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Lightning Prospect WJC Preview

Five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will proudly don their home country’s sweater this holiday season to compete in the Under-20 World Junior Championships. The WJCs are arguably the most exciting international hockey tournament outside of the Olympics and playing for one’s country during this event is a career builder.

Last year Carter Ashton, Brett Connolly, and Canada came up short in the finals, allowing five third period goals to Russia in the gold medal game to lose, 5-3. Host team USA beat Sweden for the bronze in Buffalo, New York.

The last Lightning prospect to win a gold medal was Dustin Tokarski for Canada in 2009 when “The Tik” was player of the game in the championship game – a win over Victor Hedman and Sweden. Dana Tyrell was also a part of that Canadian team, but was injured in pre-tournament action and missed the tournament.

Here’s a look at each Lightning prospect participating in this year’s event, to be held December 26 through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Check NHL Network listings for broadcasts.

Prospect of the Week (11.28.11)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques, but we’re pretty sure this carries more weight than an Ivy League degree in some circles (maybe the Google+ circles?).

Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Alex Killorn, Right Wing, Harvard Crimson (NCAA – USA)

Prospect of the Week (11.21.11)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or flyovers involved, but we’re pretty sure this will be mentioned on this player’s career highlight video.

Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

The BP Mail Bag: 10-27-11

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This week at Bolt Prospects we start our “Mail Bag” column. We have yet to come up with a creative name for it, so send us any and all suggestions. In the meantime (or regardless), we’ll post obscure YouTube clips about mail.

The following questions were sent to us (Pete, Tim, Nigel and/or Chad) via email (staff@boltprospects.com), twitter (@boltprospects), Facebook (www.facebook.com/boltprospects), leaving a comment here with this column, or at our site’s online community forum (click the Forums tab on the home page).

On to the questions…

What's Best for Brett?

It’s here.

Game nine for Lightning prospect Brett Connolly is tonight against the Buffalo Sabres in New York. If he plays a tenth game for the Lightning, his entry level contract kicks in and the Lightning are on the hook for his full salary this year. He’s also one year closer to restricted free agency.

Their only other choice is to return Connolly to Prince George of the Western Hockey League (Major Junior). Because he is not yet 20 years of age, he can’t play in the development-friendly AHL with Norfolk.

So the question hovering over the heads of Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman and Head Coach Guy Boucher is “What to do with Connolly?”

Prospect of the Week (10.2.11)

(Week ending October 2)

This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award. The award is (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or chocolate coins involved, but we’re fairly certain this will carry heavy weight among players in the global hockey community (we were able to find a picture of him with a trophy, however. Pretend it's from us.). Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning.

Wright's Story Isn't Over

Each preseason, hockey fans are gripped by a story of an underdog roster candidate forcing his way onto an NHL club. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brett Connolly and college free agent Cory Conacher have dominated headlines early this fall at the Lightning's training camp in that respect. While Conacher was eventually moved to the AHL, Connolly's chances to stick with the Lightning continue to increase.

He's this year's preseason story.

Milan's Fortunes on Rise

Neil Hodge, Moncton Times & Transcript

It's really a remarkable story when you look at the big picture.

Daniel Milan cracked the Moncton Wildcats' roster on a free agent tryout and was named to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League All-Rookie Team last season. That earned him a free agent invitation to a National Hockey League training camp this season.

The 19-year-old defenceman impressed the Tampa Bay Lightning so much that last week they signed him to a three-year contract. He's back in Moncton now, but if he continues to develop as expected look for him to begin his professional career next season.

Prospect of the Week (9.25.11)

(Week ending September 25)

This season Bolt Prospects will be introducing our Prospect of the Week award. The award is (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques or women jumping out of a cake involved (unfortunately), but we’re fairly certain this will carry heavy weight among players in the global hockey community and with agents negotiating contracts (were this Twitter, we’d use #sarcasm here).

Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospect’s achievement on the ice.

Camp, Cuts Part of the Process for Prospects

The Tampa Bay Lightning cut 27 players from its training camp roster Sunday, including 12 of the club’s prospects. Only prospects Mattias Ritola, Brett Connolly, and Scott Jackson remained with the club after the weekend.

“I’ve got to pay my dues to get up here and be a producing player,” Ritola said before cut-down day. “I've got to do the work first. I feel really excited to be here right now.”

Ritola spent time in Grand Rapids of the AHL two years ago and passed through waivers to get to AHL Norfolk last season. He’s still paying his dues and putting in the work to get to and stay in the NHL.

Other prospects are beginning that process, which starts with training camp.

The Lightning make its NHL training camp as beneficial as possible for prospects and does its best to keep in contact with them after cut-down day.

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