Top 25 Under 25, #12 Jake Dotchin looks towards his first full season in the NHL

The expectation is that Jake Dotchin will spend the entire season with the Lightning

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the RawCharge writing staff. Four writers, plus a special guest, ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2017 in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked, plus Honorable Mentions.

Want to weigh in? Post your own fan ranking here!

Jake Dotchin was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2012 Entry Draft. He went in the 6th round, 161st overall. The Canadian defenseman is 23 years old and will be playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning this fall.

Dotchin’s accelerated development was one of the better results that came about thanks to the Lightning’s injury bug last season. Recalled to the Lightning from Syracuse for the first time on January 21st, Dotchin was only expected to be with Tampa for a short time. However, his grit and skill impressed so much that he ended up playing with the Lightning for the remainder of their regular season. He eventually worked his way up to the first pairing alongside Victor Hedman.

Dotchin registered his first NHL point, an assist, on January 31st. He played a total of 35 games in the NHL last season. Before he was recalled to the Lightning, Dotchin had been an anchor on the Crunch’s blue line, and was returned to Syracuse for the Calder Cup playoffs. In all, Dotchin has played in 179 career AHL contests since 2014 (including playoffs), recording 11 goals and 50 points. His totals include six power-play goals.

Dotchin is now well-known around the NHL for his spirited, physical game. He had some discipline issues while with the Lightning, and was suspended for three games during the AHL playoffs for a questionable hit on Frederik Gauthier. Keeping his emotions under control going forward should be a goal of his.

Dotchin’s ranking by our contributors is interesting. I’ve had the privilege of watching him develop in Syracuse. The experiences and situations I’ve seen him go through influenced my higher ranking. However, his usage with the Lightning was mostly next to one of the most talented defensemen in the NHL. Many, including Geo and Tom, are conservative in their projections because of the unknown: How will he perform in other situations with other players?

Dotchin’s current contract, signed this summer, is for two years. It is a one-way contract for both years with an AAV of $812,500. The signing of defenseman Dan Girardi might complicate Dotchin’s role with the Lightning this upcoming season. However, Dotchin is now waiver-eligible, and most feel he would not make it through without being picked up. Because of that, his chances of being sent down are probably slim-to-none.