North American Juniors

North American Juniors Game Night: 9-24-11

OHL

Saginaw Spirit 5 @ Owen Sound Attack 2

D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

This one is hard to figure out. Saginaw got beat 8-0 a night earlier, yet took out the defending league champs in their own barn by three goals. To compound the confusion, the Attack came into the third period down just 2-1, and outshot the Spirit 22-5 in the final 20 minutes, yet were outscored 3-1 in the frame despite having a goaltender who was a third round NHL pick in the summer (Jordan Binnington – Blues). To top it off, Schemitsch, one of the top defensemen for the Attack, was a team-worst minus-3. That’s how it goes sometimes, especially in junior hockey.

North American Juniors Game Night: 9-23-11

QMJHL

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 2 @ Gatineau Olympiques 6

D Adam Janosik, GAT: 0-2-2, +1, 5 PIM (fighting vs. Xavier Ouellet), 2 SOG, 0 Hit
Last Season’s Totals: 60 GP, 7-25-32, +17, 37 PIM
Playoff Totals: 24 GP, 5-4-9, -3, 12 PIM

Janosik made his 2011-2012 debut for the Olympiques, notching a multi-point night and a fight. Janosik has done well statistically for his native Slovakia in World Junior play, but his stats so far in league play have been mediocre. A breakout year is expected. The Armada is a new franchise in the Q this year. Last year they were the Montreal Junior and before that the St. John’s Fog Devils.

OHL

Saginaw Spirit 0 @ London Knights 8

C Vladislav Namestnikov, LDN: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (hooking)
Last Season’s Totals: 68 GP, 30-38-68, +12, 49 PIM
2011 Playoff Totals: 6 GP, 1-4-5, 6 PIM

London put a snowman on the scoreboard to start their season, scoring five times in the second period and adding three more in the third. Namestnikov, who was sent back to juniors by the Lightning this week, had one assist in the game, but was one of only three players to fail to finish above even in plus/minus. He was hauled down from behind on a shorthanded breakaway, but no penalty was called. London was paced by Tie Domi’s son, Max, who had a hat trick and an assist in his first OHL game. London first rounder Bo Horvat had a goal and an assist, and Seth Griffith, who participated in the Lightning’s prospect camp early in the summer and again for the Bolts in the Coral Springs prospect tournament, had two goals and was named Third Star. London plays at Guelph Sunday.

Owen Sound Attack 6 @ Guelph Storm 4

D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, +3, 2 PIM

Defending champion Owen Sound is off to a 2-0 start to the year after beating the Storm in Guelph Friday night 6-4. Schemitsch is scoreless through two games.

North American Juniors Game Night: 9-21-11

OHL

Plymouth Whalers 2 @ Owen Sound Attack 6

D Geoffrey Schemitsch, OS: 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM (cross checking)
Last Season’s Totals: 45 GP, 1-19-20, +17, 14 PIM
2011 Playoff Totals: 20 GP, 1-10-11, +5, 2 PIM

Defending champion Owen Sound opened the 2011-2012 OHL season with a 6-2 win over Plymouth. The Attack scored four times in the second period building 4-0 and 5-1 leads. Lightning prospect Geoffrey Schemitsch, who arrived in Ontario Tuesday after being sent down from Tampa, was plus-2 in the game. He was named an assistant captain for the Attack earlier in the day Wednesday.

Schemitsch and Vladislav Namestnikov (London) are the only current Lightning prospects expected to play in the OHL this season. Former Lightning prospect Michael Zador, who was not signed to a contract by Tampa Bay this spring thus relinquishing his rights, finished last season with Owen Sound. He is not currently listed on the Attack or any other OHL roster though he has junior eligibility remaining.

Rookie Camp Roster Announced

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning will open their 2011 Rookie Camp with fitness testing and physicals at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum on Friday, September 9, the team announced today. The prospects will hit the ice in Brandon the following day, Saturday, September 10.

For the first time in franchise history the Lightning prospects will travel to the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs, Florida for a three-team rookie tournament which begins Sunday, September 11. The tournament will also feature prospects from the Florida Panthers and
Nashville Predators. The camp and tournament schedule is as follows:

Prospect Roster Speculation - Forwards

Last week we looked at which defensemen and goaltenders could see time with the Lightning this year. Today, we take a look at the forwards.

Unlike the defensemen and goalies, figuring out which forward prospects could make the team out of camp and which ones could earn a call-up is far from simple. Therefore, we’ll break down the candidates individually.

First, the givens, in no particular order: Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Shannon, Nate Thompson, Dominic Moore, Steve Downie, Adam Hall.

These 10 forwards, combined with the eight defensemen Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman expects to keep, as well as two goaltenders, leaves three roster spots open. Head Coach Guy Boucher will likely switch between dressing six and seven defensemen, meaning of the three forward spots open only one is guaranteed to play. It is also possible the team could carry only 12 forwards as they did last season in spurts.

While Yzerman, Boucher, and management say roster spots will be earned in a meritocracy system - and that is what the players need to hear - in today’s NHL, contract status (not necessarily salary in this case) plays a huge part in roster management. Also high on the list is the opportunity for development-rich playing time.

The Lightning currently have 44 players under contract on their 50-man organizational roster, including Brett Connolly, who only counts if he plays more than nine games at the NHL level.

Here’s a look at the candidates to fill the three open forward positions with the 2011-2012 Tampa Bay Lightning.

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