This week's “Brad Lukowich Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 37
· Season preview: Tampa Bay Lightning. What’s the ceiling? Floor? Who’s the scoring leader?
· Season preview: Syracuse Crunch. Everything depends on…
· Interview with Rob Zettler
· The BP Mailbag (Should 3-on-3 overtime stats count? Will Steve Yzerman still be a genius after cap casualties?)
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award this season, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The first Bolt Prospect of the Week for the 2015-2016 season, for the week ending September 28, is … Matthew Peca, C, Tampa Bay Lightning/Syracuse Crunch.
The last Lightning prospect to wear No. 63 as a camp number turned out to be pretty good at the hockey, and the latest prospect to wear it is off to an impressive start.
Tyler Johnson wore 63 before switching to his customary No. 9, then was a Calder Trophy finalist for the NHL rookie of the year. A year later he was a playoff hero, helping the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Finals berth before breaking his wrist and playing the final series significantly limited.
Matt Peca was playing center for Quinnipiac University when Johnson was proving NHL doubters wrong two years ago. Two weeks ago he was lighting it up for the Lightning in their prospect tournament and took that momentum into the Lightning’s main camp and preseason games.
This week's “Andre Roy Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 36
· Roster cutting
· Who’s left standing for the TB opener?
· Interview with Adam Wilcox
· The BP Mailbag (Who wins the backup job? … Another option for backup goalie? … Darkhorse for TB prospect call-up … Stamkos trade value [if necessary] … Adam Erne now vs Adam Erne in previous camps)
This week's “Nikolai Khabibulin Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 35
· Prospect tournament review (Who’s up? Who’s down?)
· Interview with Mathieu Joseph
· The BP Mailbag (Which TB regular is getting the squeeze? … Camp surprises? … Thoughts on Yan, Joseph, Stephens … Kucherov with Stamkos? … 2019 arena banners)
Tomorrow is the end of the 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning Prospect Tournament in Estero, Florida, and the Lightning (1-1) have a chance to claim its championship if Nashville beats Washington earlier in the day and the Bolts defeat Florida. There is no championship game or oversized trophy awarded to the winners to skate around Germain Arena and collect their pent-up tears of joy, however.
There’s a reason for that – it’s all about the experience.
This week's “Mikael Andresson Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 34
· Prospect season is underway, and The Goose is loose
· Prospect tournament preview
· Vasy’s replacement – Who’s ready? Who’s not?
· Top 10 Upsiders, organization-wide
After many days of careful debate and examination, Bolt Prospects is ready to announce its 2014-2015 Supplemental Rankings with the addition of the Lightning’s 2015 NHL Entry Draft class. The team's 2015 draft strategy seems in some ways to represent a shifting of gears by a team that appears to have taken the leap into elite status. With no glaring organizational holes after having addressed the defenseman position last summer and with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in their back pocket, this year's draft strategy appears to have moved away from the goal of adding cornerstone pieces or addressing organizational holes and toward the goal of adding the type of grit and depth necessary to win the sport's greatest prize. As you read the Supplemental Rankings, you'll see that as a common thread throughout almost all of the 2015 draftees. In addition, you'll see how the rankings take into account the results of the team's recent summer rookie camp, which was the first opportunity to evaluate the postseason development track of some prospects and see how new prospects stacked up against returnees.
This week's “Freddy Modin Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 33
· Draft review – pick by pick & overall
· Offseason update – are they done?
Another draft has come and gone in Lightningland and the NFL-Draft-trained masses are expecting a grade and a winner or loser label.
Not happening here, sorry. There are few things as meaningless as draft grades the day after a draft. Reactions now to a draft will be completely different in five years, but you already knew that.
That soapbox aside, we can look at what the Lightning did this weekend and compare it to our system pre-draft wish list for player position and player types. Of course, Lightning Director of Scouting Al Murray said the club doesn’t pay attention to positions. He also said we wouldn't believe him.
“We don’t care where you play, just that you play the way we want you to play,” he told Lightning Radio.
One of the things we've seen repeatedly in the Yzerman-Murray drafts is the penchant to spend a pick or two on players with the potential to immediately impact the Syracuse Crunch. Twice Head Amateur Scout Al Murray has spent first round picks on older first-time draft-eligible players (Namestnikov and DeAngelo) that could be fast tracked to the AHL after just one additional junior season. With later round draftees Cedric Paquette and Henri Ikonen, Murray once again dipped into the 19-year-old pool, allowing Syracuse to benefit from them have quicker access to the professional development pipeline. We've also seen Murray draft three players that were basically draft-and-sign guys (Ondrej Palat, Kristers Gudlevskis, and Cameron Darcy) that were eligible to immediately slot into the AHL after being drafted. Gudlevskis (pictured) was drafted out of Europe, and while Darcy just wasn't quite ready last year, the expectation when he selected was that he'd transition immediately to Syracuse or ECHL Florida. In this article, I'll first highlight some of the one-and-done players from Pete Choquette's 2015 Bolt Prospects Draft Review, and I'll also throw out at least five players to keep your eye on in the later rounds as potential draft-and-sign guys that could help the Crunch this fall.