Articles that are feature stories.

The BoltProspects Mailbag: 1-25-15

The #BPMailbag returns this week as I take advantage of some off time during the All-Star break. Thanks to those who submitted questions.

@BoltProspects handicap these possibilities for back up goalie next season, Vasy, Gudlevskis, veteran free agent on one year deal #BPMailbag

This isn’t as simple as some may think as Vasilevskiy, whom many assume is in line for the backup role next year after Evgeni Nabokov’s contract runs out, needs to get games to maintain positive development.

If a free agent is acquired, it will be a one-year deal leaving the door open for Vasilevskiy/Gudlevskis in 2016-2017. Complicating matters, though, is Vasilevskiy playing himself out of the AHL. It may be a case where he’s too good to keep out of the NHL.

Prospect of the Week: 1-21-15

By Jeremy Houghtaling

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for January 21, 2015 is … Kristers Gudlevskis, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

For Kristers Gudlevskis, every time he straps on the pads is a little bit different.

There has been no better example than the last two weeks. The Syracuse Crunch goalie allowed a pair of goals on nine shots and was pulled after the first period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton January 10, but rebounded by making 47 saves on 49 shots in more than 97 minutes of ice time in a pair of appearances last weekend.

The BoltProspects Podcast, Volume 15

This week's edition of the BoltProspects Podcast (now on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· Lightning goaltending drama
· Problems on defense and how to fix them
· Interview with Dylan Blujus of the Syracuse Crunch
· Blind mailbag answers (Hockey snobbery, Power play solutions, Drouin's slow start, Connolly's struggles)

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

Prospect of the Week: 1-14-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for January 14, 2014 is … Brendan O’Donnell, University of North Dakota (NCAA – USA).

Brendan O’Donnell is exhibit-A for why teams spend a late round draft pick on an under-the-radar high school or junior-A player and then allow them extended development time in college.

The Lightning’s 2010 sixth round pick from the Winnipeg South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League is now a senior at the University of North Dakota. After playing in Penticton of the BCHL the season after he was drafted, and then a mostly injury-plagued career with UND, the 6-foot, 193-pound left wing turned the proverbial corner late last year in his development. He continued that into the Lightning’s summer prospect camp, where he was one of the standouts in front of his potential future bosses.

A lot was expected of O’Donnell as a senior leader with UND this season as he was to be in more of an offensive role than previous years. Things didn’t start out as fast as he may have liked, but like his collegiate career, it took some time for things to come together.

Rookie Defenseman Blujus Making Progress in Syracuse

By Jeremy Houghtaling

While Dylan Blujus broke through for his first goal last week, his real strides have come in his own zone.

With an increase in ice time due to injuries and call-ups, the defenseman has started to find his groove with the Syracuse Crunch. Head coach Rob Zettler has seen steady progress in Blujus' game since he made his professional debut nearly three months ago.

"I would say over the last month, (Blujus) has been a much better defenseman, meaning he's going back for pucks more confidently and he's not as prone to get rid of pucks as quickly," Zettler said of the Buffalo native. "The beginning of the year, he'd get back and rim it around the boards and it would [cause] a cluster in our end for a little while because of it. He's just being a little bit more patient with the puck and smarter with the puck."

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