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Tarnasky, Nick

Nick Tarnasky


Out of Organization
Left Wing
Rocky Mountain House, ALTA
Traded to the Nashville Predators on September 29, 2008 for a conditional 2009 pick
Last Team: 
Projects As: 
Energy line forward

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Draft Year: 
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Pick No.: 
Draft Team: 
Lethbridge (WHL)


Contract Status: 
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Eligible
Signing Date: 
Contract Length: 
3 years
Cap Number: 
$525 000
Contract End Status: 
$525 000
$550 000



Junior Career

The career of Nick Tarnasky has been a study in exceeding expectations. Despite not being drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft the Rocky Mountain House, Alberta native broke into major junior with the Vancouver Giants at age 17 in 2001-2002. Coming out of the Drayton Valley AJHL program where he had 7 goals and 11 points in 20 games before playing a 10 game stint with the Giants. That January, however, Tarnasky's junior rights were traded to Kelowna of the WHL where he spent half of the 2002-2003 season before being traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. Tarnasky combined for 9 goals and 29 points in 69 games that year and was ranked #166 amongst all North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Service before the Lightning selected him late in the 9th round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. With the Hurricanes Tarnasky finally found a home leading the last place club in scoring with 26 goals and 49 points in 71 games. For his efforts Tarnasky was selected the Hurricanes' player of the year.

Professional Career

Tarnasky was signed in the summer of 2004 at just age 19 and was the youngest member of the Springfield Falcons during the 2004-2005 lockout season. Prior to the season Tarnasky earned rave reviews scoring 1 goal and 3 points in 3 games for the Lightning in the annual Traverse City prospect tournament. In the AHL, Tarnasky joined fellow prospect Ryan Craig as the only two Falcons to suit up and play in all 80 games scoring 7 goals and 17 points with 176 penalty minutes and winning Springfield's True Grit Award when season honors were handed out. When the lockout concluded in the summer of 2005 Tarnasky showed up to Lightning camp in the best shape of any player and was the second to last forward cut from the team. Tarnasky was sent back to Springfield of the AHL where he remained until being recalled along with Evgeny Artyukhin for the Lightning October 20, 2005 game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Tarnasky scored his first NHL point with an assist on November 5th, 2005 against the Toronto Maple Leafs but was sent back to Springfield on November 9th.

Scouting Report


Tarnasky has good size and strength and a high fitness level. His skating is somewhat average but he compensates with hustle. Tarnasky loves to hit and work along the wall and do many of the dirty jobs that are necessary on a successful hockey club. His work ethic may be the strongest of any prospect in the Lightning organization and he is an emerging leader amongst the team's youth. He has no problem dropping the gloves to defend his teammates.


His understanding of both the offensive and defensive side of the game are still rudimentary. He doesn't have terrible hands as evidenced by his last season of junior, but he hasn't been much of an offensive threat as a pro and likely never will be. His skating still needs some work, particularly his initial burst, if he's going to compete at the NHL level.


The Lightning organization loves Tarnasky and sees him as a regular on their checking lines in the future. His offensive upside is probably very limited, but he could have a long career as a physical energy type player who plays responsible defense and can be used regularly on the penalty kill.


Player statistics powered by

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 1999-2000 Leduc Oil Kings Bantam AAAAMBHL36 21 1132 59|        
 2000-2001 Leduc Oil Kings Midget AAAAMHL35 39 2968 95|        
  Prince Albert RaidersWHL2 0 00 4|        
 2001-2002 Delta Ice HawksPIJHL1 1 12 0|        
  Drayton Valley ThunderAJHL20 7 411 10|        
  Vancouver GiantsWHL10 1 01 5|        
 2002-2003 Kelowna RocketsWHL39 4 1216 39|        
  Lethbridge HurricanesWHL30 5 813 45|        
 2003-2004 Lethbridge HurricanesWHL71 26 2349 108|        
 2004-2005 Springfield FalconsAHL80 7 1017 176|        
 2005-2006 Tampa Bay LightningNHL12 0 11 4|        
  Springfield FalconsAHL68 14 923 100|        
 2006-2007 Tampa Bay LightningNHL77 5 49 80|Playoffs6 0 00 10 
 2007-2008 Tampa Bay LightningNHL80 6 410 78|        
 2008-2009 Nashville PredatorsNHL11 0 11 17|        
  Florida PanthersNHL34 1 56 33|        
 2009-2010 Florida PanthersNHL31 1 23 85|        
  Rochester AmericansAHL5 3 03 7|        
 2010-2011 Florida EverbladesECHL3 1 23 0|        
  Springfield FalconsAHL66 7 1320 150|        
 2011-2012 Vityaz PodolskKHL36 5 712 173|        
 2012-2013 Rochester AmericansAHL74 16 1026 138|Playoffs3 1 01
 2013-2014 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL76 13 922 144|        
 2014-2015 Hartford Wolf PackAHL26 1 45 36|        
 2015-2016 Hartford Wolf PackAHL59 15 520 77|        
 2016-2017 San Diego GullsAHL32 4 59 53|        

Player statistics ©

NHL Game Night 1/24: Senators at Lightning

Lightning enter All-Star break with a thud.


Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 14 shots in the first period before being pulled for Karri Ramo who allowed 5 goals on 12 shots the rest of the way to take the loss.

First Period
Ottawa 13:43, Daniel Alfredsson 30 (Antoine Vermette)
Ottawa 14:12, Jason Spezza 17 (Randy Robitaille, Daniel Alfredsson)
Ottawa 18:41, Daniel Alfredsson 31 (power play) (Jason Spezza, Andrej Meszaros)

Second Period
Ottawa 4:38, Daniel Alfredsson 32 (shorthanded) (Mike Fisher)
Ottawa 9:36, Antoine Vermette 11 (Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden)
Tampa Bay 13:51, Dan Boyle 1 (unassisted)

Third Period
Ottawa 1:39, Randy Robitaille 8 (Daniel Alfredsson)
Tampa Bay 1:59, Nick Tarnasky 4 (Brad Lukowich)
Ottawa 3:58, Dean McAmmond 6 (Chris Neil, Mike Fisher)
Tampa Bay 5:07, Craig MacDonald 2 (Andre Roy, Nick Tarnasky)
Tampa Bay 15:17, Dan Boyle 2 (Paul Ranger, Martin St. Louis)
Ottawa 16:33, Jason Spezza 18 (Andrej Meszaros, Wade Redden)

The good news is the Lightning got Dan Boyle back from injury and he promptly potted a pair of goals.

Plaudits for Nick Tarnasky's 1 goal and 1 assist.

Box score and extended statistics from

NHL Game Night 1/12: Lightning at Panthers

The Pussy Cats FEAR #74.


Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the win.

First Period
Florida 0:38, Olli Jokinen 21 (Bryan Allen)
Tampa Bay 10:39, Nick Tarnasky 2 (Craig MacDonald, Mathieu Darche)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 2:00, Jan Hlavac 7 (Jason Ward, Chris Gratton)
Tampa Bay 3:06, Nick Tarnasky 3 (Shane O'Brien, Craig MacDonald)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 9:15, Brad Richards 12 (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis)
Florida 14:59, David Booth 11 (Jassen Cullimore, Stephen Weiss)
Florida 18:31, Brett McLean 4 (Magnus Johansson, Jay Bouwmeester)
Tampa Bay 19:44, Brad Richards 13 (empty net) (Martin St. Louis)

#74 got out of the press box and popped in 2 goals. THAT is how you respond to being scratched. Very nice. I'm happy for 'nasty.

Mathieu Darche had an assist and was +2 in 11:08 with 1 shot and 2 hits. I think Torts is finally starting to zero in on where the sweet spots are in terms of ice time for the checking liners. It's a shame it took until January to get here.

Box score and extended statistics from

HF- "Lets Just Pretend Mike Lundin Doesn't Exist"

What gives HF? Seriously.

Look, we're long past the point of expecting anything resembling objectivity considering one of your top writers was once quoted as claiming Blair Jones was "trash" because he was a 4th round pick, but can you guys at least acknowledge that Mike Lundin (another 4th round pick, so I guess that makes him "trash" too) has made the NHL? Is that really too much to ask?

NHL Game Night 10/6: Thrashers at Lightning

Tomorrow's headline should read: "Paper Champions Get Folded Up".


Johan Holmqvist barely had to break a sweat stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced for the win.

First Period
Tampa Bay 3:40, Vaclav Prospal 2 (Vincent Lecavalier, Paul Ranger)

Second Period
Atlanta 0:57, Marian Hossa 1 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 14:38, Vaclav Prospal 3 (power play) (Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba)
Tampa Bay 15:49, Brad Richards 1 (shorthanded) (unassisted)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 5:22, Vincent Lecavalier 3 (unassisted)
Atlanta 8:58, Slava Kozlov 1 (Tobias Enstrom, Todd White)

Second Day Scrimmage Results

Different day, same results. Sunday's scrimmage ended in yet another 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White, duplicating Saturday's result. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Team Black's goal came from the prospective fourth line with Nick Tarnasky getting the goal off an Andre Roy feed. Team White's goal was scored by free agent signing Michel Ouellet off a pass by Brad Richards.

Erlendsson calls out overage prospect David Schneider for a couple of positive plays in today's game. Schneider spent the past four seasons in Finland playing in the SM-liiga for TPS and HPK and was a teammate of Karri Ramo when the two won a championship in 2005-2006. Schneider was signed to anchor the Norfolk Admirals' power play and should provide some offensive spark to the Ads' attack.

Also on the positive side, today was another strong outing for the Lightning's goaltenders particularly Ramo and veteran Marc Denis. Erlendsson had Denis stopping 17 of 17 shots faced while Ramo stopped 16 of 17 including a 3-on-1 chance by Dan Jancevski.

HF Draft Review Is Divorced From Reality

Long time readers of the website know that the staff here at Bolt Prospects has a bit of a chequered past with that other hockey prospects website, Hockeysfuture. Without getting to deep into the specifics, after years of myself, Chad and Tim working the Lightning page on that website we as a group had a falling out with management over what seemed to us to be obvious bias in their decision making process against us and the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't something that happened overnight and we didn't leave all at once but eventually Tim had the idea to start a blog and we seized on it and started making plans. The rest, as they say, is history.

Long time readers of this website also know that we've never been afraid to call out Hockeysfuture for what we've seen as continuing bias in the product over at that website. One of the most obvious points of contention we had with HF was their refusal for almost two years to assign a writer to cover the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't until shortly after the Lightning internet community responded strongly to an incident in which a high ranking HF writer called prospects Blair Jones and Justin Keller trash and Bolt Prospects' subsequent smackdown of said writer that HF finally conceded and assigned longtime writer and all around standup guy Phil Laugher to cover the team's prospects. Laugher earned his street cred with the Lightning fan base when he apologized publicly to Lightning fans about a year prior when HF released a set of rankings that had NHL regular Paul Ranger 9th in the organization, soon-to-be NHL regular Nick Tarnasky 19th in the organization, and Keller and Russian superprospect Vasily Koshechkin out of the rankings altogether.

Under Laugher, it has been our website's opinion that the product on HF has improved by leaps and bounds. Considering he's been struggling upstream against an online editor who clearly has ulterior motives, their site has actually become tolerable over the last year. As such, we've had an unofficial truce with HockeysFuture over the past 14 or so months. Unfortunately, Phil didn't write the horribly divorced from reality draft review HF just put out for the Lightning, a piece so bad I got multiple e-mails from the Bolt Prospects staff within moments of their reading it. Considering their strong negative reaction to the article, I'm afraid we as a site have to respond.

Now, admittedly I have no idea who Elisa Hatch is. And let me just say ahead of time, it's not her fault Hockeysfuture's editors and management decided to put her in a difficult situation and its not her fault they offered her so little editorial support in the course of writing this article. Nearest as I can tell this is Hatch's first solo article at HF and unfortunately, without knowledgable editors who actually care about the subject matter, the quality of the work suffered.

Bottom line: several of the contentions of the article are diametrically opposed to the professional opinions of several reputable scouting outlets including the Lightning's scouting staff, THN, Red Line Report and the NHL Central Scouting Service. You don't have to take it from us that the article is flawed. Take it from those other professionals.

Bolts Re-sign Tarnasky, Wanvig

The Tampa Tribune is reporting the Lightning has re-signed forward pending restricted free agent Nick Tarnasky and pending unrestricted free agent Kyle Wanvig.

The Tribune reports the deal for "Tar-nasty" is 3 years. Wanvig, who was a second round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2001 and was MVP of the 2001 Memorial Cup for Red Deer (WHL), signed a one-year, two-way deal.

''Nick Tarnasky has all the makings of a true dominant power forward in the NHL,'' Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. ''He has size, strength, solid skating ability, willingness to commit himself to the defensive side of the game and an under-developed ability to finish that even he is just starting to harness and explore.

NHL Playoff Game Night 4/12: Lightning at Devils

With any kind of goaltending, the Lightning would've won this game 3-1.


Johan Holmqvist was awful in Game One. Awful. 5 goals on 24 shots in the loss and 3 of those were soft goals and the final goal of the game came on a terrible decision to move the puck rather than freezing it after he originally put his glove down on the biscuit on the play. Where do you go from here in net? Holmer's confidence might be 100% shattered right now. Denis has been publicly told to get lost, for all intents and purposes. And, while I have confidence in Karri Ramo and his abilities, he hasn't started a hockey game in close to a month and he's never started a game at the NHL level.

And the frustrating thing is the other 18 guys on the rink tonight for the Lightning definitely played well enough to win. They were the better team on balance. Vincent Lecavalier got loose for 2 goals. Martin St. Louis had 1 goal and 1 assist. Brad Richards, Dan Boyle and Vaclav Prospal all had assists. All the big guns, for the most part, got theirs and the Lightning also got particularly strong games from Jason Ward and Nick Tarnasky. Perhaps that's the silver lining: if the Lightning can find someone, ANYONE, who won't allow goals to go through them (the Devils' first goal), or to beat them on unscreened wristers from the side boards around the top of the circles (the Devils' second goal), or to get beaten on an emotionally deflating short side goal just moments after getting the game tied (the Devils fourth goal), then they should be able to handle New Jersey in this series.

On paper, the Lightning's goaltending situation is so much improved over last season, and yet there was something terribly Grahame-esque vs. Ottawa about Holmer tonight. Games Two and Three will be interesting.

Game sheet from

Lightning Choke Harder

Most embarassing game in Lightning history. Ever.


Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 12 shots before being pulled for Marc Denis who allowed 3 goals on 19 shots the rest of the way. Both were attrocious and I'm sure John Tortorella wished he had dressed Karri Ramo tonight instead. Jason Ward and Nick Tarnasky had goals in garbage time. Brad Richards, Shane O'Brien, Nolan Pratt and Ruslan Fedotenko got garbage tome assists.

The Lightning loss coupled with Atlanta's win tonight in Carolina makes the Thrashers the division champions. The Lightning's complete inability to secure winnable games against Florida in the final month of the season is the cause, and the Lightning have absolutely no one but themselves to blame. They should have been the 2006-2007 Southeast Division champions. They gave the banner away.

Tomorrow's game in Atlanta takes on diminished meaning. The Lightning will either finish with the #6 or #7 seed depending on what they and the Rangers do in their final games. A Lightning win and Rangers regulation loss gives Tampa a first round series with Atlanta. Any other set of results gives the Lightning a first round matchup with New Jersey. More importantly, Saturday's game will be a key opportunity to rebound psychologically from tonight's collapse. No one in their right mind would want to limp into New Jersey with a couple of season ending losses under these circumstances and try to upset such a battle tested franchise.

Game sheet from

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