TAMPA – One season removed from having two Calder Trophy finalists, the Lightning still have two of the top prospects in hockey, according to ESPN.
In ESPN’s ranking of the top 100 drafted prospects, Jonathan Drouin checks in at No. 1 among skaters, while Andrei Vasilevskiy is ranked first among goaltending prospects. The list was compiled by Corey Pronman and the full list is available for those with a paid subscription to ESPN’s Insider service.
Both Drouin and Vasilevskiy will report for Lightning rookie camp on Sept. 11 before main camp opens on Sept. 18.
Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, is expected to make the Tampa Bay roster this season after being one of the final cuts from training camp last season. Drouin played for Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and finished with 29 goals and 108 points in 46 regular season games before leading all scorers in the QMJHL playoffs with 41 points in 16 postseason games.
In selecting Drouin as the top prospect, Pronman wrote: “His skill level and hockey sense are both off the charts, he’s a very elusive skater and he has the ability to create a scoring chance at will. When you combine all of his offensive elements (all of which are high-end), Drouin is the clear best forward prospect outside the NHL.’’
Pronman listed Drouin as an early candidate for the 2014-15 Calder Trophy awarded to the NHL’s top rookie. Last season, Lightning teammates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat were Calder Trophy finalists.
Vasilevskiy, the 19th overall pick in 2012, spent the past two seasons playing in the Kontinental Hockey League but signed his NHL Entry Level Contract this summer and will be at training camp next month. The 20-year-old helped lead Salavat to the KHL semifinal last season.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound has been highly regarded over the past two seasons, and Pronman didn’t lessen expectations of Vasilevskiy.
“I’m not exaggerating when I say this: Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years,’’ Pronman wrote. “He’s a special player who has excelled if not dominated at just about every level and major event he’s participated in during the past five years, including the KHL playoffs. Vasilevskiy has good size - 6-foot-3, 201 pounds - elite athleticism, and a high hockey IQ and technical refinement you don’t typically see in a goalie of his age.’’
Tickets on sale
The Lightning announced single tickets are on sale for the three preseason home games – Sept. 23 vs. Nashville, Sept. 25 vs. Dallas and Oct. 4 vs. Florida. The team is also selling 10-game miniplans for the regular season in four different packages, with prices starting at $220. For ticket information call (813) 301-6600 or visit www.tampabaylightning.com.