The 2018 World Junior Championships wrapped up last week with four Tampa Bay Lightning prospects bringing home gold medals. The last couple of tournaments in particular, there have been jokes made about Team Canada being “Team Tampa Bay” due to the number of Lightning prospects making the team. The number of prospects, and medals won, for the Lightning in this tournament speaks to the skill they’ve displayed in the NHL Entry Draft.
With four more medals in the trophy case, let’s go through each of Yzerman’s drafts since the 2011 NHL Entry draft to see just how much success the Lightning’s prospects have had in junior level international tournaments. Medal and game counts are only counted for after a prospect was drafted.
2011 NHL Entry Draft
Russia: Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Nesterov
- Kucherov - 14 GP (two WJCs), 7G-8A-15P, Silver and Bronze Medals
- Nesterov - 14 GP (two WJCs), 2G-7A-9P, Silver and Bronze Medals
Total Count: 28GP, 0 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze.
2012 NHL Entry Draft
Russia: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Switzerland: Tanner Richard
- Vasilevskiy - 10 GP (two WJCs), 1.81 and 1.83 GAA, .950 and .933 SV%. 2 Bronze Medals
- Richard - 6 GP, 0G-4A-4P.
Total Count: 44GP, 0 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze.
2013 NHL Entry Draft
Canada: Jonathan Drouin
USA: Adam Erne
Finland: Henri Ikonen
- Drouin - 7GP, 3G-6A-9P
- Erne - 5GP, 0G-1A-1P
- Ikonen - 7GP, 1G-2A-3P. Gold Medal
Total Count: 63GP, 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze.
2014 NHL Entry Draft
USA: Anthony DeAngelo
Czech Republic: Dominik Masin
Canada: Brayden Point
- DeAngelo - 5GP, 2G-1A-3P
- Masin - 10GP (two WJCs), 1G-2A-3P
- Point - 12GP (two WJCs), 3G-6A-11P. Gold Medal
Total Count: 90GP, 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
2015 NHL Entry Draft
Canada: Mitchell Stephens, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph
- Stephens - 10GP (two WJCs), 3G-4A-7P. Silver Medal
- Cirelli - 7GP, 3G-4A-7P. Silver Medal
- Joseph - 7GP, 1G-4A-5P. Silver Medal
Total Count: 114 GP, 2 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze
2016 NHL Entry Draft
Canada: Brett Howden, Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Connor Ingram
Czech Republic: Libor Hajek
- Howden - 7GP, 3G-4A-7P. Gold Medal
- Katchouk - 7GP, 3G-3A-6P. Gold Medal
- Raddysh - 14GP (two WJCs), 7G-4A-11P. Gold and Silver Medals
- Ingram - 4GP, 2.57 GAA, .833 SV%. Silver Medal
- Hajek - 7GP, 1G-7A-8P.
Total Count: 153 GP, 5 Gold, 7 Silver, 4 Bronze
2017 NHL Entry Draft
Canada: Cal Foote
- Foote - 7GP, 0G-3A-3P. Gold Medal
Total Count: 160 GP. 6 Gold, 7 Silver, 4 Bronze.
The Lightning still have a handful of players that will be on the radar to play in the World Junior Championships in 2019. How many will be dependent on the Bolts’ draft picks next summer as their 2016 draft class, plus Cal Foote from the 2017 draft class, will age out of the U20 group by then. From the 2017 draft class, Alexei Lipanov is the only player that is likely to be a possibility and was in camp for Team Russia for this year’s tournament.
The Lightning have put a lot of prospects into the tournament that past few seasons, and it does look like that may slow down for the next year or two. But you never know what kind of talent Yzerman and Al Murray could find in the 2018 draft class that will be on their way to the World Junior Championships next December.