We’re getting so close. So close to the start of the season. This week signals another step closer as the annual Prospects Showcase gets underway on Friday. A horde of Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will head up to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on younglings from the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, and Florida Panthers.
The Lightning hosted this showcase last season and the four organizations have gotten together several times over the last few seasons for similar tournaments. These get-togethers help the scouts and executive leadership see how a lot of their youngsters have progressed over the summer in a slightly more competitive environment than the development camp that took place just after the draft.
In order to participate a player has to be 24-years-old or younger, have less than 20 games of NHL experience, and have an entry-level or lower contract. In other words, no one on their second professional contracts. Each team will dress 18 skaters and 2 goaltenders for the games and they will play three, 20-minute periods per game. Tampa Bay will be sending 20 skaters (13 forwards, 7 defensemen) and 2 goaltenders north for the tournament.
It’s interesting to see who the teams dress for these round-robin tournaments. It’s not always the best prospects, for instance Isaac Howard won’t be participating. A lot of the players going to Carolina are players that might be on the bubble of the NHL/AHL or the AHL/Juniors. Julien BriseBois and Stacy Roest do have some roster decisions to make and this will give them a little more information to help them decide.
For instance Jack Finley is 20-years-old and can play in Syracuse or head back to the WHL for another season. A strong showcase could be the deciding factor. While they will also be at the Lightning’s regular training camp that fires up next week, there are going to be a lot of other things coaches and the executive staff are going to be looking at (how will the defense sort out, who takes Ondrej Palat’s spot, etc.) so a prospect could get lost in the shuffle.
For Gabriel Fortier, Cole Koepke, and Nick Perbix this is also their first chance to make a case for starting the season in Tampa. They are three of the most likely candidates to fill spots on the roster and a strong showing this weekend could bring more positive attention and chances in the regular training camp.
It’ll also be the first chance for Lightning fans to see Jack LaFontaine in goal for the organization. He’s looking to earn a NHL contract (as well as show his former club, the ‘Canes what they moved on from). Also, it appears Ilya Usua will be there. As with some Russian players, the feasibility of a player from Belarus being able to travel to the U.S was in some question. It’s also a good indication that the 21-year-old might be playing in North America this season.
Per the Lightning here is the schedule:
Wednesday, September 14
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. at TGH IcePlex (subject to change)
Thursday, September 15
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. at TGH IcePlex (subject to change)
2:30 p.m. charter to Raleigh
Friday, September 16
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers | 10 a.m. (Invisalign Arena)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators | 1 p.m. (Invisalign Arena)
Saturday, September 17
Practice Day in N.C.
Sunday, September 18
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators | 10 a.m. (PNC Arena)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers | 1 p.m. (PNC Arena)
Monday, September 19
Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers | 10 a.m. (PNC Arena)
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning | 1 p.m. (PNC Arena)
All of the Lightning games will be streamed on www.TampaBayLightning.com
Lightning / NHL News
Before he heads up to wilderness that is hockey in Minnesota, Joe Smith stopped by the practice arena to check in on the Lightning’s informal skate. Good to see a lot of the veterans and new guys in town and getting ready for the season.
Popped by @TBLightning informal skate today for a bit. Pretty much the full team was there, with a good group skating for while now. The new guys in Cole, Namestnikov. Vets from Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman, Killorn, Perry and Maroon. Paul, Hagel. Both goalies. Camp opens next week pic.twitter.com/mQ4ceOJMNj— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) September 12, 2022
Sergy is likely to join them soon, but first he had to take in a little tennis action up in New York. Why. So. Serious. Sergy?
Maxim Groshev had a bit of a setback last season, but he kept his spot from last year’s ranking at #15 in our Top 25 Under 25 countdown.
Ryan McDonagh has listed his Davis Islands house for $7.75 million. The 7,636-square-foot home was also previously owned by Vincent Lecavalier. With his move to Nashville, McDonagh wasn’t going to be spending too much time there, so it makes sense for him to unload it at this point. Unfortunately, it seems to be a bit of a rough time for the high-end market as the property was once listed as high as $8,299,999. So it’s a bargain!
Speaking of Lecavalier, nothing like a good coach/player anecdote from the past. Oh, to be a fly on the wall to watch Vinny and Torts fire F-bombs back and forth at each other.
It may be late in the summer, but the Colorado Avalanche may have pulled off one of the best free agent signings of the off-season. After putting up 19 goals and 24 assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season Evan Rodrigues is heading to the Stanleu Cup champs to fill part of the void left by Nazem Kadri departing for the Calgary Flames.