Best prospects for the Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL.com provides in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 32 teams from August 8 through September 9. 8. Today’s top five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects, according to NHL.com.

[Lightning 32 in 32: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown]

1. Hugo AlnefeltG

How acquired: Selected with the 71st pick in the 2019 NHL Draft

Season 2021-22: Tampa Bay (NHL): 1 GP, 0-0-0, 9.00 GAA, .700 save percentage; Syracuse (AHL) 23 GP, 10-7-4, 3.14 GAA, .882 save percentage; Orlando (ECHL) 2 GP, 0-2-0, 3.51 GAA, 0.886 save percentage

Alnefelt (6-foot-2, 177 pounds) made his NHL debut on Dec. 30 alongside Maxime Lagacé while Andrei Vasilevsky and Brian Elliot were in the NHL COVID-19 protocol. He entered the third period and made seven saves on 10 shots in a 9-3 loss to the Florida Panthers.

The 21-year-old is expected to be the No. 1 goalie with Syracuse in the AHL this season.

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2024-25

2. isaac howardF

How acquired: Selected with the 31st pick in the 2022 NHL Draft

Season 2021-22: United States U-18 (NTDP): 60 GP, 33-49-82

Howard (5-foot-10, 182 pounds) led USA Hockey’s National Development Program Under-18 team in assists and points last season, and led the United States with 11 points (six goals, five assists) at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. .

“We thought he was going to go much higher [at the draft]”Said Lightning assistant general manager and director of scouting Al Murray. “He’s a skilled offensive player with good speed. He rushes into the offensive zone towards the net. He doesn’t play on the perimeter at all. Both a playmaker and a goalscorer, but he definitely has the ability to score.”

The 18-year-old will play for the University of Minnesota Duluth this season.

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2025-26

3. Jack FinleyF

How acquired: Selected with the No. 57 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft

Season 2021-22: Spokane (WHL) 21 GP, 8-8-16; Winnipeg (WHL) 39 GP, 19-15-34

Finley (6-6, 220) found his scoring touch after being traded from Spokane to Winnipeg on Dec. 6. He capped off his season with 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 15 Western Hockey League playoff games.

The 21-year-old believes he’s ready for the next step in his career, which likely means starting the season with Syracuse in the AHL.

“I focused on all areas of my game, especially the little details,” Finley said during Lightning development camp in July. “These are the things that will make you a successful hockey player.”

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2024-25

4. Cole KoepkeF

How acquired: Selected with the 183rd pick in the 2018 NHL Draft

Season 2021-22: Syracuse (AHL): 69 GP, 20-19-39

Sixth-round pick Koepke (6-1, 196) began his pro career last season after playing the previous three seasons at Minnesota Duluth. The 24-year-old finished third with Syracuse in goals and fifth in points.

He impressed enough that the Lightning added him as an extra player and he practiced with the team through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Koepke is likely to start this season in the AHL, but could be in the running for an NHL call-up if a spot becomes available.

Expected arrival in the NHL: This season

5. Nick PerbixD

How acquired: Selected with the 169th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft

Season 2021-22: St Cloud State (NCAA): 31 GP, 6-25-31; Syracuse (AHL): 12 GP, 2-6-8

Perbix (6-2, 191) was drafted in the sixth round and was seen as a slow-moving draft. The 24-year-old increased his production as a senior at St. Cloud State last season and also played for the United States at the Beijing Olympics in 2022. He is now ready to make the transition to professional hockey.

“I was able to arrive in Syracuse at the end of [last season] and now it’s time to work on getting stronger and understanding the little details of the game more,” Perbix said. “The things you need to do to be successful at this level.

Expected arrival in the NHL: next season

Robert M. Larson