The Tampa Bay Lightning are ramping up their preseason activities, beginning with their annual Rookie Camp. The prospects participated in offense vs. defense drills, rushes, and puck battles, among other things.
Our amazing beat reporters (namely Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times) were in attendance at Amalie Arena to catch every minute of the action and were gracious enough to publish some of the video they took onto twitter. Below, you will find all the media I was able to find from Day 1 of Rookie Camp, all in one place.
There’s nothing better than prestine white ice.
The players started with a leisurely stroll around the ice.
The prospects practiced moving the puck from one side of the ice to the other effectively while moving up the ice into the offensive zone. The drill required speed, the ability to handle the puck at speed, and vision. It was clear defensemen were not exempt from this drill: 2017 first round pick Callan Foote (#52) was the player who took the shot on net in this clip.
As an aside, a player’s training camp number is rarely the same as the number they choose if/when they make the NHL squad. So, hold your horses on those #52 Foote Bolts jerseys for now.
An interesting story developing during this camp is one of family. Cory Conacher’s brother Shane is an invitee.
Cory took to Twitter this past week to wish his brother luck:
During this next clip, Mitchell Stephens received a pass from Oleg Sosunov, who went hard to the net and had a good chance on the rebound. For a defenseman that is 6’8”, 230 lbs, and new to North American ice, Sosunov moves far better than what I expected.
One thing I hope he learns (maybe he already can do this but just didn’t in this clip) is for him to keep his feet moving while handling the puck. It will let him keep up with the pace of play and push the opponents back that much more. From what I can see, his first three strides, which are essential for any players acceleration, aren’t too bad either. I can’t wait to see him more with Moose Jaw.
Up next is one of my favorite clips. Alexey Lipanov (#36) began by making a quick move to the outside in an attempt to get around defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (#88) for a shot on goal. Lipanov did manage to get his stick few feet in front of Sergachev’s, but the combination of Sergachev’s body and stick positioning were able to keep him from getting a shot on net in the slot. Then Alex Volkov comes in, and his dangle freezes Sergachev in place. Volkov then cuts around Mikhail’s right side with some impressive explosiveness for a great scoring chance.
Bolts TV also put together a short video with attendees talking about how the rookie camp is an opportunity for the prospects to impress management. The video includes clips from several players and Ben Groulx, the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch. Groulx and his staff are coaching the tournament. Cirelli, Stephens, Joseph, and Sergachev all talked about what they’ve been able to learn so far and which league they are striving to be in come October.
Some post-practice interviews wrapped up the day. Groulx spoke to the media about what he sees in some of the newer players (namely Oleg Sosunov), the quality of some of the more developed prospects, and the outrageous depth the Lightning have been able to cultivate.
Anthony Cirelli spoke about what is expected of him in this rookie camp and tournament, the biggest thing he worked on during the summer, and what he learned in his time with the Crunch at the end of last year during their playoff run.
We’ll have more from camp tomorrow. Stay tuned!