This week 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.
This week’s winner, as we say on Twitter, “is good at the hockey.”
The Prospect of the Week for November 26 is … Tyler Johnson, center, Syracuse (AHL – USA)
Tyler Johnson doesn’t get the most attention on the Syracuse roster, that title may go to everything-award winner Cory Conacher, top AHL defenseman Mark Barberio, or even everything-championship winner Dustin Tokarski. Such is the “first world problem” Tyler Johnson and his fans must endure with the near embarrassment of riches on the Lightning farm right now.
The Sharks get bit by one of Syracuse's star rookies.
Dustin Tokarski allowed one goal on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Brown, (2) (Connolly, Cote), 2:14
SYR Brown, (3) (Nightingale, Devos), 5:55
SYR Johnson, (12) (Panik), 6:16
WOR Kearns, (7) (Pelech, Kennedy), 16:37
SYR Johnson, (13) (Killorn, Taormina), 13:33 (PP)
SYR Korobov, (2) (Connolly, Brown), 14:05 (PP)
SYR Brown, (4) (Connolly, Devos), 17:31
J.T. Brown (pictured), Tyler Johnson, and Brett Connolly were the game's three stars. This was inevitable. J.T. Brown has too many gifts to not have an outburst like this from time to time, especially when he's playing with guys like Connolly who are just as talented and creative.
Lost in the jet fuel fumes of Brown's game is the fact Tyler Johnson just pulled into the league lead in goals with 13 in 17 games. TJ could hit 60 goals this year. He's got one of the best shots in the league, amazing wheels, and a talented supporting cast around him. Conacher got all the awards last year, but we may well see Johnson carrying the bulk of the hardware in 2012-2013.
The Panik attack hit 10 games today with an assist on one of Johnson's goals. There's one more game left on the schedule for Syracuse in November, and here's an interesting philosophical question for the league to ponder. If a player gets a point in every single game in a month, should not said player be the Player of the Month? Am I wrong? Right now, Richard Panik has 7 goals and 13 points in 10 November contests.
Dmitry Korobov scoring his second goal of the season gives me an opportunity to dote on the young KHL transplant. At +12 he's tied for third in the AHL in +/-, and 2 goals and 5 points in his first 14 games in North America is nothing to sneeze at. The big Belarussian is going to get better as he continues to settle in, and he's already pretty darned good.
Syracuse sits in first in the Eastern Conference, and has another 3 games in 3 nights weekend starting on Friday against the Penguins.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
And the Panik attack continues...
Riku Helenius stopped 18 of 19 shots he faced for the victory.
SYR Conacher, (9) (Taormina, Connolly), 14:52
ALB Whitney, (1) (Henrique), 5:00
SYR Johnson, (11) (Panik, Palat), 10:26
SYR Killorn, (3) (Johnson, Palat), 13:04
SYR Panik, (8) , 8:17
Tyler Johnson and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik extended his scoring streak to nine games, matching the other two longest streaks in the AHL this season. More importantly, Panik is now creeping into the league leaders in goals and points alongside fellow Crunch forwards Johnson and Cory Conacher. This is big news for the Lightning organization. If he translates his stellar play in November consistently over the rest of the year, he will be in Tampa Bay next season. There's never been any doubt Panik has the highest upside of any forward in the Lightning organization. If he puts it all together, he's Marian Hossa reincarnate, and the rest of the NHL should be wary of him joining a team that already has the likes of Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
Alex Killorn got the third goal of his rookie campaign tonight and it's hard not to be pleased with the 11 points he has in his first 16 games, but there's something instructive buried deeper in the stats. Killorn actually leads Syracuse in shots on goal with 49, ahead of Johnson's 47. The difference is that Johnson has an NHL shot and Killorn doesn't, yet. Developing an NHL shot can be done with hard work. Ask Vincent Lecavalier. And, if Killorn puts that work in, it can be the difference between a 5-10 year NHL career as a lower-liner and a 10-15 year career as a top two-liner. With the style of game he plays, which is a north-south, shoot first kind of game, if he fine tunes his shot he's going to score a lot of goals. He's an Ivy League guy, so I suspect he's capable of calculating the difference in career earning power in both scenarios. And, when he does, I'm fairly confident he'll find the cost-benefit of putting that extra time in will be well justified.
Syracuse ends their weekend set tomorrow afternoon in Worcester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch recalled defenseman Charles Landry from their ECHL affiliate the Florida Everblades, Crunch GM Julien BriseBois announced on Saturday.
Landry, 21, has appeared in 16 games with the Everblades this season collecting six points (1g, 5a) and 15 penalty minutes. The 6-0, 194 lb. defenseman has appeared in 51 career ECHL games with the Everblades totaling 14 points (3g, 11a) as well as 23 games career AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals, where he totaled six assists. Prior to playing with the Everblades Landry totaled 96 points (22g, 74a) in 234 QMJHL games with Drummondville and Montreal.
Landry was a free agent signee of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the club's training camp in 2010.
Bingo has goaltending.
Dustin Tokarski allowed two goals on 24 shots for the loss. He got in a duel with Robin Lehner and came up one goal short.
BNG Eckford, (4) (Grant, Claesson), 1:13
BNG Grant, (6) , 1:11
SYR Panik, (7) (Johnson, Barberio), 6:12 (PP)
Richard Panik was the game's second star. Although Syracuse took the loss, the Panik attack is now a full eight games long. He'll try to extend his streak tomorrow in Albany.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
We're now almost two months deep into the second NHL lockout in less than a decade. As difficult as it is to remember, though, hockey goes on. It goes on in small junior rinks in Canada and on campuses throughout the U.S. It goes on in the sporting halls of Sweden and Russia. And, it goes on in Syracuse, New York, where players on the cusp of making the highest level of hockey in the world patiently await the mere chance to make their case to play in the NHL. For those players, and in spite the cynical greed of the NHL's business wing, Bolt Prospects presents its 2012-2013 Preliminary Rankings.
We delayed the release of the rankings a few weeks when optimism ran high that hockey would be back after Thanksgiving, believing that perhaps an NHL training camp was in the cards for some of our prospects. But with the breakdown of talks between the commissioner and the NHLPA, it looks like a Lightning camp is far from imminent. So, we press forward, in spite of the setback.
It was one smooth motion that brought the crowd to its feet.
On the doorstep of the Adirondack Phantoms crease, Richard Panik snatched the puck out of the air, set it down, and tapped the puck into the net, providing the Syracuse Crunch with a 5-0 second period lead at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
The effortless looking play was all instinct for Panik.
"The game is going so quick and fast, so you don't have time to think about anything," he said.
3 games in 3 nights. 3 wins. 16 total goals.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on just 19 shots, but got the win to run his season record to 7-1-0-1.
SYR Gudas, (1) (Panik), 12:04
HER Taffe, (5) (Kundratek, Stafford), 15:33 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (2) (Connolly, Brown), 17:46
HER Syner, (1) (Beaudoin, Schilling), 10:33
SYR Panik, (6) (Korobov, Gudas), 12:21
SYR Connolly, (6) (Palat), 8:08
SYR Johnson, (10) (Gudas, Labrie), 8:54
HER Hamill, (4) (Berry, Kane), 15:21
Radko Gudas (pictured), Brett Connolly, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. Gudas' night was an uncharacteristic offensive outburst of 1 goal and 2 assists to double his overall point total for the season.
The Panik attack has now lasted 7 games, and he now has 5 goals and 9 points in those 7 games. After a slow October where he had 3 points in 7 games, Panik's now run his overall statistics to 6 goals and 12 points in 14 games, as he stalks a point a game.
Syracuse is now 10-2-1-1 through their first 14 games. Their 22 points gives them a 6 point cushion right now in the East Division. They've also managed to tied Springfield for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and their 54 goals are 5 clear of the next best team in the conference, as well.
Syracuse draws Binghamton at home next on Friday night to start another 3 games in 3 nights weekend.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
JT Brown described his team as having a good feeling going into the first intermission Saturday.
Leading 1-0 over the Adirondack Phantoms, it only got better for the Syracuse Crunch, who scored four times in the first 12 minutes of the second period en route to a 5-2 victory -- their second straight -- at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"Our team has been playing well the past few games, and that's just the kind of thing we needed," Brown said. "We needed to put together a few good games to get ourselves rolling."
Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory. I'm not sure he ever got staked to a 5 goal lead for low-scoring, defensive-minded JYP last season. He had to be reveling in all the goal support tonight.
SYR Labrie, (3) (Conacher, Barberio), 13:09
SYR Conacher, (8) (Taormina, Connolly), 1:32 (PP)
SYR Palat, (2) (Brown, Killorn), 8:19
SYR Connolly, (5) (Brown), 9:59
SYR Panik, (5) (Barberio, Johnson), 11:53 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (8) (Manning, Gustafsson), 13:27 (PP)
ADK Gustafsson, (2) (Roe, Syvret), 10:07
Brett Connolly (pictured), Cory Conacher, and J.T. Brown were the game's three stars. Who knows, they could be playing together in Tampa if the owners ever pull their heads out of the sand and have a season.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Richard Panik each came within a helper of Gordie Howe hat tricks tonight. The Panik attack has lasted 6 consecutive games now, with points in every game in November. It's his month, I guess.
As I mentioned the last time Syracuse faced the Phantoms, bear in mind this Adirondack roster is dotted with NHLers like Bourdon, Schenn, Couturier, Rinaldo, etc. Their record doesn't bear it out, but that's a very talented team and Syracuse put them over their knee and spanked them hard tonight.
The Crunch finish their weekend tomorrow in Hershey.
Box score from TheAHL.com.