Prospect of the Week (12.19.11)

This season we 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 consider this as an extra gift in a stocking. A stocking of awesome.

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 … Mark Barberio, Norfolk Admirals.

A second year pro, Barberio continues to put up ridiculous numbers for a defenseman in the AHL. The six-foot, 200-pound defenseman had five assists over the weekend to bring his league leading point total for defensemen to 26 in 28 games. He has three goals to go with his 23 assists this year.

Barberio, a product of the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL, had 31 points in 68 games as a rookie with Norfolk last season. He was taken in the sixth round by the Lightning in 2008.

Barberio started his weekend with two assists and a plus-2 rating Friday in a loss to Hershey. After going scoreless and plus-1 in a win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, he added three more helpers Sunday in a revenge win in Hershey. He was named second star on Sunday as he also went plus-3. He has a plus-8 rating over his last four games and is currently tied for the league lead in plus/minus with a plus-19 rating.

The Montreal native projects as a puck moving defenseman at the NHL level, but is at least a year away from making an impact. His skating has improved since his draft year, but now he must improve his play in his own zone while continuing to be a weapon on offense. He’s in the right organization to put up big numbers at the NHL level someday. (Pilot Online photo)

Previous BP Prospects of the Week:

Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL) - December 12, 2011
Tyler Johnson, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - December 5, 2011
Alex Killorn, Harvard (NCAA) - November 28, 2011
Nikita Kucherov, Team Russia/CSKA Jr. (MHL) - November 21, 2011
Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights (OHL) - November 14, 2011
Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk Admirals (AHL) - November 6, 2011
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