Prospect of the Week (6.5.12)

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, Norfolk Admirals (AHL).

Tokarski is the Star of the Week for the second time in the last three weeks after the goaltender backstopped the Norfolk Admirals to a 2-0 lead over Toronto in the Calder Cup finals last weekend.

The 2008 fifth round pick of the Lightning stopped 53 of 56 shots in total, good for a .946 save percentage. He is 10-2 in the playoffs with a league-leading 1.63 goals against average and a .940 save percentage, which is tied for first with Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens.

On Wednesday Tokarski beat Scrivens and Toronto by stopping all but one of the 24 shots he faced from the Western Conference champion Marlies. Norfolk won, 3-1, with an empty net goal. The next night he was 30 of 32 as the Admirals won, 4-2. The second goal to beat him in Game 2 was scored in the dying moments of a game that was already well within Norfolk’s control.

Tokarski entered the Toronto series coming off two consecutive shutouts against St. John’s. He ran his shutout streak to 203:26 in Game 1 before former Bolt prospect Carter Ashton beat Tokarski under the left pad for a goal. He fell just 4:01 short of Marcel Paille's 50-year-old Calder Cup playoff record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.

It wasn’t just the amount of saves for Tokarski, it was when he was making them. Tokarski was at his best when the games were very much in doubt in the first and second periods. And considering a team’s goaltender is their best penalty killer, Tokarski gets a lot of the credit for Norfolk killing off nearly a dozen power plays in a closely-contested Game 1.

Game 3 of the finals is Thursday in Toronto. If Norfolk is fortunate enough to finish off the Marlies and hoist the Cup, Tokarski will add a Calder Cup to his resume that already includes a Telus Cup (Canadian midget-level, Memorial Cup (CHL), Chynoweth Cup (WHL), and World Junior Championship gold medal.

But as Tokarski will likely tell you from his experiences, the final victories on the road to a championship are the hardest.

(Virginian Pilot photo)

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Sebastien Piche, Charles Landry, Pat Nagle, Florida Everblades (ECHL) - June 1, 2012
Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - May 23, 2012
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