Highlights from Lightning prospect 3-on-3 tournament
Lightning prospect Jonne Tammela said he really gained confidence near the end of last season, when he got a brief stint at AHL Syracuse.
Tammela, 18, a skilled left wing who had been playing in Finland, quickly felt the pro game fit his style perfectly.
"I felt I had played North American hockey my whole life," Tammela said." It felt so easy to me and natural. I've always been a good skater, the game was faster. It gave me confidence."
That showed at this week's Lightning development camp in Brandon, where Tammela helped lead his Team Killorn to a victory in the 3-on-3 tournament Saturday. Tammela, who had four goals and four assists in the two-day tournament, was joined by Chris Paquette (five goals), Alex Iafallo (four goals), Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton and John MacLeod.
Though Tammela wants to play for Syracuse next season, he's scheduled to play for Peterborough. Stacy Roest, Lightning director of player development, said Tammela, a fourth-rounder last year, used his speeds, smarts and competitivness to create space, but is better suited in larger role.
"He needs to play," Roest said. "It'll be nice to see him play big minutes."
Tammela was far from the only standout this week. Forward Bokondji Imama, a sixth round pick last year, led the tournament with eight goals (10 points); he had seven goals in 48 games for Saint John's (QMJHL) last season. Imama's Team Callahan reached the final before losing to Tammela's Team Killorn.
"He's a hard working, dedicated kid," Roest said. "We gave him some stuff to work on, improved his skating. He's big and strong, needed to work on his skating and stickhandling in tight places. He did a good job with that out there, it was fun to watch."
Imama's teammate, Mathieu Joseph, had a great tournament too with six goals (10 points), including a hat trick in one game.
"I don't know if anyone expected it from us - maybe on paper we weren't the best team put together," Joseph said. "But it was fun to play together."
Joseph, a fourth round pick last season, is coming off a career-high 33 goals (73 points) in 58 games for Saint John. A calf injury cost him in the playoffs.
"It was hard, watching my team play," Joseph said. I thought we could go far. But first round of the playoffs, first shift of the game, it was disappointing.
Mitchell Stephens, the Lightning's top pick last season, also looked really good and poised, feeling more comfortable after a strong season between Saginaw and Syracuse. Adam Erne, the veteran of the prospects, drove the net well, including setting up Cameron Darcy for a highlight-reel goal. Erne, slotted for Syracuse to start the season most likely, said the key for him is being more consistent.
Brayden Point, a top prospect, was already a strong skater, but showed some improvement in that area, including in tight spaces. Point had three goals and five assists in the tournament, and will join Erne in Syracuse this season. Point played nine games for the Crunch late last season and said it was an "eye-opener."
Point's teammate with Moose Jaw, center Brett Howden, was the Lightning's first round pick this year. Point said the Lightning asked for his thoughts on Howden before the draft, and all those qualities he knew about showed up.
"I'm a big fan," Roest said. "He's a big body, you can see he's got some skill, and hockey sense. He's a good prospect."
im a big fan, big body, you can see hes got some skila lnd hocke snse.. good prosepct