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Craig, Ryan

Ryan Craig


Out of Organization
Abbotsford, BC
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 8 (#255) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Projects As: 
Third line forward

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Draft Year: 
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Pick No.: 
Draft Team: 
Brandon (WHL)


Contract Status: 
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Eligible
Signing Date: 
Contract Type: 
Contract Length: 
2 years
Cap Number: 
$787 500
Contract Start Year: 
Contract End Status: 
$775 000
$800 000




  • CHL - Humanitarian Player of the Year (Canadian Major Junior)
  • WHL - Humanitarian of the Year


Junior Career

Craig's long and storied junior career began in 1997-98 after the Brandon Wheat Kings selected him in the 2nd round, 34th overall, of the 1997 WHL Bantam Draft. Although he only played one game at the major junior level that year, it was the beginning of a career that would span six seasons and see Craig crowned as one of the most decorated players in Wheat Kings history. After two decent seasons as a 16 and 17 year old, Craig exploded in 2000-2001 with 38 goals and 71 points in 70 games. That year he was named the Brandon Wheat Kings MVP, a distinction he would hold each of the following two seasons as well. In the summer of 2001 he was invited to attend the Canadian U-20 junior developmental camp. The following 2001-2002 season he scored 29 goals and 64 points in 52 games before suffering a career threatening knee injury. Despite the injury, the Lightning selected Craig in the 8th round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After rehabbing his knee, Craig returned in the 2002-2003 season and took the WHL by storm as an overage player scoring 42 goals and 74 points in 60 games. Craig was named the captain of the WHL's Eastern Conference All-Stars for the CHL Hershey Cup and later was named to the First Team All-WHL team. Craig was also the recipient of the WHL Humanitarian of the Year award as his work with the community of Brandon was a central staple of his junior career.

Professional Career

In the summer of 2003 Craig signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and attended his first training camp, after which he was initially placed with Pensacola of the ECHL. Craig's reputation as a leader preceeded him and he was immediatly named an assistant captain. His stay in the ECHL was brief, however, as Craig scored 8 points in 5 games with Pensacola and was named ECHL Player of the Week before being promptly promoted to the team's split affiliate in Hershey of the AHL. Craig played parts of his rookie season in Hershey on a line with veterans Eric Perrin and Shane Willis, but soon settled into a checking line role and finished the year with just 12 points in 61 games. It wasn't until the 2004-2005 lockout season with the Lightning's new full affiliate in Springfield of the AHL that Craig would fully blossom. Craig was named assistant captain of the team and responded by leading the club in scoring with 27 goals and 41 points in 80 games. At year's end he was named the Falcons' Best Player, Best Defensive Player and Most Popular Player. When the lockout lifted in 2005 and he returned to Lightning camp however he was among the first cuts and returned to Springfield where he was named team captain. Craig stayed with the Falcons for 28 games amassing 12 goals and 22 points before being recalled by the Lightning on December 17th, 2005. That night Craig played his first NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings and scored his first NHL goal.

Scouting Report


Craig has good size and balance which makes him nearly impossible to move off the puck down low in the offensive zone. He shows no fear in driving the net or going into high traffic areas. He also possesses a sixth sense for positioning himself in close to tip shots and pounce on rebounds. Has a pinpoint accurate snap shot and one of the quickest releases in the organization. His character, work ethic and leadership skills are beyond reproach.


The knee injury suffered during Craig's junior career made questionable skating even worse. Craig's lack of speed renders him not much of a threat off the rush. It also puts him at an advantage in puck pursuit and coverage situations, but thus far he seems to be smart enough to compensate with smart positioning. Still, Craig's lack of mobility means he will probably spend the majority of his career at left wing as opposed to his junior position of center.


The Lightning believe Craig is a future captain. Expect him to grow into the role vacated by the departure of Dave Andreychuk manning the front of the net on the power play, the penalty kill and the third line at even strength. Will also spot on the scoring lines when the situation requires it. Bolt Prospects sees Craig as somewhat in the Rob Zamuner mold, although he will score more due to his quick release and better hockey sense in the offensive zone. A potential 20 goal 40+ point player every year.


Player statistics powered by

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 1997-1998 Abbotsford MercurysMidget80 118 120238 110|        
  Brandon Wheat KingsWHL1 0 00 0|        
 1998-1999 Brandon Wheat KingsWHL54 11 1223 46|Playoffs5 0 00
 1999-2000 Brandon Wheat KingsWHL65 17 1936 40|        
 2000-2001 Brandon Wheat KingsWHL70 38 3371 49|Playoffs6 3 03
 2001-2002 Brandon Wheat KingsWHL52 29 3564 52|Playoffs19 11 1021 13 
 2002-2003 Brandon Wheat KingsWHL60 42 3274 69|Playoffs17 5 813 29 
 2003-2004 Hershey BearsAHL61 4 812 24|        
  Pensacola Ice PilotsECHL5 3 58 0|Playoffs2 0 11
 2004-2005 Springfield FalconsAHL80 27 1441 50|        
 2005-2006 Tampa Bay LightningNHL48 15 1328 6|Playoffs5 0 00 10 
  Springfield FalconsAHL28 12 1022 14|        
 2006-2007 Tampa Bay LightningNHL72 14 1327 55|Playoffs6 0 00 12 
 2007-2008 Tampa Bay LightningNHL7 1 12 0|        
  Norfolk AdmiralsAHL2 1 23 2|        
 2008-2009 Tampa Bay LightningNHL54 2 46 60|        
 2009-2010 Tampa Bay LightningNHL3 0 00 5|        
  Norfolk AdmiralsAHL73 23 2245 64|        
 2010-2011 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL6 0 00 22|      -
  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton PenguinsAHL71 19 2948 84|Playoffs12 3 47 12 
 2011-2012 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton PenguinsAHL68 11 1930 70|Playoffs12 1 34
 2012-2013 Springfield FalconsAHL75 20 2747 71|Playoffs8 2 24
 2013-2014 Columbus Blue JacketsNHL6 0 00 0|        
  Springfield FalconsAHL55 18 1533 52|Playoffs5 4 15
 2014-2015 Columbus Blue JacketsNHL2 0 00 0|        
  Springfield FalconsAHL67 17 2037 60|        
 2015-2016 Cleveland MonstersAHL60 9 1120 38|Playoffs17 3 1013
 2016-2017 Cleveland MonstersAHL71 11 1122 25|        

Player statistics ©

Boutin, Egener, Others Not Qualified

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning has tendered qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Craig, Justin Fletcher, and Jay Rosehill, thus retaining the club's rights on these players.

Qualifying offers were not tendered to former second round pick Mike Egener, goaltender and former third rounder Jonathan Boutin, Zbynek Hrdel, Marek Kvapil, Ryan Munce, and recently acquired defenseman Mario Scalzo Jr., making them unrestricted free agents. Kvapil and Scalzo, along with Stanislav Lascek, had already signed contracts to play with European teams next season.

For more information, including news of a possible new contract for Vincent Lecavalier and Marc Denis' buyout, click here.

HF- "Lets Just Pretend Mike Lundin Doesn't Exist"

What gives HF? Seriously.

Look, we're long past the point of expecting anything resembling objectivity considering one of your top writers was once quoted as claiming Blair Jones was "trash" because he was a 4th round pick, but can you guys at least acknowledge that Mike Lundin (another 4th round pick, so I guess that makes him "trash" too) has made the NHL? Is that really too much to ask?

Jancevski Down, MacDonald Up

On Sunday, the Lightning sent defenseman Dan Jancevski back down to Norfolk of the AHL. Today, as a response to the knee injury Ryan Craig suffered against New Jersey, the team has recalled center Craig MacDonald.

Norfolk embarks on a 4 game in 5 night road trip on Wednesday against Albany.

NHL Game Night 11/10: Lightning at Capitals

Back to .500 with a chance to pull within at least 4 points in the division next week.


Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots faced in the win.

First Period

Second Period
Tampa Bay 12:30, Filip Kuba 2 (power play) (Michel Ouellet, Vincent Lecavalier)
Washington 18:20, Alexander Ovechkin 11 (Mike Green, Tom Poti)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 1:29, Vaclav Prospal 11 (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 2:27, Martin St. Louis 5 (Vaclav Prospal, Brad Lukowich)
Tampa Bay 12:22, Ryan Craig 1 (power play) (Vaclav Prospal, Chris Gratton)
Washington 15:26, Tomas Fleischmann 4 (Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov)
Tampa Bay 19:39, Paul Ranger 2 (empty net) (Brad Richards)

AHL Game Night 11/7: Bears at Admirals

Ryan Craig is back!


Jonathan Boutin stopped 36 of 39 shots faced in the win. The more work he gets, the better he plays.

First Period
HER Motzko, (2) (McNeill, Pollock), 12:05 (PP)
NOR Lampman, (2) (Jones, Wanvig), 13:52 (PP)
NOR Milley, (2) (Stewart), 14:32

Second Period
HER Motzko, (3) (Robitaille, Pokulok), 10:36
HER Motzko, (4) (Klepis, Potulny), 14:24 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Keller, (1) (Mihalik, Jancevski), 8:14 (PP)
NOR Craig, (1) (Lawrence, Schneider), 11:23
NOR Rooneem, (1) (Craig, Jancevski), 18:52 (PP) [/b]

Craig and Norm Milley were the first and third stars of the game, respectively.

Justin Keller finally breaks through for his first goal of the season. At least 19 more of those would be nice.

Game sheet from

Possible Conditioning Stint In Craig's Future

Erik Erlendsson of the Trib reports that Bolt Prospects alumni Ryan Craig, who is recovering from a back injury, may be sent down to Norfolk of the AHL for a conditioning stint before returning to the lineup for the Lightning. Craig last played in the AHL during the 2005-2006 campaign when he scored 12 goals and 22 points in 28 games for the Springfield Falcons.

NHL Preseason Game Night 9/24: Red Wings at Lightning

Kind of a mixed bag in this game.


Karri Ramo stopped 20 of 23 shots faced for the win. He was hung out to dry on the Wings two early goals but did manage to retain composure and made some key stops in the second before surrendering a soft goal in the third. More good than bad.

Martin St. Louis potted a pair of goals with double assists going to Jason Ward and Brad Richards. Andre Roy and Andreas Karlsson also had goals. Vaclav Prospal, Craig MacDonald, and Filip Kuba all had individual helpers.

Big winner of the night: Craig MacDonald who probably just made the Lightning's opening night roster by virtue of Ryan Craig's slipped back disc. He had an assist and was +1 with 3 shots on goal to celebrate.

The other big winner of the night: the Lightning power play which might've found a temporary solution with Martin St. Louis filling in for Dan Boyle on the point.

Finally, for the winners, Mike Lundin gets 12:02 of ice time with one shot on goal. However humble that might be, it was more than Janik and Lampman got tonight. The door may be open for Matt Smaby to charge back into the race now if he can play a strong, confident game Thursday night.

I wouldn't label any losers in this game although the quest for Ramo, Mathieu Darche, and Kyle Wanvig looks to be coming to a close. Ramo and Darche look like strong possibilities for recall down the road though.

Box score and extended stats from

In and Out

Erik Erlendsson blogs on who the Lightning will and won't qualify before July 1st according to Jay Feaster. Note: this isn't a complete list.

IN: Paul Ranger, Ryan Craig, Karl Stewart, Mike Egener, Mitch Fritz

OUT: Doug Janik, Brady Greco, John Toffey, Morgan Cey, Adam Henrich

Analysis on the flip.

NHL Playoff Game Day 4/22: Devils at Lightning

This is a tough pill to swallow. For the first time in franchise history the team has lost a series where I really believed they were the better team.


Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 26 shots in the loss. He did allow a bit of a softie on the short side for Jersey's first goal, but he was good. After his horrible Game One performance, I think Johan did a lot to regain the confidence of the franchise going into an offseason where decisions need to be made concerning the netminder's job. Brad Richards had both Lightning goals on the power play. Filip Kuba had a pair of assists in the game to atone for accidentally knocking over Holmqvist after a Tim Taylor turnover that resulted in the game winning goal. Vaclav Prospal and Vincent Lecavalier also had assists.

Going into the offseason, I feel a lot better about the team's blueline than I did 3-4 months ago. Dan Boyle is one of the best defensemen in the league and Filip Kuba earned every penny of his free agent deal from this summer. I was impressed with how Shane O'Brien quickly factored into the mix and Paul Ranger will be approaching 250-300 pro games by the end of next season so he should start to really hit his comfort zone as a player. It will be difficult if not impossible to retain Cory Sarich and the team might do well to find a younger, more mobile replacement for Nolan Pratt. Now is the time for one of the Lightning's young defensive prospects like Matt Smaby or Vladimir Mihalik or Mike Egener to step up as a player.

In net, Holmqvist probably did enough in the playoffs to earn the starting job going into next season. Marc Denis' nearly $3M per year contract is unsustainable from a budget standpoint and he may be traded or even bought out before next season. That leaves young Karri Ramo in the Lightning's backup role and, mark my words, he could be a Calder contender next season.

I think the most amount of work for this team needs to be done up front this summer. Lecavalier, Richards and St. Louis showed why they're paid premium dollars in this playoff series. The core is sound. The supporting cast, however, is horrible. There was no greater endictment of the Lightning's lack of offensive depth than the fact Andreas Karlsson spent all of today's game playing on the Lightning's second line and second power play unit. What do you do if you're the Lightning? That's got to be the biggest question of this offseason. They have some decent fourth line type pieces (Andre Roy, Nick Tarnasky, Evgeny Artyukhin) and some decent third line type pieces (Ryan Craig, Eric Perrin, Jason Ward should they retain him). The question is whether they can find a couple of more forwards with the skill to play on the scoring lines and possibly a natural third line center.

It's going to be an interesting offseason. If I was a young forward who hasn't fully established himself as a scorer in the league, I'd take a long hard look at Tampa. I have a feeling Lecavalier and Richards could make some young man a lot of money if they latch on here.

Game sheet from

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