Quick Strikes: At least the Lightning prospects are good

The Crunch are playing well and the kids in juniors continue to dominate the Canadian Hockey League

The Bolts

I don’t want to talk about the Lightning. I’ll let Anton Stralman sum up what happened last night.

SEVEN PENALTIES? Ugh, don’t get me started... On to happier things!

The Crunch

The incredibly injured Tampa Bay Lightning continue to call-up some of the best players from the Syracuse Crunch. Despite their roster instability, the Crunch are currently first in the North Division. They took home 3 of 4 possible points on their most recent road trip in St. Johns [Raw Charge]

Speaking of players called up in the face of injury, Michael Bournival made his Lightning debut last night. If there’s someone you should root for, it’s this guy. “He started 2014-15 with the Canadiens, racing his way through 29 games before he fell on his head in a game and suffered a concussion. He tried to come back too soon, skated in 12 games with Hamilton and then shut it down. The symptoms hammered away at him, making him dizzy and unable to endure any exertion. He couldn't watch TV or even tolerate going outside.” [Syracuse.com]

On a lighter note, Matt Taormina, Dylan Blujus, Luke Witkowski and Joel Vermin show us that good times have never seemed so good.

The Prospects

For Canadian hockey prospects under the age of 20, making Team Canada’s world junior hockey championship team means you’re the cream of the crop. Every year, Team Canada invites 32 prospects to camp. That averages out to about 1 prospect per NHL team. Guess how many Lightning prospects are invited? SIX. That’s the most of any NHL team (Montreal and Colorado are tied for second with three prospects each). Learn more about the young guns in the pipeline. [RawCharge]

I really need some optimism after last night, so I’m finding clips of these six prospects that make me happy about our future.

I’ll start with the only Lightning prospect goalie invited to Team Canada camp. Earlier this week, Connor Ingram made 52 saves to bring home a victory for the Kaloomps Blazers. Head Coach Don Hay said. “it was one of the best goaltender performances I’ve seen in the WHL.” [Blazer Hockey]

I mean, his coach is right. Just look at this. It’s insane. If you’re impressed (and you should be) - send him some support by voting for him in this week’s CHL Showdown

Up next is 2016 first rounder Brett Howden, captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors (and good friends with rookie Brayden Point). Here’s one of his 4-point nights (1G, 3A).

Then we have Mitchell Stephens, captain of the Saginaw Spirit. Unfortunately Saginaw is not exactly the best team this year, but here’s Stephens picking up a goal and an assist.

Yet another captain on the list (are you sensing a pattern here?) Anthony Cirelli plays for the Oshawa Generals. Here’s him scoring a hattrick earlier this season. Did I mention he was a third round pick?

Mathieu Joseph currently leads the QMJHL is goals. This is one of his hattricks from this season (featuring 4 goals by fellow Lightning prospect Boko Imama). Just your run-of-the-mill game featuring SEVEN Lightning prospect goals - no big deal.

Last but not least, 2016 2nd round pick Taylor Raddysh. I think this guy might be my favorite prospect. He is absolutely dominating the OHL, leading the league in points, assists, insurance goals, and plus/minus. Do you want to see another hattrick? I know you want to see another hattrick.

I don’t know about you, but I feel much better. The prospect pipeline is overflowing with talent. Joel Vermin showed it last night - an injury call-up proving he deserves some serious ice time with the Lightning. There’s a lot to be optimistic about, so let’s just focus on that. Have a wonderful day, Bolts Nation! Here’s hoping Saturday night brings more joy!