Now that the season has begun, it's time to update our prospect rankings here on Bolt Prospects. Readers of the site know the drill, as we update our rankings three times during the season and add Supplemental Rankings shortly after the draft each year. But, for new readers, or for those who might've forgotten the rules, here's our legal disclaimer regarding prospect eligibility.
Bolt Prospects considers any prospect 24 years of age or older on opening night of the Lightning's season to be an overage prospect and ineligible for inclusion on the list. As a consequence, older prospects like Mattias Ritola, Blair Jones, and Johan Harju are no longer included on our list. The exception to the 24 year old rule is NCAA players, who shall remain eligible for the rankings so long as they remain in college. Bolt Prospects also has rules pertaining to a player's graduation from prospect status that also determines eligibility for the rankings. For skaters, any player who has played 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games is ineligible for the list. As a consequence, players like James Wright and Dana Tyrell are ineligible for the list. For goaltenders, any player who receives 30 or more NHL decisions in a single season or 41 or more NHL decisions in a career is ineligible.
With all that in mind, here are Bolt Prospects 2011-2012 Preliminary Rankings:
Now that the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is over, Bolt Prospects is issuing its 2011 Supplemental Rankings. The rankings add the 2011 draft picks, subtract prospects who did not receive qualifying offers from the club, and reflect some slight adjustments in the rankings based on changes in the depth chart. The remainder of this story includes the placement of the 2011 draft picks. For a full look at our Top-25 Rankings, please take a look at our Prospects page.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning announced the roster for their 2011 development camp today. The roster, which includes three former first round picks, consists of 17 forwards, nine defensemen and four goaltenders. The camp will be held Wednesday, July 6 though Wednesday, July 13 at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, FL. The camp is open to the public and the schedule will be released at a later date.
Highlights of the roster include the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Brett Connolly, who recently signed an entry-level contract with the Lightning, as well as this summerâ€™s first-round selection, Vladislav Namestnikov. Former first-round pick Carter Ashton and highly-touted prospect Richard Panik are also expected to attend.
Of the attendees, only James Wright played a game in the NHL last season, while 10 players played at least one in the American Hockey League. The roster also includes 22 players drafted by the Lightning, three signed as free agents and five invitees.
Included in the roster are four players from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, recently held at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Those players are Namestnikov, forwards Ondrej Palat and Matthew Peca, as well as goaltender Adam Wilcox.
The youngest player is Peca, at 18 years and two months, while the oldest is Jeff Dimmen at 25-years-old.
Free agent invitees include forwards Cory Conacher, Gabriel Desjardins, Philip-Michael Devos, Seth Griffith and blueliner Jeff Dimmen. Dimmen and Devos have AHL contracts in place with the Norfolk Admirals for the 2011-12 season.
Complete roster attached to this story.
The scouting community's general consensus for the whole draft class is that it is not top heavy, but it is incredibly deep. Nowhere is that more evident than on the blueline, where Skelleftea's Adam Larsson, Kitchener's Ryan Murphy, and Niagara's Dougie Hamilton look like the only locks to go in the lottery picks. However, beyond those three blue chippers, the list of quality defenseman prospects is long enough that teams picking in the 3rd round may still have access to some quality talent. Most interestingly, there's not a draft in the last decade that's had as many quality, mobile, puck-moving defensemen as this one, which may be a particular benefit for the Lightning.
As we discussed in yesterday's Introduction and Goaltenders posting, the Tampa Bay Lightning's biggest hole, prospect-wise, is probably on defense. And, there's probably a little more urgency to fill that hole given there are some aging veterans on defense on the big club like Pavel Kubina, Mattias Ohlund, and Brett Clark. There's also the matter of the Lightning's switch to the 1-3-1, which is predicated on having mobile puck moving blueliners and doesn't have as much use for the big redwoods like Andy Rogers or Vladimir Mihalik that the Lightning used to pick. The organization does boast a couple of quality defenseman prospects in heady two-way defender Mark Barberio and rough-and-tumble Radko Gudas, both of whom had very respectable rookie seasons with Norfolk in the AHL this year. Behind them, the Lightning have already started to add to their depth by adding mobile puck movers Adam Janosik, Charles Landry, Geoffrey Schemitsch. But there are no blue chippers in the organization that seem like locks for the NHL, and the team could definitely use prospects of that nature for future salary cap purposes. Toward that end, here are 10 prospects that might be viable alternatives for the Lightning at pick 27 on Friday night:
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is going to bring several changes for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Success on the ice means sitting a long way from the front row at the NHL Entry Draft. With the team advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals this season, the Lightning moved from picking 6th overall last year to picking 27th overall this year. That means the Lightning won't have the top talent in the draft available to them in 2011 the same way it was in the past 3 drafts when the team selected Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Brett Connolly. That's not to say that the Lightning won't have the opportunity to draft some very good players, though. Since 1980, the 27th overall pick has yielded many high caliber players like Scott Mellanby, Joe Nieuwendyk, Tie Domi, Boris Mironov, Rhett Warrener, and Scott Gomez, as well as former Lightning fan favorites Ben Clymer and Cory Sarich. Picking in the 20's sometimes allows playoff caliber teams to have access to lottery pick caliber talent that slips either due to being small in stature, late bloomers, or having other issues that make other teams leery to take a chance on them (see: Downie, Steve).
With the 2010-2011 season happily lasting much longer than the last few seasons, we find ourselves in the month of June before releasing our 2010-2011 Final Rankings. This season brought a new word into the Lightning prospect fans' vocabulary: "patience." With only Dana Tyrell graduating this season, the Lightning made sure their top prospects had a little more time on the vine to ripen. At the same time, though, attrition cost the Lightning some of its better prospects, as was the case with Mitch Fadden who allowed off-the-ice issues to cost him a spot in the organization. And, other prospects had lackluster seasons that led us to believe that perhaps the chances of their NHL futures were limited. Towards that end, we made the editorial decision to trim our rankings down from their typical 25 to 20 for this Final Rankings. We will be raising the list back to 25 after the NHL Entry Draft in a few weeks when we release a supplement to these rankings.
The rules are simple: any skater prospect who was under 24 years of age on opening night of the Lightning's season and has played less than 41 NHL games in any single season and less than 82 career NHL games is eligible for the rankings. This excludes, for instance, Blair Jones. For goaltenders, any netminder who has earned less than 30 NHL decisions in any single season and less than 41 career NHL decisions and was under 24 years of age on opening night is eligible for the rankings. That excludes Cedrick Desjardins, for instance, who turned 25 in September. The exception to these basic rules are NCAA based players, who are considered eligible prospects for the duration of their college careers regardless of age.
As we start the stretch run of the 2010-2011 hockey season, BoltProspects is proud to announce its midterm rankings for the prospects of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
As is tradition, we will begin by reciting the rules of the rankings. Any skater prospect who was under 24 years of age on opening night of the Lightning's season and has played less than 41 NHL games in any single season and less than 82 career NHL games is eligible for the rankings. This excludes, for instance, winger Johan Harju, who turned 24 last May and is now considered an overage prospect, and Dana Tyrell, who has already played 52 games this season and is considered to be graduated from prospect status. For goaltenders, any netminder who has earned less than 30 NHL decisions in any single season and less than 41 career NHL decisions and was under 24 years of age on opening night is eligible for the rankings. That excludes Cedrick Desjardins, for instance, who turned 25 in September. The exception to these basic rules are NCAA based players, who are considered eligible prospects for the duration of their college careers regardless of age.
With the typical legal disclaimers out of the way, here are our 2010-2011 Midterm Rankings:
Now that the 2010-2011 NHL season is underway it is time for BoltProspects' 2010-2011 Preliminary Rankings of the Lightning's top twenty-five prospects. This year's installment reflects a talent pool that has both high-end prospects and depth for perhaps the first time in the club's history, a fact that was celebrated by both GM Steve Yzerman and Head Coach Guy Boucher during training camp this fall. The Lightning is still looking for high end talent at the defenseman position, but at forward and between the pipes there's no doubting the potential.
Before we proceed, I am required to recite the BoltProspects prospect criteria rules. As always, any player 24 years of age or older on opening night of the Lightning's season (10/9/10) is not eligible for inclusion on the list and will be considered an overage prospect. The prime example of this rule is versatile forward Johan Harju, who turned 24 in May, and therefore is not eligible for this year's list. The same is true for forward Blair Jones, who turned 24 in September. The exception to this rule is NCAA-based players, who remain eligible for the list until the completion of their college careers. Prospects under 24 will be considered graduated to the NHL level when they meet the appropriate criteria for games played or decisions. For skaters, any player who appears in 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games is no longer considered a prospect. For goaltenders, any netminder who has 30 or more decisions in a single NHL season or 41 or more career NHL decisions will be considered graduated.
Now that that's out of the way, Guy Boucher says no more d-to-d passes. Let's go:
redwingscentral.com has posted the Lightning's Traverse City Prospects Tournament roster. The pre-training camp warm-up tourney is scheduled for September 11-15 in Traverse City, MI.
The roster includes 15 Lightning prospects and 7 free agent invitees. The roster features the goaltending tandem of Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus, as well as 2010 #6 overall pick Brett Connolly. Five other 2010 draftees, all defensemen, make up one of the tournament's youngest bluelines and includes Brock Beukeboom, Radko Gudas, Adam Janosik, Geoffrey Schemitsch, and Teigan Zahn. The only other backliner is '08 draftee Mark Barberio.
The roster sports seven free agent tryouts, all forwards, including three returnees from the July Prospect Camp in Tampa. Getting a second look will be Jonathan Lessard, Andrew Agozzino, and the hat-trick star of the Young Guns scrimmage Brandon Hynes. Tim Marks, currently under AHL contract with the Norfolk Admirals, gets his chance to continue on the path to be the organization's next Paul Szczechura. Matt Butcher joins the Bolts squad as a graduate of Northern Michigan University, a prolific scorer in the BCHL and an unsigned 2005 5th round pick of the Vancouver Canucks. The final two invitees include Marc-Olivier Vachon, a diminutive winger who was coached by Guy Boucher at Drummondville during the '08-'09 season, and Harvard graduate Doug Rogers. Rogers, an unsigned '06 draftee of the New York Islanders, played alongside Lightning prospect Alex Killorn for the last couple years for the Crimson.
Conspicuous in their absence from the TC roster are goaltender Michael Zador, and forwards Brendan O'Donnell, and James Mullin. Zador is expected to return to the nets for Oshawa (OHL) this coming season, while '10 draftees O'Donnell and Mullin are expecting to play for Penticton (BCHL) and Fargo (USHL), respectively.
This roster has been officially confirmed by the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
Confirming a report from couple of days ago on redwingscentral.com, the St. Pete Times is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning will return to the annual Red Wings hosted prospects tournament in Traverse City, MI on Sept 11-15. Regular attendees in the past, the previous ownership group of the Lightning suspended the team's involvement in the yearly event. The Lightning will be replacing the Atlanta Thrashers in the 8 team tourney, as former Lightning GM Rick Dudley now at the helm of the Thrashers have withdrawn from involvement this year. It is rumored that between trades made by Dudley and former GM Don Waddell, Atlanta no longer has enough prospects to field a team to participate in the Traverse City event.
The Times also is reporting that all signs point towards Jim Johnson returning to the helm of the Norfolk Admirals next season. The Times quotes Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as saying, "We're on the same page," with regard to Johnson and his continued involvement with the organization. Johnson is currently running the ongoing Development Camp that finishes up Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. with the Young Guns scrimmage, which is free and open to the public.