Quick Strikes: Jonathan Drouin is going to play center again

Despite kinda really sucking at it last year.

The Bolts

Remember when the goalie-less Tampa Bay Lightning got swept by the Montreal Canadiens in 2014? Remember when they got their revenge at the beginning of the regular season en-route to a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals? Good times. Here’s a review of Steven Stamkos’ October 2014 hat trick that kicked off that memorable season. [Raw Charge]

For Stamkos, this game was his 8th career hat trick tying Martin St. Louis’ franchise mark. He also has not recorded a hat trick since with nine other hat tricks being scored since this one. Let’s take a look at how he scored each goal. Down at the bottom is a YouTube video with the highlights so you can watch for yourself.

Erie Otters legend Anthony Cirelli has found a home at #5 in our Top 25 Under 25 rankings. With his skills, tenacity, and smarts, Cirelli could already be a lock for the Bolts’ opening night roster. Oh, and Tom was right. [Raw Charge]

As an OHL rookie - after going undrafted - Cirelli stepped in and scored a championship-winning goal for the Oshawa Generals at the 2015 Memorial Cup. Not only did he score the overtime winner, but Cirelli scored the only regulation goal for the Gens in that Memorial Cup final. On a team loaded with star veterans, it was the 16-year-old Cirelli who stepped up in the biggest game of the season.

Single-game tickets for the upcoming season are starting to be released.

The Prospects

Former Syacuse Crunch captain Mike Angelidis has finally gotten dragged off the ice, kicking and screaming, and has turned to a life of scouting. His story: [Syracuse Crunch]

But that’s about it. For the first time in his memory bank, a month that would be jammed with the dialing up of intensity in preparation for an upcoming season is strangely calm.

That’s because at age 33, Angelidis has decided to snuff out a playing fire that burned so hot and retire.

”It’s definitely a transition,’’ he said Monday. “I’m going to miss that intensity.’’

The Tampa Bay Lightning has one of the worst farm systems in the league, according to Corey Pronman’s evaluation. [The Athletic]

Tampa’s system is interesting because it has a ton of very fine prospects, but it lacks a true upper echelon player. Its AHL team had a ton of intrigue with many top rookies and recent first-round pick Cal Foote is a good player, but I’m not very excited about any one player here. Thus it’s hard for me to get that excited about the system as a whole.

Cal Foote, aka the man with big feete, is pumped to get training camp going. [NHL dot com]

“I’ve continued to work on all aspects of my game whether it’s improving my skating or just trying to be a smarter player on the ice,” he said. “It was disappointing to miss out on development camp because there are so many great coaches and instructors to work with, but I’ll be ready for camp, and my goal is to make the team.”

The Game

This website considers Jim Benning as the best of the worst Canadian-team GMs. Is that true? What do you think? [Georgia Straight]

Lately, it seems like it’s been one disastrous move after another for Bergevin. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if he was run out of town halfway through the coming season. After a long stretch of success for the Habs, it seems like Bergevin’s moves have doomed the franchise.

Jonathan Drouin is preparing for another attempt at his first season up the middle for the Montreal Canadiens. [Montreal Gazette]

“It looks that way for sure,” Drouin replied when asked whether he would be playing centre. “I don’t make those decisions, but that’s where I played last year and I feel comfortable coming in this year and knowing that I’m playing centre.”

“I took some vacation time to relax and get away from the city, but it’s back to the training,” Drouin said. “Last year I came into camp a little bit heavy and I was adjusting to the centre position. I really didn’t know how to prepare for it. Now, it’s easier for me, having played the position last year. I know what I have to do.

Drouin spent the majority of the season skating with another pair of supposed centers in Alex Galchenyuk, and Andrew Shaw.

Kunlun Red Star of the CWHL is getting a rebranding for the upcoming season in an attempt to grow the womens program in China in time for the 2022 Olympics. [The Ice Garden]

The first year of the plan for the Chinese government might not have gone quite as planned. The Kunlun Red Stars did make it to the Clarkson Cup finals. But, after a hot start, the Vanke Rays faltered and struggled in the final stretches of the season. Both teams relied heavily on their international players with the Chinese players seeing limited minutes.