We're now almost two months deep into the second NHL lockout in less than a decade. As difficult as it is to remember, though, hockey goes on. It goes on in small junior rinks in Canada and on campuses throughout the US. It goes on in the sporting halls of Sweden and Russia. And, it goes on in Syracuse, New York, where a team filled with players on the cusp of making the highest level of hockey in the world patiently await the mere chance to make their case to play in the NHL. For those players, and in spite the cynical greed of the NHL's business wing, Bolt Prospects presents its 2012-2013 Preliminary Rankings.
We delayed the release of the rankings a few weeks when optimism ran high that hockey would be back after Thanksgiving, believing that perhaps an NHL training camp was in the cards for some of our prospects. But with the breakdown of talks between the Commissioner and the NHLPA, it looks like a Lightning camp is far from imminent. So, we press forward, in spite of the setback.
The rules remain the same. Any player 24 years of age or older on the date that would have been opening night for the Lightning is considered overage and not eligible for the rankings. For that reason, Riku Helenius
no longer factors into our list, although he likely does factor into the Lightning's future. Likewise, skaters who have played either 41 or more games in a single NHL season or 82 or more career NHL games are also ineligible. So, while Brett Connolly
fills up the nets in Syracuse, he is considered a graduated prospect and does not figure into our list. Goaltenders who have 30 or more NHL decisions in a single season or 41 or more career NHL decisions are also ineligible. Lastly, players in the NCAA ranks are eligible for the list regardless of their age.