Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 15-11

Today's batch of prospects will bring us to the edge of the top ten of Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings. Prospects 16-11 features 2 goaltenders, 2 forwards and a defenseman. Just a reminder, Bolt Prospects criteria deems a prospect in any Lightning property who was under 24 years of age on opening night 2005 who has less than 82 games of career NHL experience and has not played 41 or more games in any single NHL season. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] graduated last season under those criteria and are now featured on our prospects page under a section titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, with the disclaimer out of the way, let's begin: [b]15. G [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], 21 years old, 6'1" 210 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL)[/b] [i]Springfield (AHL) 22 GP, 8-12-2, 3.13 GAA, 1 SO, .899 sv% Johnstown (ECHL) 19 GP, 8-9-0-2, 2.93 GAA, 2 SO, .920 sv%[/i] 2005-2006 may have been the start of a growth process that may lead Jonathan Boutin to become an NHL starter some day. Throughout a junior career that saw him bounce between three clubs in the QMJHL, Boutin was plagued by inconsistent play that was perhaps indicative of youthful immaturity. In his rookie season of professional hockey, Boutin proved himself a reasonably consistent contributor at both the ECHL and AHL levels. He started the season with Johnstown of the ECHL where he was the clear cut starter for the first month of the season with [url=morgan-cey]Morgan Cey[/url] on the shelf with a groin injury. Despite the fact the Chiefs struggled in front of him, Boutin was amongst the league leaders in the ECHL in save percentage and shutouts throughout the first half of the season earning him a spot as Johnstown's lone representative at the ECHL All-Star Game. Immediately after the game, Boutin was recalled to Springfield of the AHL where he posted better numbers than the more highly touted Gerald Coleman. Boutin is easily one of the most athletic goaltenders this organization has ever seen. His lateral quickness allowed him to make saves this season that we at Bolt Prospects believe no other Lightning contract player, not even the NHLers John Grahame and Sean Burke, could've snared. He still occassionally gets over excited and out of position and his rebound control was subpar last year for such a well schooled netminder, but there's no denying the upside Boutin possesses. [b]14. RW [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url], 23 years old, 6'2" 205 lbs, Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Springfield (AHL) 50 GP, 8-9-17, 59 GP, -16 Tampa Bay (NHL) 7 GP, 0-1-1, 0 PIM, -2[/i] Darren Reid is a pain in the butt to play against, and the exact type of checking liner teams need to have to be successful in professional hockey. Deep in the mire of the second half of another disappointing AHL season, Reid was one of the only, if not [i]the[/i] only, reason to watch a Falcons game in the second half of the season. Darren is a hard working pest who gives his team energy and has a knack for being in the middle of scrums and stirring the pot. Throughout the 2005-2006 season with Springfield Darren formed one half of a very good penalty killing duo with fellow prospect [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky.[/url] And, just like Tarnasky, he was rewarded with some time with the big club in Tampa. If heart and want to were all it took to make the NHL, we'd judge Reid to be on the cusp of about a 20 year career. However, we at Bolt Prospects feel Reid's skating is still a major obstacle to his making the NHL permanently. If he can find a way to improve his speed, particularly his first step acceleration, he could have a very nice career as a checking liner in the NHL. [b]13. G [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url], 23 years old, 6'6" 210 lbs, Togliatti (RUS)[/b] [i] Togliatti (RUS) 41 GP, 19-13-6, 1.59 GAA, 10 SO, .934 sv%[/i] The surprise of the year in the Lightning prospect system, hands down, was the emergence of late 2002 draft pick Vasily Koshechkin. For years, in another life on another website, Bolt Prospects writers have felt Koshechkin was a darkhorse candidate for that mythical title of "goaltender of the future" and for years Lada Togliatti head coach Petr Vorobiev forced Koshechkin to ride the bench. That all changed this season. Koshechkin beat Czech born netminder Adam Svoboda for Lada's starting job and went on a tear throwing shutout after shutout prior to the Karjala Cup Euro Tour break. During the break, Togliatti dumped three quarters of its payroll leaving Koshechkin to play behind a team whose average age on most nights hovered around 22. Even despite the inexperience of the Togliatti skaters, Koshechkin still finished second in the Russian Superleague in GAA, save percentage and shutouts. At just 23 years of age he may already be the fourth best Russian born goaltender alive, which is why the Lightning attempted to sign Vasily this summer. Instead, Koshechkin decided to sign with Khimik of the Superleague, but if he has another year like last year don't expect the Lightning to let Vasily get away next summer. With excellent size, surprising quickness and athleticism and a new found maturity that manifests itself in the form of strong rebound control, Koshechkin is not that far away from being NHL ready. [b]12. D [url=doug-obrien]Doug O'Brien[/url], 22 years old, 6'1" 200 lbs, Springfield (AHL)[/b] [i]Springfield (AHL) 74 GP, 7-25-32, 70 PIM, -23 Tampa Bay (NHL) 5 GP, 0-0-0, 2 PIM, E[/i] For two years straight Doug O'Brien has been the best defenseman on the Springfield Falcons. This past season, he did just about everything that could be asked of him at the AHL level, scoring 7 goals and 32 points on a subpar Falcons team finishing tops amongst all Falcons blueliners. Whether at even strength, on the power play or when killing penalties O'Brien has proven his ability. Now he just has to do the same at the NHL level. When injuries dictated his recall to Tampa for five games this season, O'Brien looked the spitting image of a deer caught in headlights. We weren't the only ones to notice as Head Coach John Tortorella held O'Brien under 5 minutes of ice time in most of those games at the top level. It should be noted, O'Brien struggled to adjust to the speed of the AHL at first coming out of junior but proved himself a quick learner after a short stint in the ECHL. Perhaps the adjustment to the NHL level will be no different, but he will have to earn that opportunity in a dog fight with prospects like [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url] and [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url] in camp in the Fall. One major disadvantage: O'Brien lacks the size and strength almost all of the other top Lightning blueline prospects possess. [b]11. [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], 19 years old, 6'2" 195 lbs, Moose Jaw (WHL)[/b] [i]Moose Jaw (WHL) 72 GP, 35-50-85, 85 PIM, +26[/i] In the early running for the title of biggest steal of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Blair Jones has to be at the top of the list. Despite being touted as one of the best prospects for that draft in the CSS's Preliminary Rankings in his draft year, Jones had a falling out with Red Deer coach Brent Sutter and saw his stock plummet after a trade to Moose Jaw. The Lightning snatched Jones up in the 4th round and have been laughing ever since. Jones was amongst the team leaders in scoring for the Lightning's prospect team at Traverse City and then returned to junior where he outscored first round picks like Devin Setoguchi and Kenndal McArdel en route to his selection as a Second Team All WHL Eastern Conference All Star selection. He finished sixth in the WHL in scoring and tied for 5th in assists and then proceeded to turn in a strong playoff run that saw him finish second in the league in postseason scoring to only Columbus first round pick Gilbert Brule. With an incredible performance against the Calgary Hitmen, a team known for producing big, redwood like NHL specemin defensemen, Jones almost single handedly willed the Warriors into the WHL finals against Vancouver. Is there any wonder why the Lightning have opened talks to try and sign Jones this summer? And is there any wonder Jones' agent is trying to get his client paid like a 1st or 2nd round pick? A victim to the tie breaking system we employ on these rankings, Jones could've easily made the top 10 of our list. In fact, truth be told, he could've easily been as high as 6th. For now, Jones will have to decide whether suiting up for the Falcons or potentially dominating the WHL as an overage player is in the cards for next season. Either way, the Lightning have to be tickled to death with Blair Jones' progress. [b]Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings[/b] [b][url=http://www.boltprospects.com/prospects]Top Twenty Five[/url][/b] 11. C [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], 19 years old, 6'2" 195 lbs, Moose Jaw (WHL) 12. D [url=doug-obrien]Doug O'Brien[/url], 22 years old, 6'1" 200 lbs, Springfield (AHL) 13. G [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url], 23 years old, 6'6" 210 lbs, Khimik (RUS) 14. RW [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url], 23 years old, 6'2" 205 lbs, Springfield (AHL) 15. G [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], 21 years old, 6'1" 210 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) 16. G [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url], 21 years old, 6'4" 190 lbs, Springfield (AHL) 17. RW [url=alexander-polushin]Alexander Polushin[/url], 23 years old, 6'4" 200 lbs, Cherepovets (RUS) 18. RW/C [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url], 19 years old, 6'4" 217 lbs, Mississauga (OHL) 19. G [url=morgan-cey]Morgan Cey[/url], 24 years old, 6'3" 177 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) 20. RW/C [url=andre-deveaux]Andre Deveaux[/url], 6'3" 240 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) 21. LW [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url], 20 years old, 6'4" 195 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) 22. D [url=mike-lundin]Mike Lundin[/url], 21 years old, 6'2" 186 lbs, Maine (HEast) 23. LW/C [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url], 22 years old, 6'4" 234 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) 24. G [url=kevin-beech]Kevin Beech[/url], 19 years old, 6'4" 177 lbs, Sudbury (OHL) 25. D [url=gerard-dicaire]Gerard Dicaire[/url], 23 years old, 6'2" 230 lbs, Springfield (AHL) [b][url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1131]Honorable Mentions[/url][/b] D [url=pj-atherton]PJ Atherton[/url], 23 years old, 6'2" 190 lbs, Springfield (AHL) D [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url], 20 years old, 6'3" 195 lbs, Johnstown (ECHL) [b][url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1129]Top Five Overage Prospects[/url][/b] LW [url=zdenek-blatny]Zdenek Blatny[/url], 25 years old, 6'1" 195 lbs, Springfield (AHL) G [url=johan-holmqvist]Johan Holmqvist[/url], 28 years old, 6'3" 185 lbs, Brynas (SWE) C [url=jason-jaspers]Jason Jaspers[/url], 25 years old, 5'11" 207 lbs, Springfield (AHL) RW [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url], 26 years old, 6'0" 195 lbs, Springfield (AHL) G [url=fredrik-norrena]Fredrik Norrena[/url], 32 years old, 6'0" 195 lbs, Linkopings (SWE)

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If Jones was to sign and be

If Jones was to sign and be placed in Springfield, I think Springy could have quite the different season than they did this past .. it looks like a promising season already in Springy without Jones, but having a solid center included with some great snipers? Lethal.

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