Bolt Prospects 2006-2007 Preliminary Rankings

The Bolt Prospects staff has completed it's evaluation of the Lightning organization's prospects. The rankings take into account how the players performed last season, their Lightning prospect and Traverse City play, how well they did at Lightning training camp and in exhibition games, as well as their performance at Springfield Falcons camp and in AHL exhibition games. We also factor in a player's potential upside as well as their NHL readiness in reaching our decisions. One note: due to his age, [url=morgan-cey]Morgan Cey[/url] is now classified as an "Overage Prospect" by Bolt Prospects criteria and is not elligible for the Top-25 Rankings. Any player 24 years of age or older on opening night, October 5th, 2006, who has not already graduated as an NHLer is an "Overage Prospect". For skaters, graduation occurs when a player either A.) plays 41 NHL games in a single season or B.) reaches 82 NHL games in their career. With [url=johan-holmqvist]Johan Holmqvist[/url] as the Lightning's backup entering the season, Bolt Prospects is establishing graduation criteria for goaltenders for the first time. For goaltenders, graduation occurs when a player either A.) has 30 decisions in a single season or B.) reaches 41 decisions in their NHL career. [b]Bolt Prospects 2006-2007 Preliminary Rankings[/b] [b]1. D [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: The consensus choice to retain the top spot, Smaby received unanimous first place votes. TIM- "A very strong camp reinforces Smaby as the top prospect in the organization and positions him on the shortlist of possible recalls to Tampa." CHAD- "Smaby is not only positioning himself for a recall this year, but the former UND captain has joined Ryan Craig as a candidate to wear a letter sometime in the future." [/i] [b]2. G [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: Similar to Smaby, Ramo swept all second place votes to move to number two on the Bolt Prospects rankings. PETE- "A Finnish goaltending prodigy who combines excellent athleticism and technical proficiency with composure well beyond his 19 years of age. He is expected to be Springfield's #1 goaltender this season." TIM- "It's not a stretch to think he could be an NHL backup by the All-Star Break." [/i] [b]3. G [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url], Ilves Jr. A (FIN)[/b] [i]Comments: Helenius enters the Bolt Prospects rankings in the three spot after being selected 15th overall in this summer's draft. PETE- "There's little doubt he's a blue chip goaltending prospect. The question is if the Ilves organization is the best place for his development." CHAD- "As my grandmother always says, 'Good things come to those who wait.' Tampa has positioned itself well in net for the future." [/i] [b]4. D [url=vladimir-mihalik]Vladimir Mihalik[/url], Prince George (WHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Mihalik rebounded after a poor first season in North America and his subsequent trade for Red Deer to Prince George by playing well in Traverse City and at Lightning camp." CHAD- "This is a big year for Mihalik. He can establish himself to be among the top defensive prospects in the WHL if he plays with confidence." [/i] [b]5. C/LW [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url], Tampa Bay (NHL)[/b] [i]Comments: It should be noted Tarnasky was touted by Bolt Prospects as a lock to make the Lightning this season in its 2005-2006 Final Rankings. Tarnasky hasn't disappointed. TIM- "Like Ryan Craig, this late rounder will stick on the Tampa roster for good and find himself a prospect alumnus by season's end." PETE- "Tarnasty" plays like his nickname." [/i] [b]6. RW [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "If Kvapil answers questions about his ability to contribute physically along the wall on the forecheck, he's the heir apparent as a scoring liner in Tampa to either Ruslan Fedotenko or Dimitry Afanasenkov, both of whom are free agents at season's end." TIM- "(Kvapil) might grab a cup of coffee in Tampa this season." [/i] [b]7. C [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "No one improved their stock more this summer and fall than Jones. After a brief contract squabble Jones was consistently solid throughout prospect camp, Traverse City, Lightning camp and in exhibition season. Jones will likely play on a scoring line in Springfield with Eric Perrin in Tampa and his 2-way game may make him just a season away from the NHL." CHAD- "With the shortage of top-end offensive centers in the system, Jones is a prized-possession." [/i] [b]8. D [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "(Rogers') first pro season is an important one for Tampa's 2004 first round pick." PETE- "Can he stay healthy?" CHAD- "A great kid with solid tools... but he has to be on the ice." [/i] [b]9. LW [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url], Johnstown (ECHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "(Smolenak) remains one of the organization's most exciting and promising prospects." PETE- "Don't let his assignment to the ECHL fool you, 'Smoke' is a blue chipper. Big men shouldn't be able to handle the puck at top speed as well as Radek can." [/i] [b]10. LW [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Retains Top-10 ranking by making the Springfield squad as a rookie ahead of classmates Smolenak and Stanislav Lascek." CHAD- "Keller is clutch and clutch is everything. Keller rises to the occassion in important games and has the drive to succeed this year in the AHL." [/i] [b]11. D [url=mike-egener]Mike Egener[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Despite a strong camp, questions remains whether this former blueline darling can handle the speed of the NHL game; needs to perform at a high level in Springfield this season and exhibit his advertised leadership qualities." PETE- "Egener did a good job this summer and fall mending fences in the post-Dirk Graham era." [/i] [b]12. RW [url=stanislav-lascek]Stanislav Lascek[/url], Johnstown (ECHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Lascek never got on track in Traverse City and Lightning camp due to an injury. He should be nipping at the heels of several Springfield players for a callup all season." CHAD- "Be patient. Once Lascek figures out what he can and cannot do in the pros, he'll adapt accordingly. Don't underestimate his character." [/i] [b]13. D [url=kevin-quick]Kevin Quick[/url], Salisbury (USHS)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Dan Boyle's heir apparent was unofficial MVP of the Lightning's summer prospect camp, but will he continue to develop playing prep hockey in Connecticut and then at an Ivy League school?" CHAD- "Another case of Lightning fans being rewarded in the future for their patience with a very underrated prospect." [/i] [b]14. D [url=doug-obrien]Doug O'Brien[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Steady and solid development continues but slips in the rankings because of newcomers Helenius and Quick; NHL window may be closing with the arrival of Smaby and Rogers in Springfield." CHAD- "O'Brien will succeed at the AHL level this year, but the key for him is to adapt quickly to the NHL game if he's called up. That was a big difference between O'Brien and Ranger last year." [/i] [b]15. G [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url], Togliatti (RUS)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Could be an NHL starter, if you can get him out of Russia." CHAD- "Russian prospect followers love this towering goaltender - and for good reason." [/i] [b]16. G [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Somehow he managed to beat out the competition for Springfield's backup job. Now, can he hold on to it?" [/i] [b]17. RW [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "The departure of Chris Dingman and a pre-season injury to Rob DiMaio set the table for the gritty Reid to buy a ticket to Tampa; unfortunately for him, he must have left his money in the nightstand beside his bed." PETE- "One of the most entertaining pests in the AHL today." CHAD- "A darkhorse to break out offensively at the AHL level." [/i] [b]18. C/RW [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url], Mississauga (OHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Has finally started to live up to his potential since joining the Ice Dogs." CHAD- "Once viewed as a weakness, Lawrence's character is catching up to his quality skill-set." [/i] [b]19. G [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url], Johnstown (ECHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Unable to distinguish himself amid the cluttered goaltending scene within Tampa's system, Coleman finds himself exiled to Johnstown with overage prospect Morgan Cey." CHAD- "Still a prime candidate to succeed under Jeff Reese, but he has to seize the opportunity to show it." [/i] [b]20. LW [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Has some tools, needs the toolbox." [/i] [b]21. LW [url=marek-bartanus]Marek Bartanus[/url], Owen Sound (OHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Promising camp performances and a good start to his second campaign in Owen Sound warrant a debut in the Top-25; improving his conditioning ethic might earn him a pro contract next summer." PETE- "No one has ever doubted the big Slovak's talent. Now he's starting to live up to his promise." [/i] [b]22. D [url=mike-lundin]Mike Lundin[/url], Maine (HEAST)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "With Smaby turning pro, Lundin becomes the only ranked Tampa prospect in the NCAA; he has all the raw materials, but will he have a pro contract come next summer?" CHAD- "Lundin can be one of the best two-way defensemen in Hockey East this year as a senior. He almost needs to be to land that contract." [/i] [b]23. D [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Stay at homer showing more poise and confidence in his sophomore campaign." [/i] [b]24. RW [url=andre-deveaux]Andre Deveaux[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Back in Springfield, but for how long?" [/i] [b]25. D [url=dane-crowley]Dane Crowley[/url], Swift Current (WHL)[/b] [i]Comments: TIM- "Second year Swift Current defenseman made enough noise in camp to be noticed; will compete with Lundin for a pro contract next summer." CHAD- "I haven't been able to find anyone from Swift Current who can say a bad thing about Crowley." [/i] [b]Honorable Mention (Others Receiving Votes): LW/C [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url], Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Comments: PETE- "Henrich is on his third, and last, chance." [/i] [b]Moved to Overage Status:[/b] [i]Cey[/i] [b]New Additions:[/b] [i]Helenius, Quick, Bartanus, Crowley[/i] [b]Subtractions:[/b] [i]Polushin, Beech, Henrich[/i]