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Weiss Hockey: 1-30-19

Editor's Note: We are happy to introduce one of our new writers, Andrew Weiss. A noted #LightningTwitter personality, @Weiss_NW has informed and entertaining opinions, a strong understanding of the Lightning organizational picture, and can throw puns with the best of 'em. Enjoy.

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Quick Hits – What happened in hockey this week

- New podcast this week was VERY Peter Chiarelli heavy. Since, you know, he got fired.

- Yes, the big news this week before the All Star break was that Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli was fired. Not sure why? Might be trading future MVP Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, who is meh. Or giving up the draft pick that ended up as Mat Barzal for... Griffin Reinhart? Or... actually, I don't have enough time to make a full list. That's not a good thing for Chiarelli, and it's absolutely not a good thing for Oilers fans.

2018-2019 Preliminary Rankings

Introduction

The 2018-2019 regular season is well underway, and thus the time for the 2018-2019 Bolt Prospects Preliminary Rankings is upon us. This year's training camp and preseason again showed the depth of the Lightning's prospect pool, with several young players having strong showings and a handful of new additions to the big club's roster. All in all, though the Lightning lack the top-end elite prospects they may have once had, the team still has an enviable amount of depth and a score of prospects who look poised to become future NHL'ers.

Draft Day Two Preview

The Lightning enter the 2018 NHL Draft with seven picks, but without a first round pick due to the trade deadline deal with the Rangers for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Predicting who the Bolts will pick with each of their Round 2 through 7 picks, and the Kings 7th rounder is an impossible task. But, we can throw out some players we think the Bolts might view as possibilities. As always, the Lightning draft team will say they are drafting best player available, but we will be looking at organization needs in the prospect system for much of the context of this preview.

2017-2018 Final Rankings

Introduction
For the third time in the past four seasons, a Lightning team was able to advance deep into May in the playoffs only to see the Stanley Cup remain elusive. With a roster of mainstays that have been together for over a half decade now, is this the summer that Steve Yzerman decides to make some changes? If he does, Tampa Bay is in the rare and envious position of having a surplus of hungry young lions pawing at the gate to get into the NHL.

To some surprise, a very youthful Syracuse Crunch team was able to once again go multiple rounds in the Calder Cup playoffs after a strong regular season where they remained one of the AHL Eastern Conference's best teams even after divesting its roster of a number of quality veteran players. This development, along with the Canadian junior nationals once again looking like the Lightning's own U20 academy team, highlighted the remarkable quality of the club's pipeline. We count, easily, at least 11 legitimate future NHL players on the 2017-2018 Final Rankings, with the club soon to add another draft class into the fold.

A brief reminder of the rules: Only players under the age of 24 on opening night of the 2017-2018 season are eligible for ranking. Skaters with 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more total NHL games are considered graduated from the rankings. Goaltenders with 30 or more decisions in a single season or 41 or more career NHL decisions are also considered graduated. Lastly, NCAA players remain eligible for ranking for the duration of their college careers regardless of age.

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