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Bolt Prospect of the Week

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 the week ending December 7 is … Nikita Gusev, W, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL).

The Goose is loose, but he’s staying in Russia.

Lightning 2012 seventh round pick Nikita “The Goose” Gusev is having another all-star year in the KHL this season, sparking talk that the diminutive playmaker could be joining his good friend Nikita Kucherov in Tampa as soon as next season.

Bolt Prospect of the Week

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(s) of the Week for the week ending November 30 is … Matt Spencer, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL).

Second round picks are often prized trade pieces in the NHL, especially at the deadline. Teams feel they receive good value and the dealing clubs aren’t parting with first rounders. The Lightning have two second rounders in 2016, and if they keep them, don’t be surprised if at least one is spent on a defenseman.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 45

This week's “AHL Contract Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 45
· Appreciation for the AHL veteran role player
· Can healing players provide needed shake-up?
· Special teams nightmare
· Boucher vs Cooper
· #BPMailbag: Stamkos trade value, hypothetical destinations
· Interview with emerging Syracuse defenseman Dylan Blujus

Crunch's Defensive Depth Drives Blujus


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dylan Blujus sees the positives in the competition.

With the eight defenseman combining for more than 1,500 pro games, the Syracuse Crunch has been forced to make tough decisions on who to play each night. Blujus knows that the amount of depth on the Syracuse blue line means any player who struggles is likely to watch the next game from the stands.

In his second year pro, Blujus has worked to strengthen his play in his own zone and chip in on offense when he can to keep his spot in the lineup.

“It’s also good for the D because you have to have a good game every night, because there’s someone who’s going to take your ice time if you’re not playing good,” Blujus said. “It’s tough, but it’s good for us.”

#BPMailbag for November 26, 2015

For the second straight week I ran out of time on the Bolt Prospects Podcast to get to the #BPMailbag, so another text version it is.

As always, make up your own voice inflections and insert sarcasm when needed.

@heftyt
@BoltProspects What scenario keeps the cup window open longer: with or without Stamkos? #BPMailbag

Last week in the mailbag, in response to a request to predict the Lightning’s roster three years from now, I gave the following answer using only players currently in the organization.

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 44

This week's “Roman Hamrlik Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 44
· The first Bolt prospect
· Hamrlik vs Hedman
· #TampaCuse to the rescue
· A reluctant shake-up
· Three regulars raising their games
· Player-by-player trend report for Syracuse
· Interview with Syracuse’s Daniel Walcott

Note: The #BPMailbag will be a text edition this week, posted to the site soon.

Walcott Embraces Utility Role With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

However he gets into the lineup, Daniel Walcott wants to make the most of his opportunity.

A natural defenseman, Walcott changed positions last weekend after multiple call-ups left the Syracuse Crunch short a few forwards. The 21-year-old rookie responded by registering his first professional point Friday.

With Syracuse boasting a deep blueline, Walcott is willing to help out on the ice wherever he can.

“I was pretty fortunate that they trusted me to be the extra forward instead of bringing in someone else,” Walcott said. “They could have easily done that, but they take care of their prospects. … I’ve been waiting a while to get back in a game here, so it felt good. I have to work hard and show that I can go wherever they need me.”

The Bolt Prospects Podcast, Volume 43

This week's “Kyle Freadrich Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· The No. 43
· Best fight in Lightning history
· What’s changed with TB since last week?
· Internal shake-up options
· Opposing coaches single out TB’s problems
· Did a coach just call the Lightning soft?
· Player-by-player trend report
· Interview with Syracuse’s Matt Peca

Note: The #BPMailbag will be a text edition this week, posted to the site soon.

Bolt Prospect of the Week

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 the week ending November 17 is … Brian Hart, W, Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL).

It's not often that the BP POTW award goes to a guy outside of our Top-25 rankings, which makes it extra special for Hart, who's finding his way in his first pro season in an organization with a deep pool of forward prospects.

The Lightning’s 2012 second round selection currently leads the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with 6 goals in 12 games, and all but one of those goals scored on the doorstep of the goal crease. This past weekend he scored twice in three games, including Saturday night's 3rd period game-winner against Adirondack that earned him First Star honors for the game.

Hart was drafted by the Lightning's Amateur Scouting group headed by Al Murray out of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, then suited up for Harvard a year after Alex Killorn led the Crimson in scoring his senior year. Hart spent the last three years playing for Harvard, earning an ECAC championship with the Crimson last season and signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Lightning on June 28th. Hart's six goals in his first 12 pro games is one shy of his single season best of seven that he scored last year with Harvard.

Peca Getting Comfortable, Consistent With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Matthew Peca’s goals in back-to-back games looked eerily similar.

The Syracuse Crunch center picked the puck off the half wall, danced through multiple defenders to the slot, and wristed a shot into the back of the net. Peca used his speed and skill to get into prime scoring areas, and was rewarded with three points in his last two games.

Peca is getting more comfortable and consistent as he continues to develop during his rookie season.

“Over the last couple weeks his game has been more consistent,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “He’s skating a little more consistently, he’s starting to protect pucks down low, and you see these goals he is scoring off the half wall and moving into the high traffic areas -- that’s where he’s really good. He just needs to get there often and use his speed to his advantage.”

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