The BP Mailbag returns after its own Olympic break (the Games aren’t going to watch themselves and multi-tasking is a challenge when hockey is on).
The questions, please…
@BoltProspects Would you part with Namestnikov for a Dmen like Alex Edler #BPMailbag
The Canucks’ Alex Edler, a 27-year-old defenseman, is rumored to be on the trading block. With the trade deadline on Wednesday, speculation is picking up steam.
Edler fits a lot of criteria for what I think the Lightning should be looking for: 300-plus games played, puckmover, second-pair capable, and power play contributor.
He also has good size (6-3), which Yzerman likes in a defenseman. There are a lot of things to like.
We continue our Bolt 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 3, 2014 is … Matt Peca, C, Quinnipiac Bobcats (NCAA - USA).
Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin is a point machine set on automatic, but even Drouin hasn’t done what Matt Peca did this week.
Peca, a seventh round pick of Tampa Bay in 2011, had a six-point game on Friday as his Quinnipiac Bobcats toppled St. Lawrence University, 8-0. Even the snowman on the scoreboard was impressed with Peca’s performance.
Florida Everblades 5 @ Gwinnett Gladiators 3
W Danick Gauthier, FLA: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 27 GP, 4-11-15, +2, 51 PIM
D Jordan Henry (AHL Contract), FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 26 GP, 8-13-21, +9, 33 PIM
W Carl Nielsen (AHL Contract), FLA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 3-5-8, -11, 49 PIM
Florida salvaged a win to finish a three-game set with last-place Gwinnett, 1-2. Carl Nielsen was back in the lineup for the ‘Blades after sitting a handful of games. Florida sits in eighth in the Eastern Conference, tied with Wheeling but holding a three-game-in-hand advantage on the Nailers.
Ontario Hockey League
Niagara IceDogs 5 @ North Bay Battalion 2
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 49 GP, 4-21-25, E, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
North Bay dropped a favorable chance at home to stay up the standings against a team struggling for playoff position. Niagara goalie Brent Moran (2014), considered one of the best undrafted goaltender prospects, stopped 28 of 30 for Niagara.
Kingston Frontenacs 2 @ Oshawa Generals 3 (SO)
W Henri Ikonen, KGN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 45 GP, 20-43-63, +17, 37 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM
Ikonen missed on his shootout attempt. Oshawa won the skills competition, 1-0.
Lightning leave another 2 points out on the road.
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss. No way to sugar coat it: he let the team down tonight. The GWG by Erik Johnson is a softie that simply cannot happen at that juncture of the game. Ever. Certainly it's outside of the norm for Ben this season, but that's frustrating.
16:49 TB Pyatt (2), (Purcell, Salo)
17:19 COL Barrie (8), (Stastny, MacKinnon)
19:01 COL O'Reilly (23), (Parenteau, Duchene)
6:40 TB Thompson (7), (Kostka, Carle)
17:37 TB Thompson (8), (Kostka)
5:12 COL Holden (5), (O'Reilly, Duchene)(PP)
16:05 COL Johnson (8), (unassisted)
19:06 COL Holden (6), (Talbot)(EN)
19:53 COL Stastny (19), (MacKinnon, Landeskog)(EN)
That's upsetting. That's 3-4 points, between this game and the Nashville game, that the Lightning could've easily had that they squandered. Take a look at the standings and you'll see that's the difference between the current 5 point lead on the last team out of the playoffs and an 8-9 point cushion. That's a big, big difference. Self-inflicted sloppiness and bad goaltending dealt the fatal wounds tonight. I didn't think they had a great chance coming into this game with Filppula not returning, but they put themselves in position to win and they should've gotten not less than a point out of this one. That hurts.
Mike Kostka had 2 assists and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 12:11. Win if you can. Survive if Mike Kostka lets you.
Vladislav Namestnikov was -1 with 3 shot and 1 hit and he was 55% on draws in 8:40. I'm shocked to see he only had 8:40 of ice time, as that was a very active 8:40 of ice time with multiple scoring opportunities and some very active work in the offensive zone. He's really settled in now, although that might be all for nothing because with Filppula and Stamkos coming back this week, it's no secret Vladdy's probably going back down.
Nikita Kucherov was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:35. He had the tying goal on his stick on the PP down 4-3 off a glorious setup from Marty and he shot it wide. He's missing these critical chances by fractions of inches in key times, and I'm starting to worry about his psyche, because his confidence level as a sniper is being seriously tested right now.