Now that we are moving into dynamic ratings for next season, we will see players at the beginning of the season with unplayable ratings turn into impactful players near the end of the season and into the playoffs. The lightning currently have a few players that should get a more consistent role in the NHL next season and in turn, might be helpful players with the NEFHL lightning.
Artu Ruotsalainen started last season in Finland scoring 16 goals in 19 games before the sabres had him join their AHL team where he put up a smooth 5 goals in 13 games before getting called up to the sabres and scoring 5 goals in 17 games. Those 5 goals aren't necessarily eye popping but considering the circumstances of playing in 3 leagues on two continents in the same season, we feel like with a stable home and full training camp he can really cement himself win the sabres next season. In fact, only Sam Reinhardt had more goals per game than Artu on the sabres last season!
Ty Smith made the jump last season from the WHL straight to the NHL and started off on fire with 6 points in a 5 game point streak and also scored 2 goals in his first 8 games. Unfortunately Ty did not score a goal in his last 40 games of the season but still had a really nice rookie campaign scoring 23 points in 48 games on a very subpar new jersey team. We look for Ty to continue growing as an NHL defenceman next season and expect an uptick on his ratings throughout the year. Our prediction is Ty will be playing on the power play for the lightning near the end of next season in the NEFHL.
Aleksi Heponiemi and Jack Rathbone both got a chance to start their NHL careers last season and both did not look out of place. We expect both players to continue getting a chance to play in the NHL next season and in turn may result in ratings that could be good call ups in case of injuries.
Both Ryan Poehling and Logan Brown probably had expectations of playing in the NHL last season but unfortunately both were stuck in the AHL for most of the season (Brown got 1 game with the Sens at the end of the year). One has to think Brown will get an opportunity to play in the NHL next year if not for the Sens than somewhere else as I believe he must go through waivers to be sent down. Poehling on the other hand took his demotion to work on his game and put up nearly a point a game in the minors and should have a great chance to make the Habs with key UFA's like Tomas Tatar, Joel Armia and Philip Danault potentially leaving to play elsewhere.
It will be fun the see these players transition into every day lightning players and that time could start as soon as next season!