It’s official. After sailing through three rounds, some of the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s best young prospects will battle the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) for the title of Calder Cup champions.
While the Syracuse Crunch may not be perfect anymore, they are still extremely dangerous. A lot of that is due to the continued great play of 2013 AHL MVP Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Palat’s 20 points tie him with the now eliminated Mark Arcobello, while Johnson’s 17 points rank second.
Those two aren’t the only threats, however, as Dan Sexton, Mark Barberio and others are beginning to show flashes of greatness. Both Sexton and Barberio have 10 points, the majority of which came during the conference finals.
Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins also seems to be heating up, notching three shutouts in the Crunch’s past two rounds. He’s started all 12 games, putting up a 1.86 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Many Syracuse players saw time with the Lightning this past season, and with former Crunch coach Jon Cooper manning the Tampa Bay bench, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see any one of them crack the 2013-14 opening day roster. Some of these guys were part of the 2012 Calder Cup winning Norfolk Admirals team as well, meaning they have a legitimate chance at joining history by winning back-to-back AHL championships.
Although the Lightning’s season ended in disappointment, another Calder Cup should provide fans with hope for an incredibly bright future.