Quick Strikes: Lightning prospect pipeline is loaded with talent

Bolts host Military Appreciation Night and young Lightning prospects are thriving in the minor leagues

The Bolts

John Tavares and the Islanders will be visiting Amalie Arena tonight. Expect them to play with some extra edge. “Some payback is in order against the Lightning, which beat the Islanders, 6-1, earlier this month in Brooklyn.” [Newsday]

Tonight the Bolts will honor men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. “Through the Lightning's Seats for Service program, the team's generous fans and partners have helped treat 2,500 service members and their families for the game against the Islanders, as well as future ones. The Bolts will also be wearing camouflage jerseys during pre-game warm ups that will be auctioned off later to benefit military charities through the Lightning Foundation.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

In anticipation of Military Appreciation Night and Veterans Day, a few players stopped by MacDill Air Force Base. They seemed to enjoy themselves, but Brian Boyle could probably benefit from some more flight training.

Dynamic forward Jonathan Drouin continues to be out with an injury sustained on November 1. He has already missed three games and is likely to miss his fourth start tonight. [Tampa Bay Times]

In sharp contrast to last year, the Lightning can attribute much of this season’s success to exceptional special teams play. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Bolts continue to focus on growing the sport of hockey in the local community. “The Tampa Bay Lightning will participate in USA Hockey's Try Hockey For Free Day this Saturday, November 12 at multiple ice rinks across the state, as part of Come Play Hockey Month.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

If you want to meet Ben Bishop, consider stopping by Elder Ford of Tampa on Friday  from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. “In addition to an included free cookout, the Friday night event will include a meet and greet with Bishop, during which anyone in attendance can get either a photograph with the star player or an autograph.” [Digital Journal]

The Prospects

If you’re unfamiliar with Lightning draft picks who play in minor hockey leagues, Bolt Prospects is the best place to start. Their newly published 2016-2017 Preliminary Rankings is a great way to get acquainted to the high-end talent in the pipeline. [Bolt Prospects]

Bob McKenzie put together a projected roster for Team Canada at World Juniors. He believes that six Lightning prospects have the potential to make the team - Mitchell Stephens, Brett Howden, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph, Matthew Spencer, and Connor Ingram. [TSN]

It seems like the Ontario Hockey League also sees a lot of potential in the Bolts pipeline. For the annual Canada-Russia series, three of the five leadership positions went to Lightning draft picks. Mitchell Stephens will serve as Captain of Team OHL with Anthony Cirelli and Matthew Spencer as Alternate Captains. [Ontario Hockey League]

2016 second round draft pick Taylor Raddysh continues to have a breakout season with the Erie Otters. He currently leads the OHL in points, assists, and plus/minus. He is also just one goal behind teammate and Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat for the league lead in goals. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Anthony Cirelli doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he probably should. “While he’s a creative offensive player, it’s Cirelli’s all-around game that will get him to the NHL. He is a three-zone player that you’re not afraid to play in any situation and thrives when going up against the opposition’s top players.” [Raw Charge]

Over in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Mathieu Joseph is having quite the season. He’s currently third in the league for goals and continues to steadily improve his overall game. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Game

Luke Fox [@lukefoxjukebox] puts a poetic spin on this week’s power rankings - a must read for anyone who enjoys a good hockey haiku. [Sportsnet]

It looks like Monday’s skilled battle with the Panthers has left hockey fans wanting more. “If the hockey gods have a sense of drama, they will make sure the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers finally play each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Fans would go crazy to see two Florida teams play and the players would dig into that rivalry as well.” [ESPN]

Winnipeg Jets rookie Patrik Laine is the real deal. “Laine's shot percentage (25 per cent) is off the charts. No one in the league who has fired at least 25 shots comes near that conversion rate, and this kid has maintained that success rate through 44 shots.” [Sportsnet]

Mike Babcock did his best Herb Brooks impression and had the Maple Leafs continue to practice even when the lights went out. In the words of Babcock himself, "What, they can't skate in the dark or what?" [NHL]