B+ / 8th overall
The Tampa Bay Lightning model of draft and development continues to be the lifeblood of the organization’s success, with players such as Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak and Mathieu Joseph making an impact while still playing on entry-level contracts. But even with some of Tampa Bay’s recent top prospects now graduated to the NHL, the Lightning maintain a prospect pipeline playing and developing together as pros with Syracuse. “That’s huge, because they all kind of go through things together,” said Stacy Roest, the Lightning’s director of player development. “When they go through it together, they can lean on each other.”
1. Cal Foote (58th overall)
D, 20, 6-4, – Syracuse (AHL)
2017 draft, 14th overall
The son of former NHLer Adam Foote plays a different style than his dad, with less physicality but more offense. In his first pro season, Cal has shown a steady and poised two-way game. “You have to go in and find your way,” Roest said. “Ice time is earned, and he’s earned his ice time. He had a bit of a slow start, but he’s now playing with more pace, his skating is coming along, and he’s getting stronger. He’s more confident and playing more relaxed while playing good minutes.’’
FW18| No. 1 - NHL | 2019-20
2. Boris Katchouk (95th overall)
LW, 20, 6-2, 199 – Syracuse (AHL)
2016 draft, 44th overall
Katchouk is a versatile, two-way winger who can play either side of the ice, unleash his quick shot on the power play and kill penalties. Scoring came easy to Katchouk in junior, but he will have to adjust his game to find some success against men. “Boris is going to score as a pro, but he just needs to trust the process and keep developing,’’ Roest said. “His work ethic is good. He’s preparing like a pro. He’s starting to make more plays, get a few more shots. The goals will follow him for sure.”
FW18| No. 2 -NHL | 2020-21
3. Alex Volkov
RW, 21, 6-1, 192 – Syracuse (AHL)
2017 draft, 48th overall
In his second year with the organization, Volkov continues to round out his overall game. After reaching the 20-goal mark as a rookie last season with Syracuse, he has worked on his two-way game following two extended looks in camp. “When he’s on his game, he’s skating well and has the puck and drives the net,” Roest said. “I like his future because he can play without the puck, or if he does get the puck, he can make plays with skill guys, and in Tampa we have a lot of those skill guys who can skate.”
FW18| No. 10 - NHL | 2019-20
4. Taylor Raddysh
RW, 21, 6-3, 216 – Syracuse (AHL)
2016 draft, 58th overall
Raddysh was a top scorer in the OHL on a powerhouse Erie team before turning pro. As the next step in his development, he must utilize his size on a consistent basis. “He’s winning more battles, controlling the puck, and now he goes in the corners,” Roest said. “He’s adjusting. He has a nice shot, and his playmaking is underrated. He just always seems to find a way to get open in the slot, and the puck finds him. He’s trending up.” If it all comes together, the Lightning have a a power forward in the making.
FW18| No. 3 - NHL | 2020-21
5. Mitchell Stephens
C, 22, 6-0, 193 – Syracuse (AHL)
2015 draft, 33rd overall
Stephens drew comparisons to Ryan Callahan, though with a stronger skating style, when drafted. Slowed by injuries in his second pro season, Stephens continues to showcase his work ethic, a willingness to do whatever it takes and a strong two-way game. “His skating is probably his best asset,’’ Roest said. “He uses it to get in on the forecheck and to pressure the puck and on the penalty kill. He’s getting better at making plays in traffic, but his skating is his strength, and when he’s using that, he’s effective.”
FW18| No. 6 - NHL | 2020-21
6. Gabriel Fortier
LW, 19, 5-10, 172 – Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
2018 draft, 59th overall
Plays in all situations. Very fast and an honest, hardworking, 200-foot player.
7. Connor Ingram
G, 21, 6-2, 196 – Syracuse (AHL)
14–7–0, 2.26, .922
2016 draft, 88th overall
AHL All-Star Game rep a dogged worker in practice as second-year pro.
8. Sammy Walker
C, 19, 5-11, 160 – Minnesota (Big Ten)
2017 draft, 200th overall
Freshman has great commitment and work ethic. Open-ice skating is ideal.
9. Alex Barre-Boulet
C, 21, 5-10, 170 – Syracuse (AHL)
Free agent, March 1, 2018
Skilled playmaker with good shot needs work on skating and strength.
10. Nick Perbix
D, 20, 6-4, 206 – St. Cloud State (NCHC)
2017 draft, 169th overall
Freshman right-shot D-man shoots the puck well and moves well for his size.