Now that the 2010-2011 NHL season is underway it is time for BoltProspects' 2010-2011 Preliminary Rankings of the Lightning's top twenty-five prospects. This year's installment reflects a talent pool that has both high-end prospects and depth for perhaps the first time in the club's history, a fact that was celebrated by both GM Steve Yzerman and Head Coach Guy Boucher during training camp this fall. The Lightning is still looking for high end talent at the defenseman position, but at forward and between the pipes there's no doubting the potential.
Before we proceed, I am required to recite the BoltProspects prospect criteria rules. As always, any player 24 years of age or older on opening night of the Lightning's season (10/9/10) is not eligible for inclusion on the list and will be considered an overage prospect. The prime example of this rule is versatile forward Johan Harju, who turned 24 in May, and therefore is not eligible for this year's list. The same is true for forward Blair Jones, who turned 24 in September. The exception to this rule is NCAA-based players, who remain eligible for the list until the completion of their college careers. Prospects under 24 will be considered graduated to the NHL level when they meet the appropriate criteria for games played or decisions. For skaters, any player who appears in 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games is no longer considered a prospect. For goaltenders, any netminder who has 30 or more decisions in a single NHL season or 41 or more career NHL decisions will be considered graduated.
Now that that's out of the way, Guy Boucher says no more d-to-d passes. Let's go:
(HockeyProspect.com) Whether the game be played at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, or at the Ice Sports Palace Sibir in Russia, many young and talented hockey players looking to enter North American professional hockey acknowledge the pressure that hangs on their draft year.
The 2010 NHL Entry Draft was no exception, as many players from all over the world came together in Los Angeles just after taking part in their draft year.
Brett Connolly of the Prince George Cougars was no exception.
To read this interview, including Connolly's thoughts on being drafted, his immediate future, and Lightning Director of Player Personnel Jim Hammett's thoughts on the pick and Connolly's health, see HockeyProspect.com by clicking here.
With the 2010 NHL Entry Draft completed, BoltProspects is releasing its Supplemental Rankings of the organization's top twenty-five prospects. The new rankings reflect both the results of the 2010 draft and transfers and signings that have occurred since the release of our 2009-2010 Final Rankings. To be considered a prospect for the sake of our rankings, a player must be under 24 years of age on the Lightning's opening night of the NHL season. Players 24 or over are considered overage prospects and are no longer eligible for consideration. The exception to this rule are NCAA based players, who are considered prospects for the tenure of their college careers. For the skating positions, a prospect is considered graduated if they play 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games. For goaltenders, a player who has 30 or more NHL decisions in a single season or 41 or more career NHL decisions is considered graduated and no longer eligible for the list.
With the 2009-2010 NHL season completed and the Chicago Blackhawks crowned as Stanley Cup champions, and the passing of the annual deadline to sign draft prospects, BoltProspects is pleased to release its 2009-2010 Final Rankings for the season. The release of the Final Rankings will precede a daily series we are going to be running up to draft day titled 11 for 6. 11 for 6 will examine the top 11 prospects we at BoltProspects feel fans should be aware of as the Lightning prepare to pick 6th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Get the call from the agent.
Race to the airport.
Hop a bus, a cab, whatever - itâ€™s the chaos of being a professional athlete.
Suit up, meet the new coach, absorb the playbook, and connect with new linemates.
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Carter Ashton, the No.2 prospect in the organization according to Bolt Prospects, recently experienced the rush after his call-up to the organizationâ€™s AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, this month.
Ashton, 18, knew the phone could ring at any moment and was relatively calm.
Clear the pucks after practice.
Clean the team bus, without volunteering.
No inimical stares - just good olâ€™ work habits prescribed by his teammates.
Itâ€™s all part of being a rookie for Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden, shifting from youth to maturity with the clubâ€™s farm affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals.
Howâ€™s the forwardâ€™s first taste of the professional ranks?
Forget the airy questions about mirroring NHL superstars, or making casual comparisons - Norfolk Admirals forward Dana Tyrell follows his own compass.
However, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect questioned himself and his future after a right knee injury sidelined him for six months last year.
Tyrell was on a fast track to success, earning a spot on Team Canada while leading the Prince George Cougars squad in scoring, piling up 19 goals and 21 assists in 30 games.
Then, his world would drastically change in the ensuing months.
It's roughly the midpoint of the NHL season, and with the graduations of prospects James Wright and Victor Hedman, and the conclusion of the U20 World Junior Championships, it's time for Bolt Prospects to release its 2009-2010 Midterm Rankings. The Midterm Rankings reflect a significant amount of change for the club, as it has been a year where the team's prospects haven't stuck to the script. Some players have failed to live up to expectations. Other have come out of nowhere to raise their stock. The end result is one of the widest shifts in rankings we've ever had.
Just call him â€œThe Eraser.â€
Already known for his grit and forechecking abilities, Blair Jones has taken his two-way game to another level this year. And Lightning coaches are taking it even further.
In Saturday nightâ€™s key Southeast Division clash against the Atlanta Thrashers, Jones, who earlier this month was still playing in AHL Norfolk, got the tap on the shoulder to help kill a first period penalty. It was his first significant action shorthanded this season, and to make matters more intimidating, he was lined up opposite Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, who entered the game among NHL goal leaders with 21 and the leagueâ€™s fifth-best shooting percentage
â€œWhatever the coaches ask me to do Iâ€™m going to do it,â€ Jones said. â€œItâ€™s not the most glorifying job to stand in front of one of the hardest shots in the league, but whatever keeps me out on the ice.â€
Bolt Prospects (BP), an online source for Tampa Bay Lightning prospect news since 2005, is pleased to announce a partnership with the Lightningâ€™s official web site, tampabaylightning.com.
Recently the Lightning have increased their coverage of its players and draftees below the NHL level, providing feature stories and prospect camp reviews. Now, with the help of Bolt Prospects, tampabaylightning.com/prospects will add our game night updates covering organizational prospects on three continents, as well as the latest news and links from BP as posted on Twitter.
We at BP would like to thank our loyal readers for their support over the years, and we look forward to bigger and better things in the future.