Drouin, Vasilevskiy rated No. 1 prospects
Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy are expected to play a big role in the team's future.
And on Tuesday, both were ranked the No. 1 prospects in the NHL at their respective positions by ESPN.com's Corey Pronman.
Drouin, drafted third overall in 2013, was rated the top skater for the second consecutive season by Pronman. He'll likely get his first opportunity to impact Tampa Bay this season, and should be on the Calder Trophy watch list.
Vasilevskiy was rated the No. 1 goalie prospect in the NHL, and Pronman called him "one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years."
Pronman on Drouin: "After the Lightning elected to not keep him on the NHL roster for 2013-14, Drouin had another elite season in the QMJHL, torching the league in terms of point production. He led the QMJHL playoffs in points (41 in 16 games) despite Halifax not advancing to the final round. 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. He converted to center this season, showing pretty effective play in the defensive zone, which was previously a weakness. With a good summer from a physical development standpoint, he should be a player to watch for next year's Calder Trophy."
The Lightning had five skaters ranked in the top 100 including No. 65 Vladislav Namestnikov, No. 70 Adam Erne, No. 80 Slater Koekkoek and No. 87 Brayden Point.
Vasilevskiy played in 28 games last year with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL and posted a 2.21 GAA with a .923 save percentage. Vasilevskiy signed an entry-level deal with Tampa Bay in the offseason and is expected to begin the season with AHL Syracuse.
Pronman on Vasilevskiy: “I'm not exaggerating when I say this: Vasilevski is one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years. 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. Vasilevski 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 (20)."