Lightning Head Scout Jake Goertzen, fresh off watching his prospects dismantle Atlantaâ€™s prospects 5-3 Tuesday night, said 2005 first round pick Vladimir Mihalik
looked â€œimpressiveâ€ with his Tampa Bay teammates. Goertzen complimented Mihalikâ€™s skating ability, decision making, and heavy shot. â€œHe played with a lot of poise,â€ said Goertzen of the 6â€™8 Â½â€, 234 pound Slovakian defenseman.
Goertzen also singled out the play of 2005 pick Marek Kvapil
, saying he â€œattracted a lot of attention with his nifty moves.â€ Kvapil, who opened the scoring for Tampa Bay against Atlanta, was signed this summer after being a sixth round selection in Julyâ€™s NHL Entry Draft. A 25 goal scorer last season for OHL Saginaw, Kvapil could provide offense to Springfield and/or Johnstown this season.
Also drawing praise from Goertzen was 2004 first rounder Andy Rogers
, as well as Justin Keller
, who scored two goals in the game. Goertzen said Keller was â€œnoticeable on every shift,â€ which is music to the ears of the Lightning coaching staff at all levels.
Morgan Cey, a 6â€™3â€, 177 pound goalie who was recently signed to compete for a spot in the Lightning system, had a strong game, making 28 saves. According to Goertzen, two of the three Thrasher goals were deflected into the net off Lightning players. â€œ[Cey] played great, he competed hard,â€ Goertzen commented. Cey is fitting into the prototypical Lightning goaltender under Goaltender Coach Jeff Reese, which is big, mentally tough, and highly competitive.
One of the prospects who will be watched the most this tournament is Sault Ste. Marie forward Chris Lawrence
. A 2005 third round pick, Lawrence has excellent size (6â€™4â€ 200), above average skating ability, and a good skill set. Lawrence notched more than 50 points last season for the Soo, including 40 assists, and will be counted on this year as a veteran leader of Wayne Gretzkyâ€™s OHL alma mater. However, Lawrence has been mentioned in the Soo press for the wrong reasons so far in Greyhounds training camp as coach and ex-Minnesota North Star Craig Hartsburg singled out Lawrence for his lack of effort â€“ a knock on Lawrence entering the draft and the kiss of death in Lightning circles.
Lawrence seemed to leave that in Northern Ontario this week, however, as Goertzen made a point of saying, â€œLawrence came to play.â€
All in all, it was a good first game for the Baby Bolts, and in Goertzenâ€™s words, â€œAll the players fit in, there was no one that did not belong in TC.â€