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, C/W, Harvard (NCAA – USA)
Alex Killorn played in two games last weekend and notched the game-winning goal in both contests. The Harvard senior and 2007 third round draft pick of the Bolts put on a show Friday night against Yale before a national television audience on the new NBC Sports Network.
Killorn scored on a wrap-around in the first period, then with just over a minute left in the game banged home his own rebound to give the Crimson a 4-3 win. He drew frequent praise from the NBC commentating crew and about the only thing negative someone could say about his effort on Friday was he got caught digging a bat out of the cave on nation-wide TV. Sometimes bats need to be freed, however, and Killorn called it a “power move” on Twitter that night.
At 6’1” and nearly 220 points Killorn, a Hobey Baker Award nominee, looked like a man among boys during the game, using physical play and positioning at both ends of the ice and delivering timely hits. His physical-readiness combined with his hockey IQ and skillset make him one of just a few forwards in the system to have a legitimate shot at earning a roster spot in Tampa next fall. Killorn has to be signed first, which is close to a guarantee at this point. He’s ready for pro hockey and could join the Norfolk Admirals for their playoff run (pending a contract).
Adam Wilcox, G, Tri-City (USHL – USA)
Adam Wilcox went 3-0 in the last nine days for a struggling Tri-City Storm squad that has been in the Western Conference basement for most of the year. Thanks to Wilcox and his three straight First Star awards last week, the Storm were able to move ahead of Sioux Falls into second-last place. They are now just one point behind Des Moines to move up another spot on the table and into the West’s final playoff spot. They sit just two points out of fifth.
Wilcox, a sixth round pick of the Lightning last summer, stopped 37 shots on January 21 in a 3-2 home win over Waterloo. He followed that up with two 32-save efforts last week, beating Omaha in Omaha then Sioux falls at home in a shootout. Both games were also 3-2 wins, and Wilcox was taking the final bow at the end of each game.
For the year, Wilcox has a 13-10-3 record with Green Bay and Tri-City. He has a 2.82 GAA and his .913 save percentage for the season ranks fourth in the league.
Next year Wilcox is slated to join the University of Minnesota hockey program where he will be competing for ice time on one of the most storied programs in collegiate hockey. For the rest of this year, he’s trying to get his team into the playoffs.
Adam Janosik, D, Gatineau (QMJHL – Canada)
A third round pick in 2010, Janosik was part of a group of four defensemen taken in the third and fourth rounds of Steve Yzerman’s first draft. That group is now down to three with the trade of Brock Beukeboom to St. Louis in the Eric Brewer trade last year and Janosik, who was taken No.3 among the four (Beukeboom, Radko Gudas, Janosik, Geoffrey Schemitsch), seems to be peaking at the right time – the Lightning must make a contract decision on him in the spring.
Janosik had a solid showing for Team Slovakia at the recent World Juniors tournament, but when he got back to Gatineau he watched as the team traded away three of their top four scorers. Janosik was handed the captain’s C and expected to lead a group of young players to finish out the season.
Gatineau has had more downs than ups since the trade frenzy, but Janosik is making a strong effort to lead by example every night. This past week he set a career high with a three-point game (two goals and an assist) in a 9-4 loss to fellow Bolt prospect Daniel Milan (who scored a goal) and Victoriaville. He added an assist a game later to give him four points in four games last week.
Unfortunately for the Olympiques, they were slaughtered 12-1 by Quebec then 6-1 by Guy Boucher’s former team, Drummondville, after the Victoriaville loss. It’s how Janosik plays through these down times – mentally and physically – that will help determine his professional future.
He is a bit undersized at 5’11” 180, but is gritty, skilled (26 points in 39 games this year), and with some added weight could be an effective pro. Whether or not he sees the NHL may not happen for another three or four seasons. If signed, he’s likely to start next year in the ECHL.
For more Lightning prospect information and daily updates, see ESPN Florida partner Bolt Prospects at BoltProspects.com.