Prospect of the Week: March 4, 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 4 is … Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse (AHL – USA).

Ondrej Palat liked being Prospect of the Week so much he did it again.

The Syracuse Crunch winger had his first career hat trick this past week, scoring three goals on Tuesday against Rochester. He was named first star for the Crunch in their 4-1 win. After a scoreless game against Albany on Friday, Palat had a power play goal in Syracuse’s overtime loss on Saturday.

The big news came on Sunday when the second year pro earned his first call-up to Lightning. The 2011 seventh round pick will make his NHL debut on Monday night against Pittsburgh on national television.

Not bad for a seventh rounder.

Palat is the first seventh-plus round pick of the Lightning to be called up to the NHL since 2003 pick Jay Rosehill (seventh round) suited up for the Leafs in 2009-2010. Palat is the first one to play with the Lightning since Gerald Coleman (2003 seventh round) and Nick Tarnasky (2003 ninth round) in 2005-2006. Rosehill, now with AHL Toronto, played against Palat and the Norfolk Admirals in last year’s Calder Cup Final. Tarnasky now plays for AHL Rochester and was in their lineup last Tuesday when Palat netted his hat trick. Small world.

The NHL dropped the eighth and ninth rounds in 2005.

Fourteen Lightning picks taken in the seventh to ninth rounds have played at least one NHL game:

D/W Jay Rosehill (2003, 7th round): 72 games (Toronto; now with AHL Toronto)
G Gerald Coleman (2003, 7th round): 2 games (Tampa Bay; now with ECHL Alaska)
W Nick Tarnasky (2003, 9th round): 245 games (Tampa Bay, Florida; now with AHL Rochester)
G Frederik Norrena (2002, 7th round): 100 games (Columbus – was involved in Freddy Modin/Marc Denis trade; now with SEL Vaxjo HC)
C/W Ryan Craig (2002, 8th round): 190 games (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh; now with AHL Springfield)
W Darren Reid (2002, 8th round): 21 games (Tampa Bay, Philadelphia; now with Germany-2 Heilbronn)
G Brian Eklund (2000, 7th round): 1 game (Tampa Bay; now out of hockey)
C Thomas Ziegler (2000, 9th round): 5 games (Tampa Bay; now with Swiss-A Zurich)
C Martin Cibak (1998, 9th round): 154 games (Won Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay; now with KHL Nizhnekamsk)
C Paul Comrie (1997, 9th round): 15 games (Edmonton; now out of hockey)
D Pavel Kubina (1996, 7th round): 970 games (Won Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, then played in Toronto, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia; was last with Czech Vitkovice HC)
G Zac Bierk (1995, 9th round): 47 games (Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Phoenix; now out of hockey)
D Brian White (1994, 11th round): 2 games (Colorado; now out of hockey)
G Derek Wilkinson (1992, 7th round): 22 games (Tampa Bay; was last coaching with ECHL Charlotte)

Palat will provide the Lightning with responsible two-way play and strong playmaking ability. His best assets are his hockey I.Q., defensive awareness, and vision. He is a fierce competitor who will make any line better.

Palat was ranked No. 12 in our last top-25 Lightning prospect rankings.

UPDATE: Palat had an assist in limited ice time against Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Previous 2012-2013 Prospect of the Week winners:

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