Prospect of the Week (5.23.12)

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.

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 … Dustin Tokarski, G, Norfolk Admirals (AHL).

Last week at this time, Norfolk goaltender Jaroslav Janus was our player of the week after he took over for Dustin Tokarski in Game 5 of the Admirals’ series against Connecticut. Janus won games five and six and helped propel Norfolk to the conference finals.

Fans would not have blinked if Janus, who was 1-B to Tokarski’s 1-A for most of the season, was the starter for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against St. John’s. But it was Tokarski between the pipes at the request of Norfolk’s Coach of the Year Award winner, Jon Cooper.

To say Tokarski made Cooper look good for that decision would be an understatement.

Tokarski allowed two goals … wait for it … during the entire four-game series. So add another AHL record to Norfolk’s pile for that. Included in those four games were two shutouts – on the road – in games three and four as Norfolk completed the sweep and advanced to the franchise’s first Calder Cup Finals.

Not too shabby.

Statistically Tokarski has inched ahead of Janus for the AHL playoffs goals against average lead, 1.65 to 1.69. If all Cooper has to do in his coaching career is pick which goalie with a sub 1.70 GAA will start for him, he’s going to get plenty of sleep at night. Tokarski’s .939 save percentage is also tops in the league – he was tied with two others for that honor before Wednesday night’s game between Toronto (Ben Scrivens) and Oklahoma City.

Although Cooper could go back to Janus, whom he singled out after the IceCaps series as being Norfolk’s MVP of the Connecticut series, it’s likely going to be Tokarski in the Norfolk nets next week when the finals begin. Cooper previously talked about the importance of championship experience and Tokarski has won Telus, Ed Chynoweth, and Memorial cups, as well as a World Junior Championship gold medal.

In the next two weeks we’ll see if he can add a Calder Cup to that list.

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Jaroslav Janus, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - May 16, 2012
Danick Gauthier, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) - May 10, 2012
Alex Killorn, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - May 2, 2012
Riku Helenius, JYP (Finland) - April 25, 2012
Cory Conacher, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - April 16, 2012
Mark Barberio, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - April 11, 2012
Tyler Johnson, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - April 4, 2012
Norfolk Admirals Hockey Club (AHL) - March 27, 2012
Richard Panik, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - March 21, 2012
Tyler Johnson, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - March 13, 2012
Danick Gauthier, Saint John (QMJHL) - March 6, 2012
Matt Peca, Quinnipiac (NCAA) - February 29, 2012
Pat Nagle, Florida (ECHL) - February 21, 2012
Alex Hutchings, Florida (ECHL) - February 14, 2012
Alex Killorn, Harvard (NCAA) - February 6, 2012
Adam Wilcox, Tri-City (USHL) and Alex Killorn, Harvard (NCAA) - January 30, 2012
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