Pete Choquette's blog
Now that the new affiliation agreement between the Lightning and the Norfolk Admirals is in place, I want to take this opportunity to welcome Ads fans to Bolt Prospects. I've seen a lot of questions being asked around the internet about the Lightning's minor league system and their previous affiliations in the AHL. I would encourage anyone who has questions to poke around Bolt Prospects. Check the blog archives for stories and game reviews. And, by all means, feel free to register here at Bolt Prospects and talk to the growing community of Lightning fans.
For those wanting to know even more, I would recommend spending some time here on Bolt Prospects thumbing through the player profiles on the Prospects page. Bolt Prospects prides itself on having the most complete and most detailed Lightning prospect profiles on the internet and we're the only site on the web that conducts evaluations of a team's prospects three times a season, so we think we've developed a very valuable source of Lightning prospect information.
For those wanting to know where the Lightning minor league system is going, I think it's important to look at it's past. With that in mind, I would point you toward this article I wrote in May of 2003 prior to the Lightning's full affiliation with Springfield which details the team's history of minor league affiliations. Although I'm loathe to point any web traffic toward Hockeys Future, to my knowledge the article is the most complete history on the Lightning's minor league system.
Finally, for those looking for information about who the Lightning might be bringing into the system for next season's team, I would suggest taking a look at one of our prior blog posts here on Bolt Prospects which speculates on eight possible additions to the organization once the summer hits. While it is just speculation at this point, I think it's a decent starting point as a primer for the offseason to come. And, with the exception of one addendum I would make in that we have learned the Lightning are making a run at signing goaltender Vasily Koshechkin this summer, I think it's pretty complete.
In closing, I'd just like to add one thing about the Lightning organization and their minor league operation. A lot of negative things have been written about the Lightning's affiliation in Springfield over the past three years. Much of it is probably fair because although I honestly believe the Lightning's minor league system has improved greatly over that time period, especially in terms of their talent level, the results did not come in Springfield. But, while it is true to say the team's youngsters have underperformed over the past three years (especially this year), it's not true to say the Lightning don't care about their developmental system or about winning at the AHL level. Over the past three years Jay Feaster and the Lightning have invested heavily to acquire numerous veteran free agents to try and help the Falcons and in a proven winning coach in the AHL in Steve Stirling. We cannot promise that the transition to our organization and our system of play will be pain free and easy. Obviously it hasn't been over the past few years in Springfield. But, I can promise that the Lightning organization will always put forth an honest effort to make the Admirals a winner and to acheive the ultimate long term goal of winning championships at the AHL level.
With the departure of Gerald Coleman to Anaheim's organization in the Shane O'Brien trade, we have removed Coleman from the prospects page. As a consequence, all prospects behind Coleman have moved up one spot each and we have selected winger Zbynek Hrdel to occupy the #25 spot in our rankings. Coleman is the second top-25 prospect to be traded since Bolt Prospects released it's Midterm Rankings in January, Andre Deveaux being the first.
Word on the street is that there are some nefarious characters who are calling folks in Johnstown claiming to represent an organization called "Save the Chiefs". These scumbags, and from what I've read there's no more accurate name I can give to them, are attempting to extract people's personal information like credit card and Social Security numbers under the guise of a donation drive to try and keep the team in Johnstown. My understanding is that these jokers have no connection to the Chiefs or the Chiefs Booster Club. DO NOT give them any information. DO NOT even give them the time of day. If you're approached by these people, hang up promptly, take their number down off your caller ID and report them to the appropriate authorities.
I've never seen anything lower in my life than con artists who would actually prey on a minor league team's fanbase at a time when there's uncertainty about the club's future and I hope these dirtbags are found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Marc Denis steals Olli Jokinen's lunch money. It's a beautiful thing, made even more beautiful by the fact Denis Potvin's inner child was trampled by the game outcome at the end of the night.
I want to apologize for the lack of Superleague score updates over the past week or so. For whatever reason, the official stats site of the Superleague, global-sport.ru, has gone dark over that period of time and still hasn't come back up. In the meantime, we will be looking for other sources of information out of Russia. But for now, so you know, we have nothing coming out of Russia.
There's been a pretty healthy conversation underway in the comments regarding the fate of Adam Henrich within the Lightning organization. One of the things I think that has been missing from the debate is a look at the bigger picture under the 50-man roster limit that the new CBA imposes on the NHL parent club. Prospects like Henrich who are in the final year of their NHL entry level contracts face the chance of being squeezed out by the new limits where they wouldn't have been under the old CBA. So, in order to understand the way the numbers game might play out, I think it's instructive to look at what prospects could be on the way in for next season:
I've gotten a lot of questions about watching some of the online broadcasts of the Lightning's farm teams and what watching a game on B2 Networks is like. Well, tonight, right now, you have the opportunity to try it out for free as B2 is broadcasting the AHL Skills Competition for free online. I believe they'll do the same for the game tomorrow night. Check it out at the AHL's website.
This summer Bolt Prospects made the decision to remove Andreas Holmqvist from our prospects page upon the Lightning releasing an organizational roster that had omitted Andreas. This week we received some gentle prodding that his removal might have been premature, so we've returned him to the prospects page and we'll begin doing regular updates on his games in the Swedish Elitserien for Linkopings beginning with the club's next game on January 2nd.
Holmqvist has 5 goals and 12 points through 31 games this season with 34 penalty minutes with a +1 rating. He has also appeared for Sweden in two legs of the Euro Tour. Holmqvist had 1 goal in 3 games with 2 penalty minutes and a -2 rating in the Ceske Poijstovna Cup and he was scoreless in 3 games at the recent Channel One Cup.
In related news, goaltender Vasily Koshechkin was 1-0-1 at the Channel One Cup losing to Sweden in penalty shots 1-0 and shutting out Finland 3-0. He finished the tournament 1-0-1 with a 0.48 GAA and .978 save percentage.
Bolt Prospects' staff would like to wish all its readers a safe and happy holiday season. We hope you all got what you asked for and that your bosses gave you Tuesday off too. :)
In the last 72 hours, Bolt Prospects has registered over 10,200 hits to set a new three day record for the site. Slow weeks at work? Perhaps. In any event, big thanks to all of our readers and Happy Holidays to you all.