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(s) of the Week for the week ending November 30 is … Matt Spencer, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL).

Second round picks are often prized trade pieces in the NHL, especially at the deadline. Teams feel they receive good value and the dealing clubs aren’t parting with first rounders. The Lightning have two second rounders in 2016, and if they keep them, don’t be surprised if at least one is spent on a defenseman.

Al Murray and the Lightning have made a habit of drafting mobile defensemen in the second round in the last few years. Tampa Bay has made seven sound round picks in the last four drafts and taken defensemen with four of those picks (Dylan Blujus, Dominik Masin, Johnathan MacLeod, Matt Spencer).

The Lightning’s latest second round pick, Spencer, like the others, is a good skating 2-way defenseman more known for his defense than offense. That’s not to say, also like the others, there isn’t any above-average offense there. There is, and it’s starting to come out.

Last year Spencer had 30 points in 67 games for OHL Peterborough, finishing second in points among Petes defenseman. This year, Spencer has hit a hot streak and is tied for the team lead in points by a defenseman with 13 points in 27 games. Eight of those 13 points have been scored in the last nine game, however.

Last week Spencer, a coveted righty shot in the organization, had two assists in three games. He was also plus-3 and hasn’t had a minus game since November 7. He’s plus-11 in that time.

For his performance last week and recent surge in production, Spencer is our Prospect of the Week.

Before his recent hot streak, Spencer had just two assists in his previous 10 games. Not so coincidentally, the Petes are 8-0-1-0 in their last nine games. Before that they lost nine of 10.

Spencer projects as a mobile, responsible NHL defenseman who could develop into a second pair defenseman capable of significant minutes. He’ll go back to the OHL next year before likely heading to Syracuse for at least two years. The former top-10 OHL draftee has the size, skating, and tools to be a marquee defenseman, but the road to the NHL is a long one. The Lightning have put strength in numbers with second round defenseman, and Spencer is certainly one to watch.

BP Preseason Rank: 12

Honorable Mention: Mathieu Joseph, W, Saint John-QMJHL; Ryan Zuhlsdorf, D, Sioux City-USHL

Previous 2015-2016 Prospect of the Week winners:

November 28: Jonathan Marchessault & Joel Vermin, (Tampa Bay, NHL, USA)
November 16: Brian Hart, W, (Greenville, ECHL, USA)
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)