Nearly six months have passed since the last Syracuse Crunch regular season game.
One season removed from a Calder Cup playoff run that lasted well into June, the offseason began after the final horn at the Onondaga County War Memorial April 19. For Crunch coach Rob Zettler, who coached in the 2013 finals and spent the bulk of the ensuing offseason hiring a new coaching staff, the extended summer gave him time to reflect.
"This year it was too much time," Zettler said. "A lot of time to think about it."
This week's edition of the BoltProspects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The past and future of Richard Panik
· How good can Brett Connolly be?
· Vladdy Namestnikov, NHLer and Lightning posterchild
· Andrej Sustr's upside
· Former prospects Dustin Tokarski and Cory Conacher with big opportunities in front of them
· Lightning season prediction
This week we introduced our first podcast. The first edition addresses questions asked via the #BPMailbag on Twitter (@BoltProspects) and our forum about the Lightning and Syracuse Crunch organizations. Additional topics include the Nashville rookie tournament, roster speculation, and comparing this year's Crunch squad to the championship Norfolk club.
With today’s Part 4, we close the book on our late offseason Who’s Trending? series that examines rising or falling player values. As we’ve mentioned many times, the great part about hockey – and especially developmental hockey – is this is subject to change. This is The Afanasenkov Rule.
The series includes current prospects and players that started last season as prospects who remain in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
Part 4: Recent Graduates
Brace yourselves – Lightning hockey is now just days away.
The Baby Bolts will participate in the Nashville prospects tournament this weekend at the brand-spanking new Ford Ice Center. They'll be joined by the Preds, Bruins, and that team from near Miami. Lightning prospects are currently gathering in Tampa for two practices in advance of their tournament opener on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (EST).
The Lightning announced earlier today there would be no online streaming of games. There hasn’t been any announcement concerning radio, though in the past some teams have had audio streaming available on the Web. At the least, Bolt Prospects will live-tweet the Lightning’s games from the Ford Ice Center.
Tampa Bay announced their tournament roster on August 28 and should be the favorite in the event based on the star-power of Jonathan Drouin and Andrei Vasilevskiy alone. Add in defensive weapons Slater Koekkoek and Anthony DeAngelo and the Bolts are sure to test the Ford Ice Center’s scoreboard capabilities.