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:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Mark Barberio to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Barberio, 23, skated in two games with the Lightning during the 2012-13 season, recording one shot on goal. He made his NHL debut on April 9 against the Ottawa Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Barberio also skated in 73 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, collecting eight goals and 42 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes. He ranked tied for third in the AHL among defensemen for assists with 34 and ranked sixth for points. Of his eight goals last season, five were recorded while on the power play. Barberio also played in 18 games during the Calder Cup playoffs with Syracuse, notching three goals and 15 points with 18 penalty minutes. He led all defensemen for points, and was tied for first in both goals and assists during the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman has skated in 215 career AHL games with the Crunch and Norfolk Admirals, posting 30 goals and 134 points with 111 penalty minutes. During the 2011-12 season, while playing for the Admirals, Barberio won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s top defenseman. He was also part of the Admirals team that won the Calder Cup, registering two goals and nine points in 18 games during the playoffs.
Barberio was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 152nd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward J.T. Brown to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Brown, 23, skated in 51 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 10 goals and 28 points to go along with 27 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 177-pound forward ranked ninth on the Crunch for points and was 10th for goals. He also skated in 18 Calder Cup playoff games with Syracuse, registering four goals and nine points to go along with 18 penalty minutes.
Brown made his NHL debut with the Lightning on March 31, 2012 against the Winnipeg Jets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. He recorded his first NHL point (assist) on April 7 at Winnipeg. Brown also skated in six games for the United States at the 2012 World Championships held in Finland and Sweden.
The High Point, North Carolina native skated in 81 career games with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs during the previous two seasons, collecting 40 goals and 84 points to go along with 109 penalty minutes. In 2011, Brown was a member of the Bulldogs team that captured the NCAA Frozen Four Championship, being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Brown was originally signed by the Lightning as a free agent on March 28, 2012.
On the heels of a national holiday, 32 prospects--most drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, others signed as free agents and a handful of invitees--gathered on the ice Saturday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon to begin several days of on-ice and off-ice conditioning as well as instruction in organizational values and the culture of professional hockey for both returning and first-time participants.
"Let's call this what it is: summer hockey," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told assembled media. "Part of what [the players] get out of this camp is the chance to get to know myself, Rob Zettler, the staff. Getting to know expectations and being a pro."
"A lot of these kids are coming from juniors programs, college, all these different walks of life, but here at the Tampa Bay Lightning we've got a certain code of conduct," Cooper noted. "This is where it starts."
Having concluded fitness testing and physicals, players hit the ice and rounded out their day with an hour-long practice spent completing basic drills as well as a forty-five minute power skating session.
"The first day is always kind of a feel out day," Cooper said. "Some of these guys, I'm sure, have been skating and some haven't been."
Keeping in mind that the 3-on-3 tournament scheduled to begin Tuesday and wrap-up on Wednesday, the final day of camp, will provide better opportunities to gauge player abilities and hockey sense, here are some brief and selected observations:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Geoff Walker to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Walker, 25, skated in 51 games last season with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, collecting five goals and 20 points to go along with 55 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward ranked 11th on the Monsters in assists with 15.
The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native has skated in 226 career AHL games with the Manchester Monarchs, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Monsters, recording 39 goals and 108 points to go along with 326 penalty minutes. Walker set career highs for goals (18), assists (26), points (44) and penalty minutes (114) during the 2011-12 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s also appeared in 24 career Calder Cup playoff games, registering two goals and nine points.
Walker originally went undrafted.