Submitted by Ken on July 30, 2006 - 20:58
The first job of a scout is to analyze the talent, the second is to predict it into the future and the final is determine if and how that fits into one's organization. I recapped their play enough, now I'll attempt to project their future & determine their role with the Lightning organization. The bad news is, I likely won't have conclusive knowledge of the true outcomes for 8 - 10 years perhaps. The good news is, the rest of you likely won't have access to review this in 8 - 10 years.
The caveat: in shopping for talent for the lightning organization doesn't just require looking for guys who'll play in the NHL. We're looking for players integral to helping this club make cup runs year-after-year. Our system should be at that point now.
Now to the goaltenders.
Prior to the 2002 draft, the Lightning had previously drafted 5 goalies. All 5 made at least 1 appearance in the NHL. The 5 totaled 101 NHL games though only 50 of those with the Lightning. In other words, lest than 1 full season produced through the draft. Coleman is the only one of the 2002 onward draft classes to make an appearance thus far.
Of the goalies in the Lightning system during the 2003-2004 Cup run season, none remain in the organization. A total clean-up. Yet, now the organization seems so steeped in goalie talent that 2 draftees, had they come in prior to 2002, likely would have appeared in at least one game with the Bolts. I project it's a longshot for either to even get signed either to the 50 man or the affiliates. A couple of trades seem to be their only chance to find a spot with the Bolts.
Kari Ramo - NHL starter - yes. Elite NHL goalie - probably not. Listed at 192 lbs., I'll bet he was touching 210 at the beginning of camp. Elite overall all skills are there. Acrobatics that make the elite who they are - were not on display and he had a few chances. Not sure he'll play with the Bolts. He's not an untouchable if Helenius and/or Kosheckin live up to their billing.
Kevin Beech - Tough to get a feel for his high end. To stick my kneck out onhis future I'd say he will see the NHL but will probably not receive a steady pay check. AHL veteran netminder. As for his Lightning future, 7 is about the max we can carry in the organization (2 at each level plus and injury filler) though I would imagine Jay would like only 6. Burke absolutely won't be here next year, to get us back to 6. However, I suspect the Lightning will have to sign Koshekin if the ever want to see him up close. That should be next year. Helenius is booked for the following year. That means Beech will likely have to overtake 2 if not all 3 of Coleman, Boutin, & Cey. I've only seen Coleman 1 period and a couple of pre-game warm-ups. I haven't seen Boutin or Cey. So until I get to Brandon to see those three, I'm a little unsure of Beech's Lightning prospects. Although I'm pretty sure, barring trades, they're bleak. Invited to Traverse City.
Pearce - If he doesn't get some on-ice experience soon, he'll have very little chance of playing professionally. AA/AAA guy tops barring expansion. May have seen a game if drafted pre-2002.
Disher - Minor league filler. Could maybe handle regular ECHL play. Invited to Springfield camp.
Next: Defense prospects.