Prospect of the Week (10.23.11)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or engraved gold teeth awarded, but we’re fairly certain this will be printed off and end up in a frame somewhere. Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Matthew Peca, Quinnipiac Bobcats.

No wonder three OHL teams and a QMJHL team fought over him.

Peca, a freshman forward for Quinnipiac, is currently enjoying a seven-game point streak and a three-game goal streak. He had three goals and an assist in three games last week. Peca leads the ECAC in scoring and is second in the nation among rookies in points scored with eight (three goals) in eight games. He’s led Quinnipiac to a No.20 USCHO national ranking, too.

To top it off, he was named ECAC Rookie of the Week today.

Peca was a star for Pembroke of the CJHL last year, leading them to a 51-9-0 record and the 2011 National Championship. He was selected by the Lightning in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Originally an OHL pick of Windsor, Peca’s rights were traded to Kingston and Kitchener this past offseason. A deal was worked out for Peca to pass through OHL waivers and join Patrick Roy with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, but the deal fell through when a waiver claim was put on him at the last minute. Leaving the drama behind him, Peca went off to college to get his education.

Peca is a gritty, undersized forward with high-end puck skills and solid character. Last season he had 72 points (26 goals) in 50 games for the Lumber Kings. As captain of the team, he was leaned on heavily by Pembroke’s coach, GM, and owner, Sheldon Keefe – a former Bolt prospect himself.

At 5’9” 165, Peca has a lot of room to grow, and spending up to four years in college will allow him ample time to do so. As a pro, Peca could reach as high as a second line scoring forward depending on the development of his speed and weight. At worst, he appears to project as a significant scorer at the AHL level. Considering his impressive work ethic, we project him to be toward the higher end of that spectrum in time.

Congrats to Matt for both awards, but mostly for ours.

We rank Peca as the organization's 18th-best prospect.

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Radko Gudas, Norfolk Admirals - October 16, 2011
Carter Ashton, Norfolk Admirals - October 9, 2011
Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning - October 2, 2011
Mattias Ritola, Tampa Bay Lightning - September 25, 2011