Drouin, Jonathan

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-21-13 Lightning at Panthers

The big boys help keep the Lightning perfect in the preseason.

TB-5
FLA-4 (SO)

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 29 shots, but did stop 3 of 3 for the shootout "W".

First Period
3:08 TB Malone, (Hedman, Stamkos)
10:34 TB St Louis, (Stamkos, Purcell)(PP)

Second Period
9:40 FLA Gudbranson, (Kulikov)(PP)
11:15 TB Brown, (Salo)
12:10 FLA Kulikov, (Gilbert, Kopecky)(PP)

Third Period
4:14 FLA Butler, (Kopecky, Trocheck)
12:35 TB Stamkos, (Carle)
19:02 FLA Butler, (Gudbranson, Kulikov)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Droin
FLA- NONE

Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone were the game's first and second stars.

Rightfully, youngsters like Brett Connolly have been getting a lot of attention for their play in camp and preseason. Tonight was a reminder that, oh yeah, #91 is still the cat's pajamas. Shaky goaltending from Bishop does merit some concern, but sitting at 4-0-0 in the preseason is nice no matter how you slice it.

Now that the Lightning have run their 4 games in 4 nights gauntlet and made their first two rounds of cuts, the roster is starting to crystalize. Tonight was an opportunity to evaluate, in particular, a bubble player like Dana Tyrell, who got 16:10 of ice time. There's still another round of preseason games to go next week, so nothing is set in stone, but if the roster had to be finalized tonight, I think the team would have some painful decisions to make. Here's how I might set the 23-man roster and lines:

Malone/Stamkos/St. Louis
Killorn/Filppula/Purcell
Palat/Johnson/Panik
Pyatt/Thompson/Crombeen
Labrie/Connolly

Hedman/Salo
Carle/Gudas
Brewer/Aulie
Barberio

Bishop
Lindback

I have a hard time seeing Jonathan Drouin's spot on the team right now given how well Palat, Johnson, Panik, and Connolly have played. It's not that he couldn't play in the NHL this season, it's that there may not be any need to rush him into the show with so many other young players looking ready to step up. There's still a batch of games next week, so there's certainly time for Drouin to make a more definitive statement, but right now I think he's lagging those four other prospects. A veteran like Tyrell also looks to be on the outside looking in.

On defense, waiver eligibility and contractual particulars mean Andrej Sustr would probably have to lap Aulie and Barberio to make it to opening night. No, not beat them by a few car lengths. He'd have to lap them to make it. My guess is the Lightning will roll with that seven in the first half and hope they can do the job. If they can't, they have a more seasoned Sustr as an option to call up and perhaps a healed Brian Lee to give a shot to, as well. If they're in the hunt around the deadline, defense is obviously where Yzerman's attention is probably going to go to.

Of course, one injury here or there completely upsets the apple cart, which is why I should emphasize that there's still time in the process. A week can be an eternity at this time of year.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-13 Lightning at Blues

The most impressive win of the preseason.

TB-4
STL-3

Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 15 shots for the win before giving way to Anders Lindback, who allowed 2 goals on 15 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
7:31 TB Sergeev, (Filppula )(PP)
15:25 STL Steen, (Backes)

Second Period
14:10 TB Connolly, (Filppula, Killorn)
15:12 STL Shattock, (unassisted)
15:59 TB Palat, (Johnson, Panik)

Third Period
05:39 TB Labrie, (Filppula , Brewer)
07:28 STL Oshie, (Bouwmeester)

You don't want to overblow the importance of this game. It was, after all, a preseason game. But, in fairness, St. Louis pretty much iced their NHL side and the Lightning iced their third and fourth lines and a whole lot of prospect defensemen. To pull off the victory is an impressive case of a team fighting above its weight class, and at 3-0-0 so far in the preseason we're seeing, perhaps, that a different culture is rising up.

If you follow the ice time tonight, it was Mark Barberio's big showcase, garnering 22:22 in the match to lead all Lightning defensemen. Barberio was even on the night against, pretty much, the top weapons of a pretty good playoff team, so that's not a bad showing on paper for the young d-man. It's probably the minimum he needed to make sure he kept the upper hand in the fight for one of the last 2 defenseman spots on the roster. Artem Sergeev, surprisingly, also topped the 20 minute mark at 20:24, besting both of his Eastern European Soul Machine bandmates, Dmitry Korobov and the soulful Andrej Sustr.

Up front, the Lightning again got production and solid play from Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Richard Panik. These four, honestly, may be giving the Lightning the luxury of being able to take their time with young Jonathan Drouin. And, certainly, the Lightning have to be pleased with their $5M per investment, Filppula, getting helpers in triplicate against what really amounts to the Blues' opening night d-corps and goaltender.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-19-13 Lightning at Predators

The kids at forward stake their claim.

TB-5
NSH-1

Riku Helenius was perfect on 15 shots before giving way to Cedrick Desjardins, who allowed 1 goal on 17 shots the rest of the way. It's a good showing for the potential tandem for Syracuse this season.

First Period
5:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman)
6:51 TB Palat, (unassisted)

Second Period
6:44 TB Stamkos, (Malone, Witkowski)
18:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman, Sustr)

Third Period
0:46 NSH Cullen, (unassisted)(SH)
2:03 TB Panik, (Kucherov, Taormina)(PP)

Brett Connolly, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. Connolly also scored in a big scrimmage earlier in preseason to draw the praise of Jon Cooper and with Connolly and the PTP line (Palat, Johnson, and Panik) all playing well the roster calculus gets very interesting.

In particular, note Jonathan Drouin only got 12:23 of ice time tonight. Follow the ice time in these games, because it will tell you who the club is looking at and who is earning a little longer look. For instance, note Andrej Sustr with over 20 minutes of ice time, which was almost 4 minutes more than Keith Aulie. Interesting stuff.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

2013-2014 Training Camp: Day 1

Players reported for camp today and most spent it taking care of various chores: a gauntlet of paperwork, photos and media inquiries. The only players scheduled to hit the ice for a (private) practice were those from the recently completed rookie camp squad.

Amid all of the bustle, Bolt Prospects was able to catch up with some of the staff and players. Here are some takeaways and select quotes:

2013 Development Camp: Days 2, 3 and 5

Apologies for the delayed observations but personal circumstances have necessitated a combined summary of impressions from several days I attended.

The bulk of the following observations stem from last Wednesday's 3-on-3 tournament action (I was unable to make it Tuesday) although some does come from the on-ice sessions last Sunday and Monday. Here are some thoughts on a limited number of camp participants, from those I went out of my way to watch and those my eyes kept being drawn to:

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