Prospect of the Week (11.6.11)

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 or blue sports jackets involved, but we’re fairly certain this award will be tattooed on someone at some time.

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 prospect’s achievement on the ice.

This week’s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to … Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk (AHL).

In his first two starts of the year, Dustin Tokarski, the Lightning’s top goaltending prospect, allowed 11 goals. In his next five games, he’s given up a total of five goals.

Tokarski earned our First Star of the Week for a 37-save shutout on Sunday in Providence, and a 20-save performance in a 1-0 loss in Albany on Friday. His 0.50 GAA and .983 save percentage for the week has helped solidify Tokarski as the Lightning’s No.3 goaltender and Norfolk’s unquestioned starter. Don’t be surprised if Admirals Head Coach Jon Cooper gives “The Tik” extra starts in the coming days and weeks as Tokarski has a history of month-long streaks like this where he is nearly impossible to beat.

Though a bit undersized, Tokarski is the epitome of a clutch goaltender as evidenced by the slew of MVPs and championships on his resume. His positioning is solid and his focus on the puck is at the top of his list of strengths. He also has the athleticism to make the spectacular save, perhaps none more famous than his dive-back stop on USA’s Colin Wilson in the 2009 World Junior Championships while playing for Canada.

With Dwayne Roloson’s contract ending in Tampa after this season, there’s a possibility Tokarski could step into the Lightning lineup as a fourth-year pro next season.

Tokarski, a 2008 fifth round pick of the Lightning, is currently tied for the AHL lead in shutouts with two.

We rank Tokarski No.3 among the organization’s prospects.

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Riku Helenius, JYP (Finland) - October 30, 2011
Matthew Peca, Quinnipiac Bobcats - October 23, 2011
Radko Gudas, Norfolk Admirals - October 16, 2011
Carter Ashton, Norfolk Admirals - October 9, 2011
Brett Connolly, Tampa Bay Lightning - October 2, 2011
Mattias Ritola, Tampa Bay Lightning - September 25, 2011