Prospect of the Week (1.30.12)
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, but we are considering paying for a Super Bowl commercial to highlight the winner(s). Itâ€™s how much? Never mind. Just assume that when Danica and the GoDaddy.com commercials tell you to go to the Web to â€œsee moreâ€ that youâ€™re going to a highlight package of our Prospect of the Week.
We just wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
Our first co-winners.
Wilcox went 3-0 in the last nine days for a struggling Tri-City Storm squad that has been in the Western Conference basement for most of the year. Thanks to Wilcox and his three straight First Star awards last week, the Storm were able to move ahead of Sioux Falls into second-last place. They are now just one point behind Des Moines to move up another spot on the table and into the Westâ€™s final playoff spot. They sit just two points out of fifth.
Wilcox, a sixth round pick of the Lightning last summer, stopped 37 shots on January 21 in a 3-2 home win over Waterloo. He followed that up with two 32-save efforts last week, beating Omaha in Omaha then Sioux falls at home in a shootout. Both games were also 3-2 wins, and Wilcox was taking the final bow at the end of each game.
For the year, Wilcox has a 13-10-3 record with Green Bay and Tri-City. He has a 2.82 GAA and his .913 save percentage for the season ranks fourth in the league.
Next year Wilcox is slated to join the University of Minnesota hockey program where he will be competing for ice time on one of the most storied programs in collegiate hockey. For the rest of this year, heâ€™s trying to get his team into the playoffs.
This weekâ€™s co-winner, Alex Killorn, played in two games last weekend and notched the game-winning goal in both contests. The Harvard senior and 2007 third round draft pick of the Bolts put on a show Friday night against Yale before a national television audience on the new NBC Sports Network.
Killorn scored on a wrap-around in the first period, then with just over a minute left in the game banged home his own rebound to give the Crimson a 4-3 win. He drew frequent praise from the NBC commentating crew and about the only thing negative someone could say about his effort on Friday was he got caught digging a bat out of the cave on nation-wide TV. Sometimes bats need to be freed, however, and Killorn called it a â€œpower moveâ€ on Twitter that night.
For the season Killorn has 14 goals and 12 assists in 20 games, which leads the Crimson.
At 6â€™1â€ and nearly 220 points Killorn looked like a man among boys during the game, using physical play and positioning at both ends of the ice and delivering timely hits. His physical-readiness combined with his hockey IQ and skill-set make him one of just a few forwards in the system to have a legitimate shot at earning a roster spot in Tampa next fall. Killorn has to be signed first, which is close to a guarantee at this point. Heâ€™s ready for pro hockey and could join the Norfolk Admirals for their playoff run (pending a contract).
Previous BP Prospects of the Week:
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr. (Russia) - January 24, 2012
Riku Helenius, JYP (Finland) - January 16, 2012
Brett Connolly, Canada (U20 WJC) - January 10, 2012
*Due to the Christmas break when few games below the NHL level were played, no POTW award was given.
Mark Barberio, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - December 19, 2011
Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL) - December 12, 2011
Tyler Johnson, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - December 5, 2011
Alex Killorn, Harvard (NCAA) - November 28, 2011
Nikita Kucherov, Team Russia/CSKA Jr. (MHL) - November 21, 2011
Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL) - November 14, 2011
Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - November 6, 2011
Riku Helenius, JYP (Finland) - October 30, 2011
Matthew Peca, Quinnipiac Bobcats - October 23, 2011
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