Starting today, the Tampa Bay Lightning will showcase their young players in a smattering of practices and then scrimmages against players from the Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers. It’s the unofficial kickoff to the NHL season. Once the prospect camp wraps up next week, it’ll be time for the rest of the players to join them down in Tampa to get ready for the 2021-22 season.
The 24 players (15 forwards, 7 defenseman, 2 goaltenders) will be split into squads and practice at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The roster is built out of players that are 24-years-old or younger and have less than 20 games of NHL experience. For the games, teams will dress 18 skaters and 2 goaltenders. In addition to prospects already in their system, the Lightning have offered invites to five unaffiliated players including Avery Winslow, a defenseman from Pinellas County.
Friday’s practice moves to the TGH Ice Plex and then the games start Saturday. They will take on Nashville at Amalie, then Carolina on Sunday at AdventHealth Center Ice before finishing things up on Tuesday against the Panthers at 1:00. The games will be regulation length (three 20-minute periods) and if it’s tied they will play a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime. No matter what the final score is, they will have a 5-skater shootout.
The Saturday game against Nashville will be open to the public while the rest of the Bolts games will be streamed on the Lightning’s website. These games do focus a lot on instruction and aren’t super competitive, but you do start to see some glimpses of the type of players these young kids will be.
The announced roster is as follows:
Xavier Cormier (invitee)
Ryan Jones (Invitee)
Wyatt McLeod (Invitee)
Avery Winslow (Invitee)
Lightning / NHL News
While the focus is on the prospect training camp this week, there was an interesting addition to the Lightning’s full training camp that starts next week. According to Renaud Lavoie, U.S. Olympian, and all around excellent hockey player, Julie Chu will join Tampa Bay’s staff as a guest coach. After a stellar playing career, Chu moved into the coaching ranks and is currently the head coach of the Concordia Stingers. [Renaud Lavoie Twitter]
The Bolts are defending champs and among the favorites to win it yet again. Despite that, there are still some questions they have to answer. Among the five asked in this post, I think the one about Andrei Vasilevskiy is the most important. [NHL.com]
Goaltending is one of the weakest areas in the Lightning pipeline. Good thing Vasy has quite a few years left on his contract. One of the top prospects should be making his North American debut this season. He is also #18 on our Top 25 Under 25. [Raw Charge]
As part of a growing trend in professional sports, the Nashville Predators announced that they would require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for fans attending their games to open the season. As of now the policy is in place until November 15th. The Preds are the 14th NHL team to announce this type of policy, [ESPN.com]