This week's edition of the BoltProspects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 19
· Trade deadline do’s, don’ts, and shoulds
· Comparing Lightning D to 2014 Cup finalists’
· Interview with new/old Bolt prospect Carter Ashton
· Interview with AHL Player of the Week Vladdy Namestnikov
· #BPMailbag (Bryz an option? Drouin to AHL next year? How will young D do in the playoffs? Where to put all the centers? Koekkoek still on track? Prospects who could push for NHL time next fall)
To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com. It’s scheduled to run Saturday at 2, 5, and 8 (EST).
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 February 25, 2015 is … Vladislav Namestnikov, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).
With Vladislav Namestnikov in a four-game point drought and the Syracuse Crunch on a five-game losing streak, both looked to rebound.
The Crunch’s top line center registered a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over Albany Friday, added a helper in a 5-3 victory over Binghamton Saturday, and recorded the game-winner and two assists in a 4-3 win in Rochester Sunday. The six-point, plus-five weekend earned Namestnikov the honor of being named the American Hockey League Player of the Week Monday, and our Bolt Prospect of the Week today.
With the graduation of Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Drouin from prospect status here on Bolt Prospects, it's officially time for our annual mid-season ritual of releasing our Midterm Rankings. While the season to date has been marked by a few surprises, the overall shape and outline of the Lightning organization appears to be in line with our early season expectations. Fresh from a season that saw an unprecedented migration of high-quality talent from the AHL to the NHL level, the Lightning organization still enjoys a handful of highly regarded top-tier prospects. But, the amazing depth the Lightning enjoyed is still in the process of being rebuilt. And, with injuries playing a factor, that depth is being heavily taxed midway through the 2014-2015 campaign, particularly at the defenseman position.
The rules remain the same: Only prospects who were under the age of 24 on opening night of the Lightning season are eligible for inclusion in the rankings (our apologies, Luke Witkowski). A skater prospect is considered graduated if they play 41 games in a single NHL season or they collect 82 career NHL games. Goaltenders graduate with 30 decisions in a single NHL season or 41 career NHL decisions. Finally, NCAA-based prospects are eligible for inclusion on the list as long as they are in school, regardless of their age. With the rules out of the way, let's begin...
Ontario Hockey League
Ottawa 67’s 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 4 (OT)
W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 52 GP, 17-19-36, -9, 91 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM
DiGiacinto opened the game’s scoring with his 17th goal of the season, tying a career high. Defenseman Trevor Murphy (passed over in 2014 draft) scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give the Spits the win. The 5-10 defenseman exploded for 59 points this year and is unlikely to get passed over in June’s draft.
Sudbury Wolves 3 @ Peterborough Petes 4
D Dominik Masin, PBO: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 48 GP, 7-19-26, -13, 68 PIM
2013-14 totals (Czech U20): 39 GP, 2-19-21, +6, 102 PIM
Peterborough broke a 3-3 tie in the third period with a power play goal.
Carter Ashton is settled in and starting to contribute on the scoresheet.
The forward, reacquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade earlier this month, has built a rapport with Yanni Gourde and Tanner Richard on one of the Crunch’s top lines. Ashton was held without a point in his first three games with Syracuse, but has three points in his last five games.
“Sometimes it takes a couple games to find chemistry and get comfortable with the guys,” Ashton said at practice Tuesday. “It’s been a great transition so far. Sweeping three this weekend was good for the team, and I found some chemistry with (Gourde) and (Richard). We hope to keep that going.”