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2019 Post-Draft Prospect Rankings


The 2018-2019 regular season has come and gone and it was the best season in Lightning history. Then the playoffs happened. A funny thing happened on the way to lifting the Cup and it happened so fast the only thing most Lightning fans remember was the culprit was wearing a blue jacket and John Tortorella was giddy.

The Lightning took the first step to putting both the good and bad of the 2018-2019 season behind them this past week with the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Tampa Bay added seven prospects to the farm, and some were bigger than others. But where does Nolan Foote, Max Cajkovic, and others fit into the current stable of youngsters? Glad you asked. We’ve added the newbies into the existing group to come up with our post-draft rankings.

As usual, a refresher is in order about the rules of the rankings. Only players under the age of 24 on opening night of the regular season are eligible to be ranked. Skaters with 41 NHL games in a single season or a total of 82 career NHL games are considered graduated and are ineligible to be ranked. Goaltenders with 30 decisions in a single NHL season or 41 career NHL decisions are also considered graduated. Finally, NCAA-based players are eligible for the rankings for the duration of their college careers, irrespective of their age. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Consult your doctor if … nevermind.

And away we go…

Lightning Make Martel Extension Official

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Danick Martel to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Martel, 5-foot-8, 176 pounds, played in nine games with the Lightning last season, recording two assists. He also skated in four games for Tampa Bay’s top affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and recorded one assist. Martel was claimed off waivers by the Bolts from the Philadelphia Flyers on September 22, 2018.

The Drummondville, Quebec native has played in 13 career NHL games between the Lightning and the Flyers, recording two assists. He has also appeared in 203 career AHL games with the Crunch and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, notching 68 goals and 121 points with a plus-19 rating. Martel has also skated in 18 career Calder Cup Playoff games, all with the Phantoms, and registered five goals with nine points.

Martel, 24, was originally undrafted and was signed by Philadelphia as a free agent on March 10, 2015.

Bolts Sign Gemel Smith to One Year, Two-Way Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Gemel (juh-MEHL) Smith to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.

Smith, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, played in 17 games last season with the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, recording two goals and three points. He also played in 47 games with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, notching 16 goals and 40 points. Smith also skated in two Calder Cup Playoff games. He was claimed off waivers by Boston from Dallas on December 6, 2018.

The Toronto, Ontario native has played in 80 career NHL games with the Stars and Bruins, registering 11 goals and 20 points. He established career highs of six goals and 11 points in 46 games with Dallas during the 2017-18 season. Smith has played in 233 career AHL games with the Bruins and Texas Stars, amassing 51 goals and 126 points. He has also played in five career Calder Cup Playoff games.

Smith, 25, was selected by Dallas in the fourth round, 13th overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Bolts Re-Sign AHL Goal and Point Leader to One-Year Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Carter Verhaeghe to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Verhaeghe, 23, played in 76 games with the Syracuse Crunch during the 2018-19 season, recording 34 goals and 82 points to go along with 34 penalty minutes and a plus-26 rating. The Toronto, Ontario native led the Crunch for points and assists (48) last season, while also pacing the AHL for goals and points. He was also one of two players to appear in all 76 games last season (Cal Foote). Verhaeghe also skated in four Calder Cup Playoff games in 2019, notching a goal and six points.

The 6-foot-1, 181-pound forward has skated in 211 career AHL games with the Crunch, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Toronto Marlies over five seasons, recording 73 goals and 175 points. Verhaeghe set career highs for games played, goals, assists and points during the 2018-19 season.

Verhaeghe was acquired by the Lightning from the New York Islanders in exchange for goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis on July 1, 2017.

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