Sunday, December 10, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning prospects hope summer on the ice facilitates callups

TAMPA — After the power skating drills were completed Tuesday morning, the Lightning prospects remained on the ice at Brandon's Ice Sports Forum to work on their skating.

How to properly skate, actually. How to be efficient and quick, specifically.

That attention to detail will not only help the players move up and down the ice, it also can help them move from, say, Syracuse to Tampa Bay.

"It's something you're working toward, and that's why you come to things like this, to get closer (to moving up in the organization)," left wing Adam Erne said. "You want to learn as much as you can here. Summer is time to catch up on other guys. They're taking time off, and we're working hard. I use the summer as the time to catch up on guys who are in front of me or have a job that I want to earn."

When asked after the workout what he needs to improve upon, forward Brayden Point said: "Just getting bigger, stronger, faster. Everything, really."

Point, 20, and Erne, 21, could see time with the Lightning next season if the need arises to dip into the depth at AHL Syracuse and if either player is producing at a level that warrants a callup.

This is Erne's fourth time at the Lightning's prospect camp. It's the second go-round for Point.

Erne, the Lightning's second-round pick in the 2013 draft, played in 59 games last season for Syracuse, scoring 14 goals and assisting on 15. At 6 feet 1 and 209 pounds, he offers is a big, physical forward who can skate.

"When Adam is going and playing with power he's a force out there," said Stacy Roest, the Lightning's director of player development. "When he's skating and moving and throwing his weight around, he's a bull. Obviously, we drafted him in the second round because he has a good all-around game. We believe he's going to be a good NHLer for us."

At 5-9 and 156 pounds, Point has the ability to skate through the defense and the grit to battle for pucks along the boards. A third-round pick in 2014, Point played nine games with Syracuse in 2014-15. He spent last season playing for Moose Jaw in the junior Western League, where he recorded 88 points (35 goals, 53 assists) in 48 games, and the Canadian under-20 team, with which he suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month.

"That was too bad because before that, (Point) was playing the best hockey he played," Roest said. "He gets it. He works hard. He's a good teammate. He's a good citizen. He works both ends of the ice. He's starting to win more faceoffs. We're hoping he can be a complete player."

Erne, because of his experience, would appear to be the closer of the two to join the Lightning. How quickly that could happen, Roest said, is hard to predict.

"I thought he made good progress last year," Roest said. "Maybe (he was) a little more consistent, because he did have stretches where he really played well. But he was banged up a little as well. Hopefully he can stay healthy and get a good summer in. And when he goes to (training) camp, we'll see.

"When you go to camp, until they tell you to go down (to the minors), you have a chance to make the team, right? I'm hoping that's the mentality he has. I know he wants to play, so hopefully he comes and has a good camp."

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