EP Rinkside Prospect Pool Rankings: No. 29 Ranked Tampa Bay Lightning
There might not be a better team at drafting and developing talent in the last decade than the Tampa Bay Lightning.
You want to know why they’re a cup contender that’s avoided salary crises in seemingly every off-season? That’s it. Whereas other teams have to overpay in free agency or trades to find elite talent — if they can find it at all — the Lightning have injected game-breaking youth into their lineup like clockwork.
The Lightning were one of if not the first franchise to actively exploit the market inefficiency that undersized players and Russians, in particular, at the represented at the draft. For their trouble, they’ve found gems like Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and Anthony Cirelli, among others, outside the first round and in undrafted free agency
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