Quick Strikes: Mitchell Stephens is awesome, AHL signings, and Smashfest

Should the Tampa Bay Lightning be ranked high in prospect depth?

The Bolts

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat spoke about the adversity the team faced last season and how much they’re itching to get back to the playoffs. "It was an experience for us last year because we came from two good (playoff) runs and we thought we were going to make the playoffs just like that, and it didn't happen," [Tampa Bay Times]

The Hockey Writers have ranked the 31 teams in the league by their prospect depth! They ranked the Lightning very high. “Unlike a number of NHL teams within this ranking whose prospects have battled the developmental process, those progressing for the Bolts have yet to flounder, as seemingly every one of Tampa Bay’s elite prospects improved by leaps and bounds this past season.” Do you agree with this list? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter! [The Hockey Writers]

The Crunch

The Syracuse Crunch have signed defenseman Reid McNeill to an AHL contract. The 2010 sixth-round pick is described as a “Big physical stay-at-home type defender that played with a mean streak.” [Raw Charge]

Top 25 Under 25

#11: Budding fan favourite Mitchell Stephens will be looking to show the Tampa Bay Lightning organization what he can do at the professional level this season. “Stephens has represented Team Canada on three separate occasions—at the U-18 World Juniors in 2014-15 and the U-20 World Juniors the past two years. Across the three tournaments, he has posted 8 goals to go along with 9 assists in 17 games. He earned the trust of the Syracuse coaching staff this past playoff season, dressing for 3 Calder Cup playoff matches.” [Raw Charge]

#12: Jake Dotchin was a player that really grew at the NHL level, according to Lightning coach Jon Cooper. the 2012 6th round pick will be looking to take that momentum and run with it. “Dotchin was only expected to be with Tampa for a short time. However, his grit and skill impressed so much that he ended up playing with the Lightning for the remainder of their regular season. He eventually worked his way up to the first pairing alongside Victor Hedman.” [Raw Charge]

#13: Taylor Raddysh exploded on the scoresheet for Erie -- "Raddysh may get a long look at training camp this year, but it is almost a certainty that he is returned to Erie this season. He still needs to work on his skating ability, but that should be no problem for Barb Underhill of the Lightning’s staff. She was the master who helped Brayden Point fix that aspect of his game, allowing him to jump straight from juniors to the NHL." [Raw Charge]

The Game

The St. Louis Blues and young defenseman Colton Parayko have reportedly agreed to a five year deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. This contract has not been confirmed yet but it comes from Elliotte Friedman so I think it’s safe to say it’s legitimate. Like most contract’s that we have seen this summer, Parayko’s salary is considerably lower in the 2020-21 season, which is the year of the presumable, nd dreaded, lockout. [St. Louis Game Time and Cap Friendly]

Smashfest is an annual event hosted by current Toronto Maple Leafs center and Toronto native Dominic Moore. It’s a ping pong tournament for players and fans that supports the great causes of cancer and concussion research. It’s a great event to meet and hang out with some amazing hockey players so if you’re ever in the neighbourhood when its happening, go see it! If you want to see photos of yesterdays event, check out the hashtag #SmashfestVI [Smashfest]

And finally, a quick photo of me: