By Jake Ricker
The 2022 Lightning prospect showcase has come and gone, providing our first NHL action since June 26. If you missed any of the action, we have you covered as we take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the three games played this past weekend.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Lightning prospects have a tendency to take a lot of penalties during this tournament , and this year was no exception. The Lightning took a total of 17 penalties over all three games, with game two being the worst with seven.
The good news here is that these are all young kids, and adjusting to the NHL level can be difficult. Most of these kids haven't even played with each other, splitting their development time in different leagues (OHL, ECHL, AHL, etc.). Given some time, they should start to adjust and be able to take fewer penalties.
The Lightning do have a tendency to take a lot of penalties even during the regular season, though, so maybe this is actually them fitting right into the system.
Alnefelt played in games one and three of this showcase, and despite letting in seven goals, he made a lot of good saves. Alnefelt had to deal with being on the penalty kill for a majority of his time in game one and was able to fend off a few of the man advantages. Without Alnefelt, the scores could have been much more lopsided.
Alnefelt will be with the Lightning for the start of training camp to give him some more time to improve his game. Alnefelt will likely be splitting time with Maxime Lagacé in Syracuse this year and will look to make a case to be the Lightning backup in 2023-24.
Finley and the rest of the top line (Gabriel Fortier and Gage Goncalves) had a lot of good shifts during the showcase. Finley also scored a goal in the game against Carolina, where he showed off a powerful snapshot that flew by the shoulder of the Florida goaltender. Finley did have a tendency to find himself in the penalty box but overall was able to generate a lot of chances and gave the Lightning a strong net-front presence in each of the three games.
At 6'6'' 220 LB, Finley is a force to be reckoned with. Just 20 years old, Finley has yet to play a game in the AHL but should get that opportunity soon. Look for him to be one of the Lightning's top prospects in the next few years if he can continue his growth.
Robert made turned the most heads at a relatively disappointing showcase, with some even comparing him to a young Yanni Gourde. Robert did score a goal in the first game showcase, and not surprisingly, he did his best Yanni Gourde impression jamming a puck home in front of the net. Robert was credited for multiple impressive shifts by Lightning beat reporters and coaches. He will certainly have some more eyes on him now during training camp.
Robert, who signed with the Lighting as a free agent this offseason, would love to make a quick impression with the coaching staff. He will likely get some time with the Crunch this season, and if all goes well, we could see him move up the ranks quickly.
While there weren't a ton of things to be excited about from the prospect showcase, it is important to remember these are young kids looking to kickstart their NHL careers. Many of them will still have lots of time to learn and improve their game. The good news is we finally got to see some hockey, and now that the showcase is over, it means we are that much closer to regular season hockey.
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