Quick Strikes: Andrei Vasilevskiy primed for a breakout season

Young goalies, lineup predictions, and the AHL Veteran Rule.

The Bolts

Baby Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is a potential breakout candidate for the upcoming NHL season. “There might be no better young player primed for an absolutely monster breakout year in 2017-18 than Tampa Bay Lightning starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy... [He] had 90 career NHL games to get used to his team’s biggest players. As long as nothing drastic changes, he knows exactly what he’s getting into.” [Fan Rag Sports]

With a full summer to reset and the bevy of offseason additions, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to be serious contenders in June. NHL.com lays it all out in their “Team Reset” series. “The Lightning finished one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference last season after reaching the conference final the previous season, with inconsistency and injuries playing a part in the regression.” [NHL]

Boltfever21 wrote a fanpost about the Lightnings potential starting lineup. Check out his lines and tell him what you think! I have a very in-depth response coming out on Thursday as well if you’re interested. [Raw Charge]

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan spoke with the NHL Network crew about the additions to the team, the difficulties involved in having a successful team with so many injuries as well as the comfort in knowing how good the depth behind the main squad is. [Reddit]

The Prospects

What is the AHL Veteran Rule? Geofitz4 breaks down where the Crunch stand when it comes to this category and how it could effect any AHL playoff runs. “This had a big impact on the Syracuse Crunch last season as they ended up with a couple of extra veterans on the roster after Cory Conacher and Erik Condra did not make the Tampa Bay Lightning roster.” [Raw Charge]

Former Syracuse Crunch head coach Gary Agnew has joined the Utica Comets coaching staff as an associate coach. “Agnew was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16 and was the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch for six years.” Best of luck to Gary in Utica! [Sportsnet]

In response to the hirings the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets twitter accounts had a very funny back and forth:

Oooooooooh burn!

Speaking of twitter, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev continues his quest to be the most hated person in Quebec after defendnig Maria Sharapova against Genie Bouchard’s comments about her failed drug test.

Now, Sergachev is Russian and is most likely just supporting his fellow countrywoman but it’s not earning him any points in the city that drafted him, not that he cares.

Top 25 Under 25

We’re into the top 5! Please prepare your hot takes accordingly.

#5: Mikahil Sergachev is more than just the prospect that was traded for Jonathan Drouin. He’s a blue chip 19-year-old defenseman that can very easily slot into the NHL this season. “Sergachev is an offensive threat who can move the puck smoothly, similar to Victor Hedman... Mikhail plays with a tremendous amount of poise and adds a booming shot to go along with his skating ability.” [Raw Charge]

#6: Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek has all the tools and potential to be a great young player for the Bolts but we haven’t seen it from him yet. After signing a one year $800k contract, its time for Koekkoek to show us who he really is. “Clearly the members of our panel feel that Koekkoek’s potential goes way beyond what he has been able to show so far. What will be crucial for Koekkoek’s position in the organization this up coming season is that he gets the chance to show it.” [Raw Charge]

#7: The Tampa Bay Lightning have yet another center clogging up the pipeline for them. Brett Howden will be looking to dominate the WHL after the offensive explosion he had in his post-draft season. “At 6’3”, 192 pounds, Howden still has time to fill out his frame. He will have one more year to do so in Moose Jaw of the WHL before transitioning to the pro ranks in the fall of 2018.” [Raw Charge]

The Game

The Boston Bruins and 25-year-old center Ryan Spooner have agreed to a 1 year deal, avoiding arbitration. The deal has an AAV of $2.825 million. “With his salary being below most estimates through arbitration this deal is likely in the Bruins favor. Spooner should be motivated to prove his worth on a one year deal, whereas the Bruins can ease center prospects like JFK (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson) into the lineup instead of relying on them from the start of the season.”