Ten questions for this year's Lightning prospect season...
Apologies for the delayed observations but personal circumstances have necessitated a combined summary of impressions from several days I attended.
The bulk of the following observations stem from last Wednesday's 3-on-3 tournament action (I was unable to make it Tuesday) although some does come from the on-ice sessions last Sunday and Monday. Here are some thoughts on a limited number of camp participants, from those I went out of my way to watch and those my eyes kept being drawn to:
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for March 19 is … Dylan Blujus, D, Brampton (OHL – Canada).
For years Lightning prospect followers have pounded their fists on their computer tables in demand of a right-handed defenseman capable of impacting a game at both ends of the ice. They got their wish last June when the Bolts selected Brampton (OHL) defenseman Dylan Blujus in the second round (40th overall).
Blujus had just completed a 34-point season with the Battalion and was a prime candidate for a breakout season offensively in 2012-2013.
That hasn’t exactly happened for the young Amherst, New York, native, as he just finished his third OHL season with fewer goals and points than his second season despite playing more games. Not everything shows up on the stat sheet, obviously, and Blujus has further developed his physical game while playing big minutes for a defense-first club.
Ontario Hockey League
Peterborough Petes 2 @ Brampton Battalion 5
D Dylan Blujus, BRAM: 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Season totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
Blujus had two assists for the second time this week, helping the Battalion to a regular season-ending 5-2 win over the Petes. The 2012 second rounder was named first star for his efforts. He finishes the regular season with a new career high in penalty minutes. He tied his career high for assists in a season with 27. Fourth-seeded Brampton will play No. 5 Sudbury in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Val-d’Or Foreurs 5 @ Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4
D Artem Sergeev, VDO: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG, 1 Hit
Season totals: 45 GP, 6-25-31, +18, 51 PIM
Sergeev was back after missing Saturday’s game due to a brief suspension. He was scoreless, but his teammates netted three goals in a decisive third period to win, 5-4. Former Lightning prospect camper Brandon Hynes had two goals and two assists for the Foreurs.
Ontario Hockey League
Barrie Colts 3 @ Brampton Battalion 5
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 54 GP, 4-17-21, E, 58 PIM
With Barrie: 16 GP, 2-5-7, -1, 19 PIM
With Owen Sound: 38 GP, 2-12-14, +1, 39 PIM
D Dylan Blujus, BRAM: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 56 GP, 2-21-23, -7, 46 PIM
Two streaks ended on Sunday as Dylan Blujus (pictured) snapped his season-long (tie) six-game scoreless streak and Barrie defenseman Jake Dotchin’s career-long four-game point streak came to an end. Brampton scored four times in the second period on 16 shots. They only managed two in the third period.