Bolt Prospect of the Week

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for the week ending November 17 is … Brian Hart, W, Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL).

It's not often that the BP POTW award goes to a guy outside of our Top-25 rankings, which makes it extra special for Hart, who's finding his way in his first pro season in an organization with a deep pool of forward prospects.

The Lightning’s 2012 second round selection currently leads the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with 6 goals in 12 games, and all but one of those goals scored on the doorstep of the goal crease. This past weekend he scored twice in three games, including Saturday night's 3rd period game-winner against Adirondack that earned him First Star honors for the game.

Hart was drafted by the Lightning's Amateur Scouting group headed by Al Murray out of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, then suited up for Harvard a year after Alex Killorn led the Crimson in scoring his senior year. Hart spent the last three years playing for Harvard, earning an ECAC championship with the Crimson last season and signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Lightning on June 28th. Hart's six goals in his first 12 pro games is one shy of his single season best of seven that he scored last year with Harvard.

Admittedly, Hart remains somewhat of a project prospect for the Lightning, but he's beginning to show the organization that perhaps he can play that big forward net presence role that guys like Tomas Holmstrom made a living doing -- using his 6'2" and 200+ lbs. frame to screen goaltenders and clean up the garbage around the goal mouth and scoring those greasy goals that every successful organization (especially during playoffs) needs to contend year in and year out. The good news for Hart is that the Lightning organization currently has a dearth of that player type, and if he continues to produce at higher levels that bodes well for his future. At the time of this writing, Hart has just been recalled to the Syracuse Crunch with Jonathan Marchessault and Mike Bluden recalled to Tampa, so hopefully he gets an opportunity for his first AHL start on Wednesday night, and we'll see if he can set up office hours in Syracuse's War Memorial goal creases.

BP Rank: Unranked (stock rising)

Honorable Mention: Nikita Gusev, W, SKA-KHL; Cristiano DiGiacinto, W, Windsor-OHL

Previous 2015-2016 Prospect of the Week winners:

November 9: Brayden Point, C, (Moose Jaw, WHL, Canada)
November 2: Brayden Point, C, (Moose Jaw, WHL, Canada)
October 26: Kristers Gudlevskis, G, (Tampa Bay, NHL, USA)
October 19: Ryan Zuhlsdorf, D, (Sioux City, USHL, USA)
October 12: Dennis Yan, W, (Shawinigan, QMJHL, Canada)
October 6: Mitchell Stephens, W, (Saginaw, OHL, Canada)
September 29: Matt Peca, C, (Tampa Bay, NHL, USA)