The Tampa Bay Lightning made a decision last year that having no first line talent players and just a bunch of 2nd line talents at best was not going to get them to the playoffs and so the rebuild began. Through trades and through the last couple of drafts the team finally looks like it may have some future top end talents in the NEFHL.
First on the list has to be Mikael Granlund. I drafted 14th overall in 2010 and have been following his play since then. He's an extremely talented forward who has just recently signed and entry level contract with the Minnesota Wild to play in the nhl. He has averaged a point a game the last 3 seasons while playing with men in the finnish elite league with his best season coming this past year where he scored 20 goals and added 31 assist in 45 games. He will be in minnesota's lineup come opening day next season where it may take a while to adjust to the north american game and the 82 game grind but with his talent, the transition will be easier for him then for most!
Second on the list is arguably already a star, however being only 21 years old, he will be a future star for the lightnig for many years to come. Yes I am talking about Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto was acquired in a blockbuster trade last season with the caps and went on to have his best nhl season in his young career scoring 10 goals and 31 assists in 77 games while playing top pairing type of minutes with the rangers. While being a very talented offensive blueliner and already having the faith of his coach to play most PP minutes look for him to continue to grow as a player. 10 goals 40 point seasons may be the bare minimum in future seasons!
Next we have Mikkel Boedker who at 22 already has 208 games of nhl experience under his belt. Drafted 8th overalll in 2008, a lot was to be expected out of boedker offensively and some would say he has disappointed to some extent so far in his career. I am not one of those people and was completely reassured while watching him in these past nhl playoffs where he was creating offensive chances constantly while being a very good defensive presence on the ice back checking at all times. Phoenix has limited his minutes in his young career allowing him to work on his defensive game and adjusting to the american style of hockey. Look for his to have a breakout offensive season next year where 20 goals and 50 points shouldn't be unreasonable
Finally we have Zach Bogosian who was drafted 3rd overall in the 2008 draft and at 21 years of age is a beast of a defenseman at 6 for 3, 215 lbs. Like Boedker, he has also been playing in the nhl since he was 18 and has had some shaky parts and great parts in his development. This past season things finally seemed to flow together much more nicely then the past few seasons where he was given more responsibility playing the power play and the penalty kill playing over 20 minutes a game. He also had his highest point total this past year scoring 5 goals and adding 20 assists in only 65 games. Look for him to continue to develop offensively while also playing more tough minutes against other teams top lines in the future. We are counting on him developping into potentiallly somewhere close to a chris pronger but even if he doesn't reach that offensive potential will still be a great top 4 d-man!