Features

Articles that are feature stories.

Way-Too-Early Roster Projections

As the Lightning trudge through the offseason swamp, we’ll keep a running list of best-guess rosters for Tampa Bay and Syracuse based on players available to them. Use the old “if the season started today” when looking at this. Of note: Unless you’re reading this on opening night, the season doesn’t start today and fans should never judge an offseason until the puck drops on the season.

With that said, here’s where players slot if the season were to start today. Notable RFA’s are included, but UFA’s are not. We will also not make bold predictions such as Ben Thomas unseating Anton Stralman because of his offseason workout magic, or anything like that. If a Brayden Point situation happens, it just happens. Depth charts (NOT line combos) are based on probability and relative status to their peers as of this moment.

Here we go:

Offseason Prospect Rankings

Introduction
Now that the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and Lightning prospect development camp are in the past, it's time to update BoltProspects' prospect rankings. Usually we do the introductions to these rankings in a fairly formulaic fashion, with a quick overview of the general inertia of the prospect pipeline since our last rankings update followed by the usual legalese about our ranking eligibility rules. This time around, I'd like to take a step back, though, and address a couple of things that have come up in the last month or so. You can call this clearing the air, venting, keeping it real, whatever you like...

Issue number one is the trade of Jonathan Drouin, a former prospect whose athletic gifts we obviously had a lot of respect for on the website. Because of that respect of Drouin, the talent, we were really swept up in a maelstrom of bomb throwing and hyperbole by different factions in the fan base that just didn't represent the more mature, nuanced position we have on the trade. To put it bluntly, there were so many people on my Twitter mentions acting the fool that day, you'd have thought I died and moved to a market like Toronto or Montreal where BS and hype erupt into the hockey world en masse through some rip in common sense and the time space continuum, alike.

The BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 97

This BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 97 – the Matt Gilroy Edition, contains the following topics:

· The No. 97
· Drouinsanity 3.0
· First round difficulties
· 2017 Draft review
· BP “underrating defensemen” (yes and no)
· “GirarDay” (UFA) review
· So… bottom line… are the Lightning better?

2017 Lightning Draft Preview

Introduction

After a very unconventional 2016-2017 Tampa Bay Lightning prospect season concluded with the Syracuse Crunch being defeated in six games in the Calder Cup Final, 2017-2018 had an unconventional beginning with the acquisition of defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and the looming Las Vegas Expansion Draft. Unconventional doesn't equal bad, though, when evaluating the state of the Lightning prospect system heading into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. There are still some moving parts to consider heading into the Expansion Draft, and this preview may be subject to change based on the outcome of that event, but on balance the Lightning enter the draft in a position of strength.

Blog: The (Drouin) Magic is Gone

When you watch a magician as a kid, you want to believe the act is 100% real. You’re skeptical, but you want to believe – because if this is stuff is indeed real, it opens up a world you didn’t think was actually possible.

Then your dad tells you the handkerchief was up the guy’s sleeve and that belief is squashed like an East German roach beneath a boot.

I kinda feel like that right now.

Crunch Look to Capitalize on Opportunity Against Griffins in Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The feeling is one that Matt Taormina reluctantly remembers.

The Syracuse Crunch fell behind 3-0 in the Calder Cup Finals in 2013, but became the first team to win back-to-back road elimination games to send the series back to the Onondaga County War Memorial.

But then the disappointment of coming up short, with American Hockey League president Dave Andrews handing the cup to Grand Rapids Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan after Game 6.

For Taormina, the only current member of the Crunch who was on that 2013 playoff run, Syracuse needs to capitalize on the opportunity in front of them as the teams meet again in the Calder Cup Finals starting Friday in Grand Rapids.

"They came in and won it in front of our fans, and that was really hard to deal with," Taormina said. "You don’t really get this opportunity too often to make it all the way to the finals and have a chance of winning. You just have to take advantage of it.”

Lightning Power Play Live: April 17, 2017

Chad was on Lightning Radio’s Lightning Power Play Live Monday to discuss the following:

· Playoffs
· GMing 101
· Creativity within structure
· Jo Drouin’s future with TB (or is there one?)
· Syracuse’s run to the playoffs
· Juniors update

Yan Getting First Pro Experience With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dennis Yan didn't look out of place in his pro debut.

After finishing his junior season with Shawinigan of the QMJHL earlier this month, the winger took the ice in the Syracuse Crunch's 3-2 win over the Albany Devils Saturday night.

Yan is focused on gaining valuable experience as he begins his pro career.

"I think it was a pretty good game for me," Yan said. "I played physical. I played simple, a bit more than juniors because it's a lot different level. It's professional. It's faster and more physical.

"I think I'll get some more games and I'll be more confident and play my game."

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Episode 96

This week’s “The Year Was 1996 Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:

· The No. 96
· The ’96 Lightning
· Blame fingers and mulligans
· TB set up better than ever for long-term success
· Upcoming free agents and what to do with them
· Next year’s team
· Interview with Slater Koekkoek

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Crunch's Koekkoek Focused on Having Long Playoff Run


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Slater Koekkoek isn't sitting around and waiting for his phone to ring.

Unable to be called up unless there are injuries to the Tampa Bay Lightning's defensive corps, the Crunch defenseman has embraced more of a leadership role with in Syracuse.

With six key North Division games remaining in the regular season, Koekkoek's main focus is taking the Crunch deep into the playoffs.

"Any time a guy comes down here, they're hoping it's not for long," Koekkoek said. "I'm not sitting here and pouting about it. I'm trying to make the most of it. I love the guys down here. We're working hard and hopefully go on a long playoff run."

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