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Was Taylor Raddysh propped up by superior players or is he good in his own right?

Here’s a hint: he’s good.

Sweden v Canada: Gold Medal Game - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

For Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh, a lot of talk went around last summer about whether he was good in his own right or if he was being held up by a couple of superior players. Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome are both dynamic, offensive players that played along side Raddysh for the Erie Otters in 2016-17.

Raddysh was drafted in the second round, 58th overall by the Lightning in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 19 spots after DeBrincat was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks. Strome was the third-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. In his draft year, Raddysh put up 24 goals and 73 points a year after putting up 21 goals and 27 points in his rookie OHL season.

Raddysh followed that up with a 42 goal campaign with 109 points for the OHL Champions, earning a spot in the 2017 Memorial Cup. In the Memorial Cup, he added five more goals and 11 points over the five game tournament as they fell short in winning the Memorial Cup to the Windsor Spitfires.

This season, with DeBrincat and Strome both moving on to the professional ranks, Raddysh was left as the big man on a now depleted Erie Otters squad. To give that a little perspective, DeBrincat had scored at least 50 goals and 100 points in three straight OHL seasons. This season with the Chicago Blackhawks, he’s contributed 14 goals and 28 points in 45 games. Strome’s professional career has gotten off to a rockier start with the Arizona Coyotes with just one goal in 11 games in the NHL in 2017-18 and 17 goals and 40 points in 25 games for their AHL affiliate.

Besides DeBrincat and Strome, the Otters also lost Taylor’s brother Darren Raddysh, Kyle Pettit, TJ Fergus, and Warren Foegele from their top 10 scorers. Only Raddysh, Ivan Lodnia, Kyle Maksimovich, and Jordan Sambrook returned from the previous season’s top 10 scorers.

Raddysh was leading the Otters with 44 points in 30 games before he left for the World Junior Championships. His scoring rate was down from the previous season with the Otters, but he was carrying a large offensive load for the team. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the WJC and did not return to Erie at the completion of the tournament because he was traded to the OHL favorites Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Since joining fellow Team Canada linemate and Lightning prospect Boris Katchouk, Raddysh has put up four goals and nine points in just three games.

Raddysh is out there proving that he is more than just a passenger of DeBrincat and Strome. At 6’2” and 207 pounds, he has NHL size. He uses his body well and knows where to go on the ice. With the Greyhounds, Raddysh has a very good chance of getting another crack at winning a Memorial Cup. His projection remains that of a middle-six right winger that plays a good two-way game and can contribute on both special teams units. A right handed Alex Killorn is fairly close comparison for the way he could play in the NHL.