Joel Dorcas | April 19th, 2020
There aren’t many organizations in the NHL who are as set up for success as the Tampa Bay Lightning are for right now and the future. The Bolts have a core locked up for the next few seasons that are as talented as any other in the league. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Andrei Vasilevskiy lead the way for this Ultra-talented group.
Although core players are signed to multi-year deals, there are a few other pieces who might sign elsewhere due to salary cap restraints. Let’s take a look at some young talent groomed to be next in line to fill some holes on the roster in our “Big 3” Prospect Report.
Number 3: Alex Barre-Boulet/ Right Wing, Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Barre-Boulet is a speedy undersized forward who can play both on the wing and at center. Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson are two similar players on Tampa, both in stature and skill set, that Barre-Boulet could draw inspiration from. In his journey until now, Boulet has put up two solid back-to-back years with the minor league affiliate Syracuse Crunch. 68 points in 74 games in 2018-’19 and 56 points in 60 games this season. In his final season of Major Junior in 2017-’18 he dominated (like most prospects do), 116 points in 65 games. For the short term, Barre-Boulet will have to work his tail off to sneak on to the roster as a bottom-six forward.
Number 2: Alexander Volkov/ Right Wing, Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Volkov, much like Barre-Boulet, is a player with plenty of offensive upsides. However, his way on to the club could only be in the form of a bottom-six role. The 48th overall selection of the 2017 draft had a cup of coffee with the big club this season picking up an assist in nine games. His body of work in the AHL has been steady. Volkov had back-to-back 23 goal seasons in 2018 and 2019 followed by 30 points in 46 games this season. The recent additions of depth players, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow eat up a couple of spots but Patrick Maroon is set to hit free agency so making the squad next season isn’t out of the equation.
Number 1: Cal Foote/ Defenseman, Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
The door may be opening for this defensive dynamo chosen 14th overall by the Lightning in the 2017 draft. Tampa has a few rearguards headed for free agency before the 2020-’21 season, amongst them, are Kevin Shattenkirk and Zach Bogosian. Foote has all the makings of being the total package at the pro level. Listed at 6’4″, 221 pounds, players will be hard-pressed to get by Foote for scoring chances. Foote can also jump into the play offensively when called upon. Perhaps Foote’s best attribute is his awareness. Already at a young age, scouts have marveled at his on-ice I.Q. While waiting to get the call to the pros, Foote has been gaining valuable time with the Syracuse Crunch registering 31 points in 76 games in 2018-’19 and 28 points in 62 games this season.
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