By Pete Choquette (@jollymeangiant)
As noted in Bolt Prospects’ 2013-2014 Final Rankings, this past season was a banner year for the Lightning’s prospect system. Ten prospects, including eight prospects from our top-25 rankings and another two overage prospects, ultimately became contributors to the big club on their way to a surprising berth in the NHL playoffs.
That success may lull Lightning fans into a false sense of security about the team’s prospect system, but a look at the struggles of the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL this past season and a look at the significant drop-off after the first half-dozen remaining prospects in our top-25 rankings reveals there is much work to be done to restock the cupboard. Fortunately, the Lightning will go into this summer’s June draft with three top-60 draft picks, including a conditional first round pick acquired from the New York Rangers in the Martin St. Louis trade that was escalated from a second round pick by virtue of the Rangers advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
For those paying attention to the past three drafts by Steve Yzerman and Al Murray, the Tampa brain trust seems to cast an eye on at least one juniors or European player that can provide immediate help to the AHL affiliate or at least fast tracked to help the following season.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have resigned forward Alex Killorn to a two-year contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Killorn, 24, played in all 82 games for the Lightning last season, collecting 17 goals and 41 points to go along with 63 penalty minutes. He was one of three players on the Bolts to skate in all 82 games. Killorn ranked sixth on the Lightning for goals with 17 in his first full season in the NHL. He notched six points in the first five games of the 2013-14 season, including the overtime-winner in Buffalo on October 8.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced the schedule and roster for the team’s annual Development Camp, to be held from July 2-6 at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. The roster currently consists of a total of 26 players, 15 forwards, seven defensemen and four goaltenders. The camp is free and open to the public.
The camp will feature some of the Lightning’s top prospects competing in on and off-ice workouts, skating drills and will culminate with the annual 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Once again the tournament will be streamed LIVE on www.TampaBayLightning.com.
The third overall selection of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Jonathan Drouin, will make his second Lightning Development Camp appearance, as will highly-touted goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who will be making his North American debut in 2014-15. Lightning fans will recognize goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis and forward Cedric Paquette from their time with the Bolts last season. Former first-round selection Slater Koekkoek will also be in attendance.
Of those players attending the camp, there are three invitees, including Hobey Baker candidate, Mike Richter Trophy finalist, and Brandon native Clay Witt from Northeastern University. There are also three players who were signed as free agents, and 19 draftees. The drafted players feature six from the 2013 draft, eight from the 2012 draft, three from 2011 and two from 2010.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have resigned forward Ondrej Palat to a three-year contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Palat, 23, skated in 81 games for the Lightning during the 2013-14 season, collecting 23 goals and 59 points to go along with a plus-32 rating. He was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy, given annually to the top NHL rookie, which will be announced on Tuesday, June 24 in Las Vegas. He ranked second among all NHL rookies for points and was third for goals. Palat also led all Lightning skaters for points and plus/minus. He became just the third player in Lightning franchise history to finish the season with a plus/minus rating better than 30.