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31 in 31

Top prospects for Tampa Bay Lightning

Callan Foote to get more work in AHL; Volkov might make impact in NHL this season

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to


[Lightning 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]


1. Callan Foote, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 14 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Syracuse (AHL): 76 GP, 10-21-31

Foote is the total package in terms of size (6-foot-4, 221 pounds), skill and hockey smarts. The 20-year-old had a successful first season as a pro in the American Hockey League, where he quickly proved to be a two-way force adept at different roles.

The signing of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Aug. 5, four days after his contract was bought out by the New York Rangers, makes it likely Foote will play in the AHL again this season. But there is little doubt he will be a major part of Tampa Bay's future.

"I think he's got way more confidence in himself," Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx told "I think his mindset is way better. I think when he goes out there and he makes a bad play, it's turn the page and he's ready to play the next shift. It's something that I believe he's developed well over the year. So stronger mentally, and he's faster, he's more assertive, and he's become a very reliable defenseman for us this year. "

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: Lightning draft D Callan Foote No. 14


2. Alexander Volkov, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 48 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Syracuse (AHL): 74 GP, 23-25-48

Volkov's second AHL season produced nearly identical numbers as his first (45 points; 23 goals, 22 assists) in 2017-18. The 22-year-old played in a top-six role, mostly on a line with veteran forwards Cory Conacher and Gabriel Dumont.

The Lightning believe Volkov (6-1, 192) eventually will be a top-six forward for them. He'll get a chance to prove he's ready for the NHL during training camp. 

Projected NHL arrival: This season


3. Alex Barre-Boulet, F

How acquired: Signed as free agent on March 1, 2018

Last season: Syracuse (AHL): 74 GP, 34-34-68

Barre-Boulet (5-10, 170) is hoping to continue the trend of undersized forwards who have great success with the Lightning, in the mold of Yanni Gourde (5-9, 172), Tyler Johnson (5-8, 183) and Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis (5-8, 180). The 22-year-old led AHL rookies in points last season (sixth overall) and tied teammate Carter Verhaeghe for most goals in the league. 

Barre-Boulet will enter training camp with a shot at an NHL roster spot but likely will need another season in Syracuse to increase his strength. 

"I always say the same thing," Tampa Bay general manager Julien BriseBois told the Athletic, "what guides our decisions is that we have an identity, and Barre-Boulet fits our identity. He has the speed, the hockey sense, he can play with the pace that we want. He's a good guy, he works hard."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season


4. Carter Verhaeghe, F

How acquired: Trade from New York Islanders on July 1, 2017

Last season: Syracuse (AHL): 76 GP, 34-48-82

Verhaeghe became the first Syracuse player to win the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL leading scorer last season. Selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round (No. 82) of the 2013 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old switched from center to wing with Syracuse in 2017-18.

With his versatility, size (6-1, 181) and experience, Verhaeghe has top-nine forward potential and is one of the favorites among Tampa Bay's prospects to earn a roster spot during training camp. 

Projected NHL arrival: This season


5. Gabriel Fortier, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 59 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Syracuse (AHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0; Baie-Comeau (QMJHL): 68 GP, 35-48-83

Fortier (5-10, 170) improved his numbers across the board in his third season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was called up to the AHL late last season and played in one game in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The 19-year-old will return to juniors for another season to add size and get stronger.

"We're very excited with where he's at," Lightning assistant general manager and director of player personnel Stacy Roest said. "He works hard. Every one of the coaches and teammates we talk to … pick someone you would go to war with, and he's one of the guys."

Projected NHL arrival: 2022-23

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