Quick Strikes: Three Lightning prospects advance to Memorial Cup Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning must make a decision about a prospect, the Syracuse Crunch are one win away from the Calder Cup Final, and three Baby Bolts are chasing the Memorial Cup.

The Bolts

Bokondji Imama: The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect’s season and uncertainty. “After an amazing over-age season with the Sea Dogs, Imama’s junior career is over, and his rights are about to expire.” [Raw Charge]

With just six days left to sign Imama, the only update we can provide is that Crunch General Manager Julien BriseBois uses emojis.

For context, “DRaddyish” is referring to Taylor Raddysh’s older brother (and unsigned right-handed defenseman) Darren Raddysh.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Erik Brannstrom; could a left-handed D be right for us? “The Swedish defenseman has steadily risen on the draft boards and has the offensive upside GM Steve Yzerman is looking for.” You had me at ‘Swedish defenseman.’ [Raw Charge]

“What better way to break the doldrums of missing the playoffs - and stoke your fire for what promises to be a memorable rebound next season -- than by reliving the highlights from 2016-17... Now, it's your chance to determine the top play from a season filled with them. We've done the heavy lifting, combing through each regular season and playoff game to compile a list of all the noteworthy highlights from 2016-17 and narrow that list to the best 16.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Jeff Vinik continues to prove that he is the patron saint of Tampa Bay. This time, he and his wife are bringing a free Lego exhibit to downtown. “This act of generosity reflects the Viniks' commitment to Tampa and their appreciation for lively and participatory public space... The display runs Wednesdays through Sundays, June 23 to Sept. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required..” [Tampa Bay Times]

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Providence Bruins 7-2. Syracuse takes a 3-1 series lead.

“Syracuse put their foot on the pedal and never let off on Friday night, cruising to a decisive game four win over the Bruins.” [Raw Charge]

Jake Dotchin took a hard hit from Colby Cave and left the game. “Cave drilled Dotchin behind the Syracuse net in the third period of a 7-2 Crunch win. The hit appeared to be delivered at the shoulder/head area. Dotchin immediately crumpled to the ice and stayed there for several moments. He eventually skated off with help from his teammates.” [Syracuse.com]

The Crunch can eliminate the Bruins on home ice this Saturday, but it won’t be easy. "I think they're relentless. I think they're a hard group of guys and they play very hard. I think that's how they got success in the playoffs, and that's why it's so hard to finish them,'' said Syracuse forward Yanni Gourde. [Syracuse.com]

Memorial Cup Tournament: Erie Otters defeat Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3. Erie advances to the Memorial Cup Final.

The Memorial Cup is the ultimate prize in junior hockey. Five Lightning prospects are playing in the tournament for two different teams. Erik Cernak, Anthony Cirelli, and Taylor Raddysh are members of the Erie Otters while Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph play for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

“The offense between these two teams isn’t that far apart. In my mind while Erie has a little better depth at forward, and Saint John has the better goal tending, the real difference between these teams is the top defencemen for Erie: Lightning prospect Erik Cernak and free agent Darren Raddysh.” [Raw Charge]

Taylor Raddysh (#17 in yellow) scored two goals for Erie, Cirelli (#22) had two assists, and Cernak was held off the score sheet. Raddysh was named first star of the game. For Saint John, Joseph (#21 in white) picked up an assist and Imama (#51) was held off the score sheet.

The Game

The residents of Nashville are thoroughly enjoying the Predators. “Right now it’s kind of hard to see. Right now it’s kind of hard to hear. Right now the world is bright yellow and clattering cheers, all of it reflecting off a sheet of ice and through Bridgestone Arena.” [The Ringer]

Ben Bishop is settling into his role as number one goalie for the Dallas Stars.

What’s the story on Kyle Dubas and the Avs? “‘I gotta tell you, this is a weird story.’ Elliotte Friedman tells Sportsnet radio a tale... So many things could have been going on here. And the real story will likely never be known, but it could simply be a case of timing.” [Pension Plan Puppets]