With the departure of Gerald Coleman to Anaheim's organization in the Shane O'Brien trade, we have removed Coleman from the prospects page. As a consequence, all prospects behind Coleman have moved up one spot each and we have selected winger Zbynek Hrdel to occupy the #25 spot in our rankings. Coleman is the second top-25 prospect to be traded since Bolt Prospects released it's Midterm Rankings in January, Andre Deveaux being the first.
There's been a pretty healthy conversation underway in the comments regarding the fate of Adam Henrich within the Lightning organization. One of the things I think that has been missing from the debate is a look at the bigger picture under the 50-man roster limit that the new CBA imposes on the NHL parent club. Prospects like Henrich who are in the final year of their NHL entry level contracts face the chance of being squeezed out by the new limits where they wouldn't have been under the old CBA. So, in order to understand the way the numbers game might play out, I think it's instructive to look at what prospects could be on the way in for next season:
Bolt Prospects would like to announce the release of its 2006-2007 Midterm Rankings for prospects in the Lightning organization. There have been multiple changes since the Preliminary Rankings we released in October, most notably a new top prospect in the organization, AHL All-Star Karri Ramo, and the graduation of top ten prospect Nick Tarnasky who played his 41st NHL game of the season just this past weekend. Multiple prospects also managed to crack the rankings for the first time by virtue of their play so far this season.
Just a quick reminder on how we differentiate between "alumni", "prospect" and "overage prospect". Any player who plays 41 games or more at the NHL level in any single season or 82 or more total career NHL games will be considered graduated and will be moved to the "Bolt Prospects Alumni" section of the prospects page. With Tarnasky's full-time promotion to the NHL and prior graduations by Doug Janik and Eric Perrin, the alumni list has now grown to six players over the span of the past year and a half since we first put up the prospects page and profile content. Any player under the age of 24 on opening night of the 2006-2007 season who hasn't met the criteria for graduation is considered a "prospect" and is elligible for our rankings. Any player 24 or older who has not yet met the criteria for graduation is considered an "overage prospect" and is not elligible to make the list. In addition, with Johan Holmqvist on track for graduation this season, we've adopted new, but similar, rules for goaltenders whereby graduation will occur upon the 30th decision of any single NHL season or the 41st career NHL decision. For anyone wondering, Holmqvist has already earned 23 decisions this season (with a 14-9-0 record).
With all the legal disclaimers out of the way, here are the 2006-2007 Bolt Prospects Midterm Rankings which can also be found on our prospects page.