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Lightning’s farm system ranked No. 1 by Hockey Prospectus

Jul 8, 2013, 9:36 PM EDT

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The past season was ugly and the present looks murky, but if Hockey Prospectus’ 2013 organizational rankings are any indication, the future could be awfully bright for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bolts took the No. 1 spot on a list released Monday, thanks in part to drafting Jonathan Drouin third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Corey Pronman writes that GM Steve Yzerman has helped build “the best system in the NHL.”

Two of the top five teams managed to make the playoffs, though their successes surprised some:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. New York Islanders
3. Buffalo Sabres
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. Florida Panthers

Stanley Cup champion Chicago ranked ninth.

On the other end of the spectrum, two of the bottom five teams missed the postseason:

26. San Jose Sharks
27. Los Angeles Kings
28. New Jersey Devils
29. Philadelphia Flyers
30. St. Louis Blues

Want some insight on where your favorite (and most hated) teams ranked and why? Click here.

  1. nj666 - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Something tells me those five bottom teams will be better off than those top five.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Well, for the most part, the bottom five teams aren’t afraid to trade young guys for veteran help. The Devils and Blues tend to hold onto their young guns, but St. Louis has been shifting their philosophy a little as they get closer to Cup contention. And NJ just traded the 9th pick. The top-5 are mostly rebuilding, and therefore have access to more premier talent. Anaheim and the Isles were good last year, but both have had high picks over the past 5 seasons.

    • tuberippin - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      Said the fan from New Jersey….

      • nj666 - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        I never meant it as insulting or personal to those teams. But now that you mentioned it, yeah the fan from new jersey who’s watched the devils accomplish far more than those other five.

    • nomorekidsinbcn - Jul 9, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      Florida and the Islanders are in the top5 for the last 15 years if I am not mistaken. Never made it out of this one to a top5 league one.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Ah, yes, the Devils have accomplished “far more” than the Islanders. Mmk.

  2. jakreidler - Jul 8, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    The fact that the Wings aren’t in the top 5 makes this a joke in my mind.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      They are #7. Not too shabby.

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        It’s generally a pretty good thing not to be on this list, the top teams on this list always have great picks for a reason. You’re almost complaining that your team wins too much with that statement

    • jakreidler - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      I mean, they didn’t win the Calder Cup or anything.. Or take Chicago to game 7 with like five rookies…

      • maddenp6 - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:07 AM

        The Detroit Red Wings did that. Not the farm system.

    • mathieug79 - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:08 AM

      They don’t even have 1 elite prospects, why would they be in the top 5?

      • clefty1 - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        Maddenp6. Where do you think some of the Wings players came through? Try GR! Mathieug79 the Wings develop players they draft better then any organization in the NHL.

      • mathieug79 - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        That’s not what I was saying… what gives tampa bay the edge, is that they have blue chip prospects! Detroit on the other hand have very good prospects ( like we saw in the Calder cup finals) just not any Blue Chip prospects like Drouin…

    • juniorbarnes - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      Have you looked at their Minor League affiliate or haven’t you figured out this isn’t referring to the NHL team?

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    I can’t believe the Flames are ranked 10th! I’ve been anti-Feaster all along (especially after hiring Hartley and the O’Reilly debacle) but considering how bare the cupboards were when he took over from Sutter, I’m pleasantly surprised that outsiders think so highly of the players he’s managed to accumulate. Hopefully it’ll only be another year or two before they’re ready to contend for the playoffs again and then hopefully more!

    Go Flames Go!

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      I think Feaster did a pretty good job with the most recent draft, but overall idk if they should be ranked so high. I guess it’s including Baertschi. And they do have Monahan, Gaudreau, and Corbin Knight. But the Jankowski pick is still a head scratcher to me. It’s good to see the Flames heading in the right direction and finally rebuilding the right way.

    • mrpinkca - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      Stay anti-Feaster. The Flames are going to suck regardless, so at least you can walk around with a feeling of nihilistic superiority.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:50 AM

        Absolutely they’ll be a bad team this year, the fans, media and apparently the owners have come to accept that. Reports from Boston (not sure which paper or reporter as I heard them talking about it on Calgary radio) had the Bruins and Flames with an agreed upon deal for Seguin at the draft however the Flames owners nixed the deal. According to Calgary Sun reporter Eric Francis the reason being that the owners have accepted that they’ll be competing for the first overall pick this year and not the playoffs, so with that in mind they decided that they would rather have Sean Monahan just finishing his rookie contract in 3 years (the point which the owners expect to be very competitive) than having Seguin already half way through his second contract. Just so happens the three years also coincides with when the Flames would be expecting to move into a new arena.

        But at least the 10th ranking right now along with what will likely be a top 3-5 choice in every round next year gives us Flames fans a glimmer of hope for the future.

  4. pensman29 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    I’m a little pissed the pens are 23.

    • dirt2013 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      Not all is lost as they are ahead of the Flyers.

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        But all we ever hear about is how many good young players the penguins have, good to see some pens fans with the right mentality, cheers!

      • mathieug79 - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:14 AM

        I think if this were a defensemen propects list, Pittsburgh would be first and Tampa would be last place, but Pittsburgh with Beau Bennett not included in this list because he played too much games to qualify, Pittsburgh has very little elite forward prospects.

  5. earpaniac - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    The Hawks and Detroit are really impressive considering their successes and how low they usually have been drafting.

    • clefty1 - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      Did you just become a hockey fan? The Wings have been doing it for decades now, the Hawks have only been doing anything for about 5 years.

  6. mrfist83 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Minor leaguers dont win Cups.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      This year, but the base of championship teams are built around draft picks, so the teams at the top end, in theory, should be teams that become good in the next few years.

      The Islanders have a lot of good young players already in the NHL, the fact that they’ve still got a ton in the minors that they can use to either fill out their roster or to trade for players to give them an immediate shot in the arm tells me they’re going to be very good when they move to Brooklyn.

    • clefty1 - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Where do you think the bulk of players from a team comes from?

  7. behindel - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    The Kings are 27th? How about these names that were drafted and cultivated by the Kings:
    Kopitar
    Brown
    Quick
    Bernier
    Toffoli
    Moulson
    Doughty
    Voynov

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      It’s about the current pipeline, not who’ve they’ve developed.

      • behindel - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM

        “…farm system…”. From that title it sounds like its referring to the organization’s record, current progress and likely future result all mixed into one.

        Hey I am a Kings fan I believe they should be #1 all the time. ;)

      • mathieug79 - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:17 AM

        ….Still a pretty impressive list, Shows fans how important it is to develop your prospects.

    • muns09 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:11 AM

      Do you read the article or go straight to posting comments without even taking a glance at what was said? There even is an attached link that details each team specifically of why they are ranked in that slot. Kings HAD great depth, now they have a depleted, young pipeline with only 2 solid lines that are nhl players on their kings roster.

      Read the article or go back to youtube

  8. pensman29 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    What I don’t get is why they don’t count prospects that were rookies in the NHL this year. For example the Canadians; the writer says that they ‘graduated’ galchenyuk and Gallagher (so they don’t count) but I would still put them in the “prospect category”. Because they r both young and both gonna improve and hopefully be great pros. I would also include saad huberdaea*sp* yakupov beau Bennett texas

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Because they lose their rookie eligibility. This list only includes rookies.

  9. pensman29 - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Oh ok I can see that but I would still consider those guys prospects

  10. LampyB - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Wings minor affiliate Griffins won the Calder Cup against Tampa’s minor league team. Remind me how Tampa’s group of prospects is the best??

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      The Wings have solid prospects across the board. But they do not have a blue chipper like Drouin. They’re missing that star-quality prospect. That’s what puts Tampa over the top.

    • grudenthediva - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:08 AM

      Apparently you seem to think that the farm system is limited to the AHL only? Need we remind you that the Admirals (then the TB affiliate) won the Calder Cup last season?

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      Pretty much all of the top Crunch players played a decent chunk of games at the NHL level due to a boatload of injuries for the Lightning, and while this happened their coach Jon Cooper became the coach of the pro squad. Considering the constant moving of players from the AHL to the NHL as well as the coaching change, it’s extremely impressive that they made it to the Calder Cup Finals at all.

  11. guyfawkes16051105 - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I call BS.

  12. jimw81 - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    lol, flyers fan already knew holmgren destroyed the farm system.

    • chazxcore - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      Holmgren’s problem hasn’t been drafting in the first round, it’s just about every round after that. He did exchange Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for some grade A young talent with Coots, Schenn, Vorechek and Simmonds. And found Matt Read. He also got Luke Schenn for JVR. He is great finding the obvious talent, just not the diamonds in the rough.

      • jimw81 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:15 AM

        don’t worry by mid season or before the end of upcoming season, read,coots/schenn will be dealt in a trade for top young defenseman.

  13. mrpinkca - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    LOL Flyers

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:51 AM

      The Flyers already have most of their young talent at the NHL level. Both Schenns, Couturier, Voracek, Simmonds, Giroux, Gustafsson (not a blue chipper), Read, etc. Most of those guys are a few years past the typical prospect age but they’re still young. And, although they’re ranked next to last they are slowly rebuilding. They signed Petr Straka (former second rounder), acquired Mark Alt (another former second), signed Michael Raffl (highly coveted Austrian), and Maxime Lamarche. That’s to go along with the likes of Laughton, Cousins, Morin, Hagg, Stolarz, Gotisbehere, Bourdon, Manning, Lauredson, etc. There may not be any all-stars in those groups but they have a lot of prospects with NHL potential. It’s certainly not as barren as it was last year or the year before.

      • jimw81 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:19 AM

        how much does anyone bet that Laughton is on the team and they deal coots in a trade. I think laughton has more upside than Coots. I think there is big segment of flyers fans overvaluing Couturier.

        Just keep this in mind, No one wants Couturier as the centerpiece of any deal after last season. That boat has sailed.

  14. ray2013 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    How often do they do these rankings? There are always prospects that shine and those that fail to live up to expectations. I’d like to know how these prospects change halfway through a season, when we’ve gotten to see them play a draft+1 season in junior or in the minor leagues.

  15. travishenryskid - Jul 9, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I don’t know why they have the Isles as high as they do. They must really love Ryan Strome.

    • islesjb - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Brock Nelson had a great year in the AHL and Griffin Reinhart is one of the better D prospects around. Including Strome, all three of those guys are practically “can’t miss” prospects IMO. Then they have a lot of secondary talent with guys like Johan Sundstrom and Kirill Petrov (if he ever gives up playing in Russia) which is probably why they are ranked so highly.

      Isles are finally poised to be good for a long time. The last piece is a long term goaltender. Hoping Poulin can step up to the plate but his numbers haven’t been all to impressive lately.

  16. rca26 - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    This is one of the most embarrassing comment sections this site has ever seen. This guy studies prospects for a living and carefully explains his rankings, but a large majority of commenters are just rushing to the comments to explain why their team’s young NHLers make their team’s prospects immensely better than the top 5.

    Betcha Chicago and LA were in the top 5 six years ago, and betcha Tampa Bay and the Isles will be out of it in 6 years.

    • valarmorghuliss - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      That guy is one guy who has looked stupid for years and years.

      He’s an absolute nobody with a poor site.
      He’s DOES NOT do this for a living
      He DOES NOT travel to watch prospects either.

      You have NO IDEA what you’re talking about

      • rca26 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        You don’t have to like the guy, but unless he’s writing for ESPN pro bono, he’s somebody who is doing this for a living.

        He run over your dog or something?

  17. beaver15 - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    DAAAAAMN…Blues 30th. I’ll have to read article. Amazing how like 3+ years ago I think StL was in top 10?

    • 19to77 - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      A lot of guys graduated to the actual roster. Pietrangelo, Tarasenko, Jake Allen and Jaden Schwartz all stopped meeting their eligibility requirements in the last 3 years, and they went from drafting in the top five (Pietrangelo at 4th overall) to drafting in the 20s and making the playoffs. Their pipeline’s a lot thinner, but the team’s MUCH better than it was in say, 2009.

  18. valarmorghuliss - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    This entire list is massive joke written by people who have no clue what they are talking about.

    • valarmorghuliss - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      And before any IDIOT chimes in

      Corey Pronman is NOT a scout, he’s doesn’t even get media credentials for any Sport.

      He’s some amature guy who runs a sites and throws darts at a board.

      He does not make scouting his business
      He does not travel to watch players year long.

      PHT using his garbage for an article is yet another joke in a long line of amateur hour jokes.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Dude, the guy is an ESPN INSIDER! You can’t just make stuff up to have that job! You have to be, like, a hockey supergenius to cover the NHL for ESPN.

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