When Lightning prospects last took the ice, Tampa co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie squared off behind the benches in an intra squad scrimmage to close last month's Prospect Camp in Victoria, BC. But when Tampa prospects take to the ice September 13th in Traverse City, MI for the 8 team tournament, the owners will leave the coaching to the professionals. The Lightning announced  that Norfolk Admirals head coach Darren Rumble will lead the year's Traverse squad along with Norfolk assistant coach Alan May.
It was also confirmed that the remaining player on Tampa's roster will be free agent invitee Luciano Aquino . The 5.10, 200 lbs right winger put up a gaudy 41-50-91 in 74 games last year for the IHL's Fort Wayne Komets enroute to winning the IHL Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Aquino is a 2005 7th round pick of the New York Islanders and is no stranger to offensive proclivities. He was a point-per-gamer for the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies in the 2006-07 season, and put up a tawdry 2.25 point-per-game average in his shortened final junior campaign for Brampton. Aquino's Fort Wayne teammate Matieu Curadeau recently signed a two-way AHL/IHL contract with Norfolk, and Aquino, who lists Tampa's Martin St. Louis  as his favorite NHL player, will be given a long look by the organization whose system lacks an explosive right wing sniper.
The Traverse City prospect tournament runs from September 13-17 and our friends at RedWingsCentral  usually do a bang-up job at providing blow-by-blow coverage of the tournament. This year's Tampa roster includes 11 of BoltProspects Top 25 prospects including Ty Wishart , Dana Tyrell , Luca Cunti , and Mitch Fadden .
Lightning prospects and free agent invitees will be joined by players from the Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Rangers, Dallas, and Columbus organizations. This year's tournament seems to be shaping up as quite the marquis event as possible future NHL stars such as Angelo Esposito, Zach Bogosian, Nikita Filatov, Jakub Voracek, Jamie Benn, Fabian Brunnstrom, Sergei Korostin, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Jakub Kindl, Thomas McCollum, Michael Del Zotto, Bobby Sanguinetti, Patrick Berglund, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen, Colton Gillies, and Tyler Cuma are scheduled to battle in one of the premier NHL training camp warm-ups.
The year marks the sixth consecutive year the Tampa Bay Lightning have participated in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament and will play prospects from Atlanta, Detroit, and New York in round-robin play respectively on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Tampa plays their final game on Wednesday, Sept 17th, against a team to be named later.