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Prospect of the Week: 4-8-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 8, 2015 is … Adam Erne, W/C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL – Canada).

It’s Tuesday night, Game 7, and fourth-seeded Quebec is trying to avoid an embarrassing upset to Cape Breton. Adam Erne’s Remparts are down 2-0 late in the first period before the Lightning’s 2013 second round pick starts a play that finishes with the puck in the back of the Eagles’ net to cut their lead to 2-1 with eight seconds left before intermission.

The original 2-0 lead flips to 4-2 for the Remparts by the end of the second so the lead isn’t considered secure by any means. Erne scores at 1:18, prompting an exuberant Remparts play-by-play announcer to scream “Big Ern!”

Peca Looks to Step Up for Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In his second professional game, Matthew Peca had some big shoes to fill.

With Crunch captain Mike Angelidis scratched due to an upper body injury, Peca slotted into Syracuse’s third line between Joel Vermin and Justin Courtnall. The center, looking to make an adjustment to the pro game during his tryout with the Crunch, excelled in his increased ice time and registered his first pro point on an assist to briefly tie the game against Bridgeport Saturday.

Peca is looking to become a regular contributor for the Crunch, whose depth is being tested with so many players banged up late in the season.

“He’s got good speed, he is highly competitive, and seems to be a high character guy,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We’ll get to know more as we move along here, but if Saturday night is any indication, there were no issues with him fitting in or adjusting. He was good.”

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 24

This week's “Shane Willis Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 24
· How new additions Peca and Wilcox fit in now and next year
· Slater Koekkoek’s NHL debut and how he compares to other young D
· Interview with Brayden Point
· #BPMailbag (Odd man out in playoffs … Checking in on Ben Thomas’ development … Vladdy’s ceiling … 2011 draft sweep… Syracuse playoff outlook with new additions … TB’s lack of Swedish players)

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

Prospect of the Week: 4-1-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 1, 2015 is … Cameron Darcy, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL – Canada).

The QMJHL’s second season started last week and Cameron Darcy began with a bang.

The Lightning’s seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft had a hat trick and five points in Game 2 of Sherbrooke’s first round series against Charlottetown. The Phoenix had lost the first game by a large margin and were sitting on the cliff of falling down 2-0 in the series at home. Darcy was named the game’s first star.

The Boston native followed up his Game 2 performance with two more goals in Game 3, a loss by the Phoenix on Prince Edward Island. His two goals gave him five goals and seven points in two games, and our Bolt Prospect of the Week award.

What to Expect from Slater Koekkoek

The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Koekkoek, 21, has skated in 66 games with the Crunch this season, posting five goals and 24 points to go along with 40 penalty minutes. He leads all Syracuse defensemen for assists (19) and points. The Mountain, Ontario native also ranks tied for fifth among AHL rookie defensemen for points. Koekkoek made his professional debut on October 12, 2014 against Hartford.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound defenseman skated in 195 career Ontario Hockey League games over four seasons, recording 33 goals and 123 points. Koekkoek set career highs for goals (15), assists (38) and points (53) in his final OHL season in 2013-14 with the Windsor Spitfires.

Koekkoek was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 10th overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft.

What to expect:

Point Looks to Contribute While Learning With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Brayden Point is in a position to chip in immediately.

After averaging more than a point with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League over the past three-plus seasons, Point has a chance to step in and contribute offensively with the Syracuse Crunch. The center, who is getting a taste of the pro game in his stint with Syracuse, was flanked by Crunch leading goalscorer Yanni Gourde and former Tampa Bay Lightning first round pick Carter Ashton during his American Hockey League debut against Rochester Saturday.

“Obviously the coaching staff has given me a good opportunity to play with some real talented players that have had success at this level,” Point said. “It’s definitely an opportunity for me, and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 23

This week's “Petr Svoboda Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 23
· Brayden Point joins Syracuse
· What’s next for Adam Wilcox, Matt Peca, and Brendan O’Donnell?
· Stamkos vs Bishop
· Interview with Tanner Richard
· #BPMailbag (Why is D so passive? … Building a team core with TB players/prospects 21 and under … Stamkos’ confidence growing? … Off-season free agent targets … TB prospects in NHL top-50)

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

Crunch's Richard Provides Physicality, Playmaking Ability


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tanner Richard is at his best when he is playing his game and taking his opponents off theirs.

The Crunch center has registered a point in nine out of his last 13 games to cement himself among Syracuse’s top scorers. But Crunch Head Coach Rob Zettler believes a big part of Richard’s success comes down to being tough to play against.

“He’s getting back to being a bit of a pain in the butt out there, which is when he’s good,” Zettler said. “He just seems more engaged physically, and more engaged in moving his feet down low and on the cycle plays offensively.”

Prospect of the Week: 3-24-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 24, 2015 is … Adam Wilcox, G, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA – USA).

Playing goaltender for the University of Minnesota isn’t for the faint of heart. For everything positive – and Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox had plenty of positives in his first two years with the Gophers – the negatives are amplified to a level of criticism not seen in many hockey circles. Minnesota was the top-ranked team early in the year, then fell out of the rankings completely. As a result, Wilcox has trudged through a river of disparagement for inconsistent play and what amounts to not living up to the standard that he set himself.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 22

This week's edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 22
· Remembering Matthew Wuest
· Missing on Curran could be big loss for Syracuse D
· More NCAA free agents still out there
· Interview with Slater Koekkoek
· #BPMailbag (Which line is No. 1? … Can TB keep Triplets beyond 2017? … Trade Wilcox’s rights? … Vasy’s timeline to No. 1 … Brayden Point Excitement Meter … TB’s Russian factor … No passing in advance stats? … Most popular TB jerseys 3 years from now)

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

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