Brayden Point started the season as a surprise addition to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster out of training camp, but throughout the year he’s consistently shown why he should be in the NHL.
Since returning from an injury he suffered on Dec. 28 that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month, the 20-year-old forward has accumulated seven points and is a plus-6 in nine games. He’s been held off the scoresheet just three times and has arguably been playing his best hockey of late, skating at center and putting together a four-game point streak from Feb. 10 to Feb. 19.
He began the season playing the wing position despite traditionally playing as a center throughout his career — primarily because that’s where he fit into the lineup when Steven Stamkos was healthy. However, he’s been centering Alex Killorn and Jonathan Drouin — players that complement his speed and creativity, while also helping ease his transition to the position at the NHL level.
This is this week’s “Vladdy Namestnikov II Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 90 (and 65)
· Vladdy’s falling ceiling
· Greg Linnelli interview recap
· Drouinsanity driving the Lightning
· The Ben Bishop dilemma
· The Tyler Johnson dilemma
· Let’s start here: Jake Dotchin is an NHL defenseman
· Interview with Adam Erne
Adam Erne looks like he hasn’t missed a beat.
The Syracuse Crunch forward missed a little more than a month with a lower body injury, but was able to return to the lineup last weekend. Erne recorded three points in a 5-2 win over Rochester Saturday, and added a goal in Sunday’s 3-2 victory in Utica.
Erne is focused on consistency as he pushes for a spot in the NHL.
“It’s just a matter of getting back in a game and getting used to the speed and whatnot,” Erne said of his return. “Luckily, it didn’t take too long. Now it’s just a matter of doing it night in and night out.”
This is this week’s “Cory Conacher Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 89
· Conacher-Bishop trade and its similarities to today
· TB has “mo” on its side, but is it too late?
· Trade deadline an opportunity too good to pass up
· Farm’s D has holes to be filled
· Interview with Tanner Richard
Breaking down the video helped show Tanner Richard his options.
The Syracuse Crunch center sat down with head coach Benoit Groulx for a 25-minute video session after Richard returned to the lineup last week. Richard, who has been primarily a pass-first type of player, and Groulx went through each shift by the second, shared their thought processes and the choices available on each play.
Richard hopes to continue to refine his decision-making skills with the puck as he continues to develop with the Crunch.
“We were looking at shifts and the passes I made and he would ask what I should have done there,” Richard said. “I’m thinking ‘Well, I made a pretty good pass right on our guy’s tape and he got in a shooting position,’ but then he’s like ‘OK, look at all this free ice. You could have taken it yourself.’
“You want to try and take more control of the game instead of always giving the puck away.”
This week’s “Andrei Vasilevskiy Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 88
· Vasilevskiy pre-draft scouting reports read like Superman comics
· TB’s immediate goaltending future
· Brian Boyle as a trade piece
· Farm overflowing with forward prospects
· Syracuse’s playoff potential
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin is just five games into his NHL career, but that hasn’t stopped head coach Jon Cooper from turning to the rookie in important situations and allowing him the opportunity to contribute to the team in a meaningful way, despite his youth.
This is this week’s “Starting a Sidney Crosby to Tampa Bay Rumor” edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· The No. 87
· Nester-off the roster
· Future D, and why change is needed now and later
· Koekkoek still on the outside looking in
· Deadline a chance to gain roster flexibility
· Yzerman’s best move/non-move of 2016
· Stephens sizzling in London
This is this week’s “86 86 86 86 86 86 86” edition of the Bolt Prospects Podcast includes the following topics:
· Kucherov’s journey to the NHL
· Dotchin’s debut
· Lightning could be on to something, or not at all, but I'm betting on _____
· What happens if TB is sellers? Who’s safe?
· Lots of work to do regardless if TB is buying or selling
· Nester-on or Nester-off?
· Mailbag apology
One of the highlights of my week is my Monday guest appearance on Greg Linnelli’s Lightning Power Play Live show on tblpowerplay.com.
Lightning Radio has provided us the audio file in case you missed it on Monday evening.
This week, Greg and I talk about what ails the Lightning, adjusting player upside projections, goaltending issues, signs of hope, and what’s going on in Syracuse and junior hockey.
Greg’s show airs each evening, and is one of the best shows out there for Lightning fans.