Each week ESPN Florida highlights three prospects in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization making an impact for their respective teams.
This week’s three stars go to:
Alex Killorn, Forward, Harvard Crimson (NCAA – USA)
Yes, again. He’s good.
Killorn was first star last week, but this past evaluation period – a rather slow week in Lightning prospect land – he earned the award again.
The Harvard senior only played one game this past week, but he had three points. Anyone averaging three points per game for the week gets serious consideration. Killorn’s three-assist game came Friday night against fellow Lightning prospect Matt Peca and Quinnipiac University. Harvard won the game 6-3 after trailing 3-1. Peca had two assists for the Bobcats.
Killorn also scored in Monday’s Beanpot semi-final game, which Harvard lost to Boston University, 3-1. His goal set a new career high for him in points for the year at 30. He’s increased his point total every year.
He will likely join the Norfolk Admirals – pending an NHL or AHL contract – at the conclusion of Harvard’s season. It’s been more than four years since the Lightning drafted Killorn in the third round and he’s worth the wait. He will join prospect forwards such as Cory Conacher, Brett Connolly, Carter Ashton, and maybe Richard Panik next year battling for a limited number of spots on the Lightning’s roster. Early odds are on Killorn starting in the AHL since Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman likes to take a slow approach to prospect development.
Vladislav Namestnikov, Center, London Knights (OHL – Canada)
The Lightning’s most recent first round draft pick has been struggling of late – at least in the goal department – but he managed to get off the schnide last week with a one goal, two assist game against Mississauga. He had gone 14 games without a goal, a period stemming back to December 15. That 14-game goal-less drought was a career high for the second year OHLer.
Although Namestnikov didn’t light the lamp in January, his name was plastered all over the Knights’ scoresheets. He had 15 assists in January, including four multi-point games.
With 18 goals and 40 assists in 47 games this year, he’s still hanging on to a top-20 spot on the OHL table for scoring leaders. He currently sits in 18th.
London is stacked for a long playoff run and it’s not unreasonable at all to think he’ll be playing through May in the Memorial Cup. A successful run will give him a boost for when he returns to London next season.
Evan Oberg, Defenseman, Tampa Bay Lightning/Norfolk Admirals (USA)
An acquisition from the Panthers organization this year, Oberg has been known more for his frequent trips between Tampa and Norfolk than his play on the ice. Despite being called up eight times to the Lightning this year, he has just one appearance and 1:21 of ice time with the NHL club.
That’s not to say he doesn’t have anything to offer the Lightning. Down on the farm, Oberg had a good week last week with four points in three games. After going scoreless against Adirondack on Friday, he had a season-high three points (a goal and two assists) in a 6-1 win over Springfield on Saturday. He was named second star in the game. Oberg added an assist the next day in a close loss to the Falcons, the Lightning’s former affiliate.
Oberg has three goals and 12 points in 28 games this season, but six of those points have been in his last five games. Ten of his points were scored in his 16 games with Norfolk. He had two points with San Antonio before the trade.
Depending on what happens to the Lightning blueline at the upcoming trade deadline, Oberg could see a lot more action with the Bolts. At the least, he’ll continue to wrack up frequent flyer miles between the two cities.
For more Lightning prospect information and daily updates, see ESPN Florida partner Bolt Prospects at www.boltprospects.com.