Ryan Craig

Basics

Type: 
Out of Organization
Position: 
Center
Shoots/Catches: 
Left
Height: 
6.02
Weight: 
220
Born: 
01/06/1982
Age: 
32
Hometown: 
Abbotsford, BC
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 8 (#255) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Springfield (AHL)
Projects As: 
Third line forward
Depth Chart Weight: 
9
Grad Date: 
04/03/2006

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2002
Draft Type: 
NHL Entry Draft
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
8
Pick No.: 
255
Draft Team: 
Brandon (WHL)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Unsigned
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Eligible
Signing Date: 
07/02/2008
Contract Type: 
One-way
Contract Length: 
2 years
Cap Number: 
$787 500
Contract Start Year: 
2008
Contract End Status: 
UFA
Salary: 
$775 000
Salary: 
$800 000

Bio

Awards: 

2002-2004

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

History: 

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

Strengths: 

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.

Weaknesses: 

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.

Projection: 

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.

Statistics

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 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 Pensacola Ice PilotsECHL5 3 58 0|Playoffs2 0 11
  Hershey BearsAHL61 4 812 24|        
 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 Springfield FalconsAHL3 1 01 5|        

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com