Five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will proudly don their home countryâ€™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 oneâ€™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 â€œThe Tikâ€ was player of the game in the championship game â€“ 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.
Hereâ€™s a look at each Lightning prospect participating in this yearâ€™s event, to be held December 26 through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Check NHL Network listings for broadcasts.
Halifax Mooseheads 2 @ Moncton Wildcats 0
D Daniel Milan, MON: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 29 GP, 0-4-4, -9, 27 PIM
Milanâ€™s scoreless streak hit 11 games in the loss.
QMJHL Note: Lightning prospect Adam Janosik of Gatineau has joined Team Slovakia in preparation for the upcoming U20 World Junior Championships.
Guelph Storm 1 @ London Knights 3
C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 33 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 28 PIM
Former Lightning camper Seth Griffith scored an empty net goal for his 26th goal of the season as London topped division rival Guelph, 3-1. The undrafted Griffith has 46 points in 33 games to go with a plus-17 rating. He has a 12 game point streak going and has had at least a point in 24 of his last 26 games. He was passed over in last yearâ€™s draft and camped with the Lightning before being sent back to the OHL without a contract. He sits in sixth in the OHL in points and is second in goals.
Owen Sound Attack 3 @ Sarnia Sting 5
D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 22 GP, 0-7-7, -1, 16 PIM
Likely 2012 top-3 pick Nail Yakupov had a goal and an assist in Sarniaâ€™s win over Geoffrey Schemitsch and Owen Sound. The Russian has 51 points in 25 games. Yakupov, Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov, and Quebec Rempart Mikhail Grigorenko are expected to be the offensive leaders for Russia in the upcoming U20 World Junior Championships.
London Knights 3 @ Peterborough Petes 5
C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 31 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 28 PIM
Namestnikov scored at about the 1:00 mark of the first period â€“ his 17th of the season â€“ then assisted on Seth Griffithâ€™s 25th of the year later in the game but it wasnâ€™t enough for the CHLâ€™s top ranked team to beat the Petes. Namestnikov failed to convert a penalty shot attempt in the game.
Owen Sound Attack 6 @ Windsor Spitfires 4
D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 21 GP, 0-7-7, -1, 16 PIM
Heâ€™s back! Though he was scoreless in the game, Schemitsch (pictured) played his first game since being injured November 12. His name has been mentioned in the local press for being possible trade bait as Owen Sound looks toward the future.
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 weâ€™re fairly certain Brendan Shanahan will make a video about it.
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 prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
This weekâ€™s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to â€¦ our first repeat winner, Vladislav Namestnikov, Center, London Knights (OHL â€“ Canada)
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 2 @ Gatineau Olympiques 3
D Adam Janosik, GAT: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 28 GP, 2-16-18, E, 27 PIM
The Olympiques scored to take a 3-1 lead in the third period then gave up a goal 22 seconds later. They were able to hang on for the win.
Moncton Wildcats 1 @ Chicoutimi Sagueneens 7
D Daniel Milan, MON: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (high sticking), 1 SOG, 0 Hits
Season Totals: 28 GP, 0-4-4, -8, 27 PIM
Milanâ€™s scoreless streak hit 10 games in a loss to the Sags. The Wildcats seem lost without captain Brandon Gormley, who is with Team Canada for the World Junior Championships.
London Knights 2 @ Guelph Storm 1
C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 30 GP, 16-22-38, +9, 28 PIM
Namestnikov earned an assist on Lightning camper Seth Griffithâ€™s 24th goal of the season that tied the game at 1. Tie Domiâ€™s son Max won the game for the Knights in overtime â€“ his 12th goal of the year. With 44 points in 31 games Griffith (pictured) is seventh in the league in scoring. He had 62 points (22 goals) in 68 games last year before joining the Lightning for prospect and rookie camp as a free agent invitee. It is still possible he could be signed by the Lightning after the new year. Someone is going to get him.