue is his size. He is listed at 5'10", and that may be a bit generous. He does not shy away from physical play, but how much he can do in that area at the top level will be his major question mark.

Projection:He could be a top-six forward.

10. Ondrej Palat, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 03/28/1991
Age: 22
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 56 GP, 13 G, 52 P (Syracuse, AHL)
Acquired: Seventh round, 208th overall in 2011 by Tampa Bay

Year in Review:Palat had a breakout season,as he was a top player on one of the best AHL teams. He played 14 games in the NHL, and he led the AHL playoffs in scoring.

The Good: The Bad: Palat's only true weaknesses is that he is slightly undersized, but he also will not "wow" you offensively. He could get a little stronger, too.

Projection: He could be a second line forward with good defensive value. p>---

The Next Five

11. RadkoGudas, Defense: Gudas was one of the top defensive defensemen in the AHL this season. He is a very physical defenseman, he makes good reads in his own end, and he stays with his check effectively.

12. Richard Panik, Right Wing: Panik is a very speedy and skilled forward who has worked on developing his all-around game and his consistency. His upside is very significant.

13. Nikita Nesterov, Defense: Nesterov was the top defenseman for Russia's World Junior team. He is smart, mobile, and tough, and he passes the puck at a solid level.

14. Matthew Peca, Center: Peca was extremely impressive in college hockey this season. He is small but brings so much skill and speed to the table.

15. J.T. Brown, Right Wing: Brown was one of the top college free agents last season. He missed time due to injury. He is a very speedy and intense forward, and he brings some skill elements as well.

The SleeperArtem Sergeyev, Defense

Sergeyev is an intriguing defenseman with good offensive tools. He has been on Russia's last two World Junior teams. If he develops his defensive game,the former free agent signing could turn out to be a nice addition.

---

Tampa Bay Lightning Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1.Steven Stamkos, Center
2.Victor Hedman, Defense
3. Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing
4.Brett Connolly, Right Wing
5. VladislavNamestnikov, Center
6.Nikita Kucherov, Right Wing
7. Mark Barberio, Defense
8. Andrej Sustr, Defense
9. Adam Erne, Left Wing
10. Andrei Vasilevkski, Goaltender

Stamkos' reputation and accolades speak for themselves. By the time his career is all said and done, he could be the top goal scorer of his generation. It was tempting to put Drouin over Hedman, but the big Swedish defender has been so good in the NHL. He does not have gaudy point totals, but is huge and mobile, and has been a really good player in his own end to go along with solid offensive output. Connolly's development was slowed down by a full AHL season, where he excelled. His top-end speed, skill, and big frame are reasons for optimism.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/11)
<< Previous Column
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/11)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (07/23)

RECENTLY AT HOCKEY PROSPECTUS
Annoucements: Where Are The New Articles?
Zamboni Tracks: Who's That Guy? Special Edmo...
Hall Of Fame: My 2014 HHOF Inductees
On The Horizon: Four Nations And Junior "A" ...
A Closer Look: MacArthur-Turris-Ryan Keeping...


MORE BY COREY PRONMAN
2013-07-26 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Calgary Flames
2013-07-25 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Carolina Hurricanes
2013-07-23 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Nashville Predators
2013-07-22 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Tampa Bay Lightning
2013-07-11 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Colorado Avalanche
2013-07-09 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Florida Panthers
2013-07-07 - Premium Article From Daigle To Datsyuk: Trade Bolsters Ducks...
More...

MORE TOP 10 PROSPECTS 2013
2013-07-26 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Calgary Flames
2013-07-25 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Carolina Hurricanes
2013-07-23 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Nashville Predators
2013-07-22 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Tampa Bay Lightning
2013-07-11 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Colorado Avalanche
2013-07-09 - Top 10 Prospects 2013: Florida Panthers
More...