Lightning’s farm system ranked No. 1 by Hockey Prospectus


The past season was ugly and the present looks murky, but if Hockey Prospectus’ 2013 organizational rankings are any indication, the future could be awfully bright for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bolts took the No. 1 spot on a list released Monday, thanks in part to drafting Jonathan Drouin third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Corey Pronman writes that GM Steve Yzerman has helped build “the best system in the NHL.”

Two of the top five teams managed to make the playoffs, though their successes surprised some:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. New York Islanders
3. Buffalo Sabres
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. Florida Panthers

Stanley Cup champion Chicago ranked ninth.

On the other end of the spectrum, two of the bottom five teams missed the postseason:

26. San Jose Sharks
27. Los Angeles Kings
28. New Jersey Devils
29. Philadelphia Flyers
30. St. Louis Blues

Want some insight on where your favorite (and most hated) teams ranked and why? Click here.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: