Now that the 2009-2010 season is fully underway, it's time for Bolt Prospects to engage in the annual ritual of submitting its October Preliminary Rankings. This is going to be a fascinating season for the Lightning's prospects, as Norfolk looks like it has the most depth its had since the Lightning affiliated itself with the Admirals franchise and a deep 2009 NHL Entry Draft has given Lightning fans much to look forward to in the junior ranks. But, before we proceed, lets go over the ground rules again.
Bolt Prospects considers a prospect skater to be any player under the age of 24 on opening night of the season who has played less than 41 NHL games in any given season and who has not played more than 82 career NHL games. For goaltenders, any player who has less than 30 NHL decisions in a single season and less than 41 career NHL decisions is still considered a prospect. The exception to these rules is an NCAA player, who is considered a prospect for however long they remain in school. Clear as mud? Wonderful. Let's begin...
This was Richard Panik's much talked-about second goal of the preseason, scored between the legs on a ricochet off the end-boards. Panik (#28 on right) had three goals and eight points in two exhibition games for Windsor before joining the Lightning for rookie camp in Brandon, Florida. Enjoy.
When asked, there's no hesitation.
Kyle DeCoste quickly admits that yes, this is the biggest year of his life.
A fifth-round draft choice of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, DeCoste's play over the next several months will determine whether he gets a professional contract.
But it may take the London, Ont., native some time to be completely ready for his fourth Ontario Hockey League season.
The 19-year-old right-winger, who joined the Soo Greyhounds just before last season's Jan. 10 trade deadline, is recovering from shoulder surgery in April.
The six-foot-two, 196- pounder, is "almost 100 per cent back," after having a torn labrum (cartilage) repaired on his left side.
But the surgery kept DeCoste, who scored 15 times a season ago, including seven in 26 games for the Greyhounds, from training the way he needed to.
For the rest of the story, see the Sault Star by clicking here.
Lightning prospect Tokarski does nothing but win
(National Post) The 19-year-old goaltender obsessively taps his posts and his chest. And during every stoppage in play, he pokes the top of his net twice with the blade of his stick.
"That kid must take forever to wash his hands," one fan observed after watching Tokarski mind the Spokane Chiefs' net during a Western Hockey League game last season.
Like baseball player Nomar Garciaparra's ritual of adjusting and readjusting his gloves before every pitch, Tokarski's habits can be enervating to watch.
But as much as his twitchiness makes him appear unsettled, it also puts him in a comfort zone.
"I've been doing that ever since I was 13 years old," he says.
Tokarski has also made a habit of winning.
To read the rest of the story, see the National Post/StarPhoenix by clicking here.
With two weeks now passed since a very successful 2009 NHL Entry Draft and an equally successful Young Guns prospect camp, Bolt Prospects has released a supplemental update to its 2008-2009 Final Rankings. The rankings primarily reflect the addition of the team's recent draftees, as well as recent contractual moves by the team and its prospects.