Player movement best describes Lightning system-depth in December

This is the third update of Lightning prospects / property that we've conducted thsi season. It's a shallow statistical take on what is going on throughout the Lightning system in regards to production. The listed playersare largely based off of teh attendees of training camp, with a few exceptions.

Below the fold, you'll find a list of players who didn't make the opening night roster for the Lightning and where they are now and just how they are performing in their current location.  Consider this a system update. 

Of course, the more complete place to find updates on Lightning prospects and just how they are producing is over at Bolt Prospects.  You'll find updates on more players in the Lightning system, unsigned draftees, college hockey recruits and those playing abroad on a game-by-game basis.  For the meantime, here's where things stand with some of the top prospects (and depth) in the system on January 13th, 2010:

Previous updates:  November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 (Current)

Forwards

Name
 
Team
League
Goals
Assists
Points
Carter Ashton   Lethbridge Hurricanes / Regina Pats (Combined stat total)
WHL-Juniors
 
17
18
35
Brandon Bochenski**   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
16
16
32
Ryan Craig***   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
12
8
20
Kyle DeCoste   Sault Ste. Marie / Belleville Bulls
(Combined stat total)
OHL - Juniors
 
13
8
21
Mitch Fadden   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
0
0
0
Adam Hall   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
8
11
19
Alex Hutchings   Barrie Colts
OHL-Juniors
 
26
23
49
Blair Jones***   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
6
13
19
Martins Karsums x   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
4
12
16
Chris Lawrence   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
0
3
3
Richard Panik   Windsor Spitfires / Belleville Bulls
(Combined stat total)
OHL-Juniors
 
11
10
21
Juraj Simek   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
10
10
20
Radek Smolenak***   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
5
10
15
Matias Sointu   Ottawa 67's / Sudbury Wolves
(combined stat total)
OHL-Juniors
 
5
9
14
Paul Szczechura**   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
6
8
14
Lauri Tukonen   Lukko Rauma
FNL-Europe
 
7
11
18
Dana Tyrell   Norfolk Admirals
AHL
 
0
9
9

x waived / released to Europe
**currently with the Lightning
***Has spent time at NHL level this season

Player movement summarizes what has transpired in the last month for Lightning forward prospects and property. There is the obvious moves of forwards such as Blair Jones and Brandon Bochenski spending time with the Lightning (Joens was just sent back to the AHL while Bochenski is now spending quality time in TB). But there is also the not-so-obvious moves of junior players being shuffled by their OHL clubs.

Carter Ashton was surprised by his trade from the Lethbridge Hurricans to the Regina Pats on December 9th:

"I'd heard some talk (of a possible trade) here and there, but going to the rink (Wednesday), it was like every other day — until I got called into the office," Ashton said from Lethbridge. "The news kind of hits you and it's almost not real until you start packing your bags.

"I was definitely a little surprised."

Panik, part of a blockbuster deal between Belleville and Windsor last week, was a forced inclusion in the deal with thanks to the Spitfires only being allowed to have two import players on their roster. One of the key cogs of the trade was Windsor bringing in a German goaltender and that left Panik the odd-man-out.

Back to the AHL player movement: Blair Jones never recorded a point in his 14 games in Tampa Bay between several stints the last month. He was also a minus-5 over that time as well. Brandon Bochenski has done the job that was requested of him on his callup last week. he's played five games with the Bolts and recorded five points (1 goal, four assists) and has been an even plus-minus. While one could spot him floating during the Flyers / Lightning matchup on Saturday, he has provied some offensive spark the Bolts have been looking for.

Defense

Name
 
Team
League
 
Goals
Assists
Points
Mark Barberio   Moncton Wildcats QMJHL-Juniors  
8
26
34
Scott Jackson   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
0
7
7
Matt Lashoff   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
3
6
9
Mike Lundin**   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
2
14
16
Vladmir Mihalik   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
0
8
8
Kevin Quick   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
0
2
2
Ty Wishart   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
4
8
12

** currently with Tampa Bay Lightning
***
Has spent time at NHL level this season

Statistics that are missing here and important to getting a better idea of how defensemen are performing are average time-on-ice and plus/minus raitings. Unfortunately the stats are not universally presented among junior age players and the AHL, and that's been part of the reason why I have not included it. Admirals players stats are presented with plus/minus ratings, however, so I do encourage you to jump over there if you are curious.

I think the happy story here is Lundin arriving in Tampa. he flirted with the club in November when injuries left the big club short handed. He has worked his way not only into the daily defensive rotation in Tampa Bay since his recall (and subsequent demotion of Lukas Krajicek), but into the top pairing with Mattias Ohlund. Not bad for a guy who seemed all-but-finished in Tampa after being demoted before the season started.

Goaltenders

Name
 
Team
League
 
Win
Loss
OTL
Save %
GAA
Riku Helenius***   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
5
7
0
.896
2.75
Jarsolov Janus   Erie Otters OHL-Juniors  
7
4
2
.918
2.81
  Norfolk Admirals AHL  
0
3
0
.923
2.03
Kari Ramo   Omsk Avangard KHL  
18
14
2
.912
2.05
Dustin Tokarski   Norfolk Admirals AHL  
11
13
0
.911
2.67
Michael Zador   Oshawa Generals OHL-Juniors  
11
14
3
.894
3.60

***Has spent time at NHL level this season

This is where the plot is thickest regarding Lightning prospects. Jaroslav Janus was signed by Brian Lawton and re-assigned from juniors to the AHL - on the cusp of the AHL. This has signaled Riku Helenius as an odd-man-out.

But it gets more interesting when you factor in last night's game between the Lightning and Washington Capitals. Mike Smith pulled himself from the game in the second period and is listed as day-to-day with a cervical strain.(quit giggling, it's a neck injury). The Bolts may be inspired to make a recall to err on the side of caution. If they have confidence that Smith will be fine, it will be Riku Helenius.

But if they aren't? If that happens, then you will likely see the top goaltender in Norfolk make his NHl debut -- that being Dustin Tokarski.

Long range, however, Janus has become the defeacto backup to Tokarski in Norfolk, and Helenius has become expendable. He may be loaned out to an ECHL or AHL team... But it doesn't look like Brian Lawton and scouts are planning for him to be a long-term answer for the Lightning in net..

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