Articles that are feature stories.

Prospect of the Week: October 1, 2013

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

The Prospect of the Week for September 24, 2013 is … Andrey Vasilevskiy (Salavat Yulaev, KHL, Russia).

If Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman wakes up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night worried about Tampa Bay's goaltending, there’s probably a framed photo of Andrey Vasilevskiy on his nightstand calming him down.

J-P Cote an Elite Player for Lightning Organization

Jean-Philippe Cote is not a household name.

The son of former Quebec Nordique Alain Cote, “J-P” has been with the Lightning organization for the past two seasons. A two-time Calder Cup winner, the defenseman is as much a reason for the Tampa Bay affiliate’s Cup runs these last two years as more recognizable names like Tokarski, Desjardins, Gudas, Panik, Johnson, and Palat.

Cote is 31 years old. He’s not a young prospect like Andrej Sustr or J. T. Brown in the early stages of their development. But Sustr and Brown don’t come close to their talent ceilings without Cote and players like him.

“He’s invaluable,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said last year when coaching Cote’s Syracuse Crunch.

"He's a guy who's been around the block and has played a few games in the NHL," Cooper said. "He's seen it all and done it all. You can't have enough of those guys around."

Cooper has kept Cote around throughout the Lightning’s training camp. The former Leafs ninth round pick has survived every round of cuts so far and is the only player left in camp who is not on an NHL contract.

Prospect of the Week: September 24, 2013

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

The Prospect of the Week for September 24, 2013 – our first of the season – is … Adam Erne, Tampa Bay (NHL) and Quebec (QMJHL).

Like we've been saying, it's Adam Erne's world.

When Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman passed on defenseman Seth Jones in the first round at this summer’s entry draft in favor of dynamic winger Jonathan Drouin, we figured Yzerman’s target in the second round would be a defenseman or power forward.

'Bonus Pick' for Bolts?

Each summer for the past three years Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman has added an extra prospect – or “bonus draft pick” – to his prospect pool. A player the organization considers worthy of a pro contract but slips through the draft is signed and the player development process begins.

In 2010, Yzerman’s first year on the job, it was free agent defenseman Charles Landry. Tampa Bay signed the righty two-way defenseman to a standard rookie contract and sent him back to QMJHL Montreal.

Lightning Scout Talks WHL Draft Drought, Seth Jones, & More

If NHL dynasties are built from the ground up and within, scouts may be the most underrated pieces of the process. Sure, they get their hat-tips at the draft, and some get to share the stage with the recognizable faces of the franchise, but for the most part they go about their work watching 200 games a year and writing countless player reports without fanfare.

As prospect followers, we’re big fans of these unrecognizable faces.

Brad Whelen, an amateur scout for the Lightning in western Canada, was featured on The Pipeline Show this week, giving us a chance to at least put a voice with a name.

Run by Dean Millard and Guy Flaming and based in Edmonton, Alberta, The Pipeline Show is in its ninth year covering hockey prospects at all levels.

A former head scout with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, Whelen is one of four amateur scouts with the Lightning and covers the Western Hockey League, as well as the four Junior A leagues in western Canada (BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, MJHL), and some Canadian university hockey.

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