Prospect of the Week: March 19, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for March 19 is … Dylan Blujus, D, Brampton (OHL – Canada).

For years Lightning prospect followers have pounded their fists on their computer tables in demand of a right-handed defenseman capable of impacting a game at both ends of the ice. They got their wish last June when the Bolts selected Brampton (OHL) defenseman Dylan Blujus in the second round (40th overall).

Blujus had just completed a 34-point season with the Battalion and was a prime candidate for a breakout season offensively in 2012-2013.

That hasn’t exactly happened for the young Amherst, New York, native, as he just finished his third OHL season with fewer goals and points than his second season despite playing more games. Not everything shows up on the stat sheet, obviously, and Blujus has further developed his physical game while playing big minutes for a defense-first club.

Blujus had a mini-breakout last week after a slow start to the 2013 calendar year. He had four points last week – all assists – to finish the year with 27 assists and 29 points for the season (68 games). The 6-3 rearguard had two apples on Thursday against Niagara, then had two more in the Battalion’s regular season finale against Peterborough on Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Battalion will face fifth-seeded Sudbury in the first round of the OHL playoffs starting this week and Blujus will be needed at both ends of the ice if Brampton is to advance.

Blujus projects as a sturdy, physical, two-way defenseman. He has another year in juniors next year when Brampton moves to North Bay before he likely starts his pro career with his home-state’s Syracuse Crunch in 2014-2015. If he can carry over a strong 2013 playoffs into his 2013-2014 season and put up some numbers to go with his improved defensive play, it will go a long way to securing a contract from Tampa Bay next spring.

Honorable Mention: Vladislav Namestnikov, who had two multi-point games in an increased role with Syracuse, and Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson, who both scored their first NHL goals this week.

Previous 2012-2013 Prospect of the Week winners:

February 12, Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
February 4, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
February 25, Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
February 19, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
February 12, Alex Killorn, C/W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
February 5, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
January 30, Nikita Kucherov, W, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
January 23, Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay, NHL-USA
January 15, Artem Sergeev, D, Val-d’Or, QMJHL-Canada
World Juniors break
December 17, Alex Killorn, C/W, Syracuse, AHL-Canada
December 10, Nikita Kucherov, RW, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL-Canada
December 3, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada
November 25, Tyler Johnson, C, Syracuse, AHL-USA
November 20, Richard Panik, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
November 12, Alex Hutchings, W, Florida, ECHL-USA
November 5, Nikita Kucherov, W, Quebec, QMJHL-Canada
October 30, Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough, OHL-Canada
October 23, Dustin Tokarski, G, Syracuse, AHL-USA
October 15, Cory Conacher, W, Syracuse, AHL-USA
October 9, Cedric Paquette, C, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL-Canada
October 2, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia
September 25, Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Ufa Jr, MHL-Russia