Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning prospects head home with hardware

and Ryan Callahan is back!

The Bolts

Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, or Andrei Vasilevskiy. Gun to your head. You can only pick one. Who do you take? [Raw Charge]

Saima: I’d take an 18 year old Stamkos in a heartbeat. Legitimate number one centers are exceptionally hard to find and Stamkos is among the best players at that position in the past decade. He’s offensively gifted with an exceptional hockey IQ. Talented centers are a highly coveted asset and I have no hesitations about drafting Stamkos before the others (even though I obviously want all of them).”

The brilliance of Vasilevskiy has been masking a few small problems for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s not the end of the world but it would be good if the Bolts could tighten up some of the mistakes found in the Montreal Canadiens Carey Price game. [Tampa Bay Times]

“The Lightning is eighth in the league in 5-on-5 scoring chances allowed per 60 minutes (26.95), and fifth in high-danger chances allowed (9.66), per naturalstattrick.com. Tampa Bay ranked 13th and 11th in those categories, respectively, last season.”

This weeks fan poll is a very important question. Do you buy the Steven Stamkos 2018 NHL All-Star Game jersey? [Raw Charge]

“It says “Atlantic” on the inside of the neck, so if a Flyers fan ever sneaks up behind you to drop a spider down your shirt, and can read upside down (or at all), they’ll know what division the Lightning are in.”

Slightly related question: how many jerseys do you currently own? I have 4. Two kids Leafs jerseys (home and away... both knock-off), a home Leafs jersey with the boring logo, and an away Leafs jersey with the new logo. Clearly I need some Bolts gear in my room... Any suggestions?

The Lightning have have Stammer, Kuch, and Heddy. But there are three budding young stars that have really taken the team to the next level. [Yahoo Sports]

“...if the Edmonton Oilers have taught us anything in this weak-link sport, it’s that a superstar alone doesn’t make a team special. For the Bolts, it’s in part the culmination of many seasons of identifying and cultivating talent at the top of the profession which has the Lightning on track to win it all this spring.”

Mikhail Sergachev has been exceeding the expectations put on him in the summer, Stammer calls Tampa home, and Ryan Callahan is back! [Tampa Bay Times]

“I knew from the first day (Sergachev) was going to stay for the whole year,” wing Nikita Kucherov said. “You don’t want to see that talent going back to junior or the AHL. He’s definitely one of the best ‘D’ on our team. He’s getting more confident and comfortable with this team. It’s been fun to watch.”

The Prospects

The World Juniors have concluded and the Medals have been handed out (in some cases, to fans), and the players are heading back to their respective clubs.

How did the Tampa Bay kids do?

Libor Hajek finished the tournament one point back of Cale Makar for the lead in defensive scoring. Sadly, he did notl eave with a medal after losing 9-3 to the USA in the bronze medal game.

Cal Foote, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, and Brett Howden beat Sweden 3-1 to win the gold medal for the tournament!

For a full breakdown of the final games for the Lightning kids head to Bolt Prospects’ website. [Bolt Prospects]

“Hajek notched an assist on the Czech Republic’s first goal of the game, a power play marker by Martin Kaut just 43 seconds into the 3rd period. Despite a -5 rating for the game, Hajek was named the Player of the Game for the Czech team, his second such honor of the tournament along with being named one of the Czech team’s Three Players of the Tournament.

Gold!! 🇨🇦🇨🇦 @hockeycanada

A post shared by Taylor raddysh (@taylorraddysh) on

A recap of the gold medal game has been published by our friends at Habs Eye on the Prize. [Habs Eye on the Prize]

Back to the pro leagues, Connor Ingram is becoming “the guy” between the pipes for the Syracuse Crunch. But what if he stopped playing as a goalie? It nearly happened. [Syracuse]

“Ingram’s being modest, of course, because humor and humility color his personality. He was successful in most of his sporting attempts, especially when he took the ice. That talent has led him to the jewel position of a starting goalie spot in the AHL well ahead of schedule.”

The Game

After the gold medal game, Swedish captain Lias Andersson (NYR prospect) shed tears of defeat as he recieved his silver medal. He threw the medal to a Swedish fan in the stands. Safe to say the reaction from the move did not go well from the Canadian broadcast and obviously on twitter.

Some took it too far.

Apparently Lias got the medal back from the fan. No harm no foul?

Half of the season is finished for the majority of the teams in the NHL so let’s take a look at some funky stats that you might not have expeccted to see. (Looking at you Sens, Knights, and Oilers). [Sportsnet]

“We seem to have our Karlssons mixed up: Vegas Golden Knights centreman William Karlsson already has 20 goals through 39 games this season (good for sixth in the category across the league). The better known Erik Karlsson, on the other hand, has just three goals so far and is sitting on a minus-20 rating as the Ottawa Senators’ struggles continue.”

Whether they try to still go for it or tear it down, does Marc Bergevin deserve to still be running the Montreal Canadiens?

Highlight of the Night: If I could give some advice to the youngsters reading this: don’t pass to Sidney Crosby.