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Tampa Bay Lightning 2019 Top 25 Under 25 Recap: The full list, where we agreed, where we disagreed

Taylor Raddysh was a hot spot for the staff.

NHL: SEP 19 Preseason - Hurricanes at Lightning
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Taylor Raddysh (46) during the NHL preseason game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 19, 2017, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back to another season! Training camp is in the air, RFAs are blooming for a new contract, and people are losing their minds over optional skate line rushes. In our unofficial final post of the summer, here’s a recap of the 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning Top 25 Under 25 prospect rankings.

The voting and research was a lot of fun this year and I can’t wait to see how the players on and off our list perform this season. We had some big movers last summer (which we’ll talk about) and some disagreements between the writers and with the readers.

The List

2019 Top 25 Under 25 Ranking Breakdown

Name Position Age Final Rank Writer Rank Reader Rank 2018 Rank
Name Position Age Final Rank Writer Rank Reader Rank 2018 Rank
Brayden Point C 23 1 1 1 2
Mikhail Sergachev LD 21 2 2 3 3
Anthony Cirelli C 22 3 3 2 5
Cal Foote RD 20 4 4 6 4
Erik Cernak RD 22 5 5 4 11
Taylor Raddysh RW 21 6 6 10 6
Mathieu Joseph LW 22 7 8 5 7
Alex Volkov LW 21 8 9 8 10
Boris Katchouk LW 21 9 7 14 9
Alex Barre-Boulet C 22 10 10 9 17
Adam Erne LW 24 11 11 7 8
Carter Verhaeghe C 23 12 13 11 20
Nolan Foote LW 18 13 12 15 New
Mitchell Stephens C 22 14 14 12 13
Gabriel Fortier LW 19 15 15 18 25
Dominik Masin RD 23 16 16 16 15
Sammy Walker C 20 17 19 17 NR
Radim Salda LD 20 18 17 NR NR
Dennis Yan LW 22 19 20 19 19
Maxim Cajkovic RW 18 20 18 25 New
Danick Martel LW 24 21 25 13 New
Cole Guttman C 20 22 21 NR NR
Ryan Lohin C 23 23 22 NR NR
Cole Koepke C 21 24 23 NR NR
Ross Colton C 22 25 24 23 NR

Here’s the link to the document with all the vote tallies on it in case it’s hard to read.

2019 Top 25 Under 25 Writers Votes

Name Alan Alex Justin Geo Matt Acha Lauren Hardev Igor Tracey
Name Alan Alex Justin Geo Matt Acha Lauren Hardev Igor Tracey
Brayden Point 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Mikhail Sergachev 2 3 3 2 2 3 2 2 3 2
Anthony Cirelli 3 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 3
Cal Foote 7 5 6 5 4 8 5 4 5 5
Erik Cernak 4 9 5 4 7 5 7 8 4 7
Taylor Raddysh 5 12 13 7 5 4 4 6 6 4
Mathieu Joseph 8 6 9 9 8 6 8 5 8 6
Alex Volkov 12 10 7 6 11 11 11 13 10 10
Boris Katchouk 6 4 4 14 6 7 6 7 7 8
Alex Barre-Boulet 10 8 8 11 9 14 9 17 9 9
Adam Erne 11 13 11 12 10 10 12 10 11 11
Carter Verhaeghe 15 7 10 15 13 16 14 11 14 12
Nolan Foote 9 11 14 8 15 9 10 9 12 14
Mitchell Stephens 14 16 12 10 12 12 13 18 13 13
Gabriel Fortier 13 14 15 13 16 13 15 14 15 16
Dominik Masin 17 15 17 14 15 18 12 16 15
Sammy Walker 20 18 19 18 20 23 16 17
Radim Salda 18 19 16 20 17 19 19 21 19 19
Dennis Yan 24 17 18 24 23 19 21 24 18 18
Maxim Cajkovic 16 22 22 16 21 17 17 19 17 22
Danick Martel 25 24 17 22 20 20
Cole Guttman 19 23 19 18 18 25 24
Ryan Lohin 22 20 20 19 21 22 23 25
Cole Koepke 21 24 21 23 24 22 20 23 21
Ross Colton 21 23 22 25 20 22 21 24
Oleg Sosunov 25
Otto Somppi 16 22 23
Alexey Lipanov 23 24 15 25
Ben Thomas
Dimitri Semykin 20
Jimmy Huntington 25 23 25
Mikhail Shalagin 21
Nick Perbix 25
Quinn Schmiemann 25
Matthew Spencer
Spencer Martin
Hugo Alnefelt 24
Magnus Chrona
Max Crozier
Alex Green
Kristian Oldham
Ty Taylor
McKade Webster
Ryan Zuhlsdorf

Big Movers

There were four players who stood out as jumping up significantly in the rankings from last year to this year. All four are players who either stepped into a significant role in the NHL, or put up massive points in the minor leagues, showing signs of promise in the NHL.

Erik Cernak

Say what you will about how much impact Cernak actually had relative to his partners, but the rookie defenseman was able to step into the top-four and hold his own as a defensive specialist. His jump from 11th to 5th is quite impressive considering some of the high-scoring prospects and solid NHLers that he passed on his way (Raddysh, Katchouk, Erne, Joseph, Volkov). The players below Cernak aren’t quite sure things yet, which is where he got that extra bit of affection.

Alex Barré-Boulet

Now, I think ABB’s leap from 17th to 10th is a bit of an aberration since I believe points are generally overrated, especially in the minors. He and Carter Verhaeghe formed a dynamic duo and the two put up a dominant offensive season for the Syracuse Crunch last year. That said, for an undrafted prospect making the splash he did in his first AHL season is quite an accomplishment. If he can keep his production up — like he’s done all through his junior career — he should only see his top 10 ranking validated.

Carter Verhaeghe

Verhaeghe is on the older side, and won’t be on next year’s T25U25, but his season leading the AHL in scoring was quite impressive. His value came in the form of a possible NHL fit now. He has a pretty good shot in camp this year, despite some of the signings the Lightning made in August.

Gabriel Fortier

After being selected in the third round last season, Fortier didn’t garner much attention from public scouts or the fanbase. He wasn’t close to the NHL, nor was he projected to be a big player in the future. He proved the critics wrong after a jaw-dropping season in the QMJHL, putting up 83 points in 68 games. With that, Fortier jumped from last in last year’s ranking to 15th this year. I think we can all see a path to the NHL for Fortier now. Before, it wasn’t clear if he could put up the points to stick in the pros but last year was as good of an indication as any. On top of that, Fortier will be the captain for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar this season.

Rebellion

In this section I’ll address some of the differences we saw in the reader versus writer rankings. Broadly speaking, I think the readers valued players who were going to help the NHL team now and in whatever way they can above high end prospect potential. That’s why we saw players like Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk fall below where the writers had them. It also meant fourth-liner Adam Erne was ranked 7th by the readers when no writer had him higher than 10th.

Raddysh and Katchouk

These two former Sault Saint Marie Greyhounds have been in the organization for a long time (both drafted in 2016). It’s fair to feel a little stale about these two players as options. They’re not the young and sexy names that they once were. That said, both have steadily developed into very good forwards in junior and in their rookie season in the AHL. Raddysh especially has looked like a very capable power forward. I think both are going to hit the NHL soon, they just need some more time in the AHL to get on top of that level of competition. Both are only 21, they have time.

Blog Warz

Here’s a few examples of where the writers disagreed with each other. I think there was a lot of debate as to what to value more: closeness to NHL vs. high-end talent.

Raddysh

Among the top picks, our two Syracuse Crunch writers Alex and Justin both had Raddysh lower than everyone else, in the low teens instead of around where he ended up. I’m very interested in their take on his play this season and whether it’s a product of the amount of time he needs to develop still. That said, when Lauren wrote the Raddysh article, she argued that he’s close to being ready for NHL duty.

Little Foote

The masthead was quite split on where to rank Nolan Foote. Foote was given top-10 votes by five of us (Alan, Geo, Achariya, Lauren, and myself) with the remaining five (Alex, Justin, Matthew, Igor, and Tracey) all had him in the teens. I think this is a perfect example of potential vs. production. Foote is brand new to the organization and has the potential to be a great player one day, but there is a question mark associated with whether he’ll actually realize that potential. When you’re watching the minors a lot, you see plenty of these players come and go, failing to hit that next level.

Alex Barré-Boulet

Which brings me to my vote on Alex Barre-Boulet. I was quite optimistic on ABB in my report on him. I gave him a much more rosey outlook than my personal vote revealed. Similarly to a player like Jeremy Bracco on the Toronto Marlies (whom I wrote about and got the PPP comments into a frenzy as a result), I worry that there isn’t enough of a full package in order to make the jump to the next level. How much did their linemates affect their points? How developed is their defensive game? Will they be able to contribute to the team without offensive zone starts and power play time? These questions get answered over time, but for now I’m more skeptical than I am optimistic.