Early Reviews from Traverse City: Not Good
At the start of the week I blogged about a number of questions about the Lightning's prospects that would begin to be answered at the Traverse City tournament. Unfortunately, half way through the tournament, the early reviews are not good:
1.) Will Andy Rogers step up and win an invitation to full Lightning camp?
Two games in Rogers is -3 with just 1 shot on goal. Enjoy Norfolk, Andy.
2.) Where is Riku Helenius at developmentally after losing a season to shoulder surgery?
6 goals on 31 shots in the tournament opener against the Rangers' prospects. It's hard to argue Helenius is on top of his game when he currently has the second worst save percentage in the entire tournament.
3.) Will Stanislav Lascek finally have the Traverse City tournament he's capable of?
On paper, Lascek should be the Lightning's best scorer in this tournament. Last year he missed most of Traverse City with a hamstring injury. This year he missed game one and was scoreless in Game Two, despite having 5 shots on goal. At this point, Lascek's career Traverse City statistical output is equal to that of former Lightning prospect John Toffey. Ugh.
Behind. Smolenak has continued his yearly ritual of being one of the Lightning's best scorers in this tournament and Lascek's 5 shots and even rating in Game Two trump Lawrence's 2 shots and -2 rating so far in the tournament.
5.) Do any of these forward tryouts earn a contract from the Lightning or Admirals?
Klinkhammer and Yellow Horn have been the best of the Lightning's invitees statistically. Klinkhammer has 1 goal, 3 shots, and a +2 rating. Yellow Horn has 1 goal, 4 shots, but stubbed his toe with a -3 rating in the Red Wings game. I'm not sure either of these guys qualify as setting the world on fire.
6.) Is Mitch Fadden as good as I think he is?
Fadden hasn't been terrible in the tournament, but he hasn't put up a 1st or 2nd round caliber performance either. He centered the wildly successful Klinkhammer/Smolenak line against the Rangers but failed to manage a point in his own right. He only has 2 shots on goal in the tournament thus far, which is poor for someone with such highly regarded hands. He needs to get more pucks on net.
7.) How do things shake out depth chart wise with the second tier of defensemen.
Justin Fletcher and Mike Lundin look to be slightly ahead of the other Lightning second tier defensive prospects, but they should be considering their age and experience levels relative to Crowley and Ward.
Bruce MacLeod of the Macomb Daily rubs salt in the wound in his blog simply stating "Tampa Bay doesn't have much." Of course the Lightning don't have their best prospects at this tournament with Karri Ramo, Matt Smaby, and Blair Jones not attending despite being elligible, Dana Tyrell playing in the Super Series, and Luca Cunti and Alexander Killorn staying out of the tournament to maintain their NCAA elligibility. But, however valid an excuse, it's still an excuse, and the Lightning need to send a message to their prospects at tomorrow's practice session that losing isn't acceptable under any circumstances.