We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for March 19 is … Dylan Blujus , D, Brampton (OHL – Canada).
For years Lightning prospect followers have pounded their fists on their computer tables in demand of a right-handed defenseman capable of impacting a game at both ends of the ice. They got their wish last June when the Bolts selected Brampton (OHL) defenseman Dylan Blujus in the second round (40th overall).
Blujus had just completed a 34-point season with the Battalion and was a prime candidate for a breakout season offensively in 2012-2013.
That hasn’t exactly happened for the young Amherst, New York, native, as he just finished his third OHL season with fewer goals and points than his second season despite playing more games. Not everything shows up on the stat sheet, obviously, and Blujus has further developed his physical game while playing big minutes for a defense-first club.
Blujus had a mini-breakout last week after a slow start to the 2013 calendar year. He had four points last week – all assists – to finish the year with 27 assists and 29 points for the season (68 games). The 6-3 rearguard had two apples on Thursday against Niagara, then had two more in the Battalion’s regular season finale against Peterborough on Sunday.
The fourth-seeded Battalion will face fifth-seeded Sudbury in the first round of the OHL playoffs starting this week and Blujus will be needed at both ends of the ice if Brampton is to advance.
Blujus projects as a sturdy, physical, two-way defenseman. He has another year in juniors next year when Brampton moves to North Bay before he likely starts his pro career with his home-state’s Syracuse Crunch in 2014-2015. If he can carry over a strong 2013 playoffs into his 2013-2014 season and put up some numbers to go with his improved defensive play, it will go a long way to securing a contract from Tampa Bay next spring.
Honorable Mention: Vladislav Namestnikov , who had two multi-point games in an increased role with Syracuse, and Ondrej Palat  and Tyler Johnson , who both scored their first NHL goals this week.
Previous 2012-2013 Prospect of the Week winners:
February 12, Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA 
February 4, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
February 25, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
February 19, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada 
February 12, Alex Killorn, C/W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA 
February 5, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA 
January 30, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada 
January 23, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA 
January 15, Artem Sergeev, D, Val-d’Or, QMJHL-Canada 
World Juniors break
December 17, Alex Killorn, C/W, Syracuse, AHL-Canada 
December 10, Nikita Kucherov, RW, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada 
December 3, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada 
November 25, Tyler Johnson, C, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
November 20, Richard Panik, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
November 12, Alex Hutchings, W, Florida, ECHL-USA 
November 5, Nikita Kucherov, W, Quebec, QMJHL-Canada 
October 30, Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough, OHL-Canada 
October 23, Dustin Tokarski, G, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
October 15, Cory Conacher, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA 
October 9, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada 
October 2, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia 
September 25, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia