Lightning prospects to watch at development camp

Nolan Foote, the newly signed first-round pick, and Gabriel Fortier, last year’s second-round pick, are among the standouts.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Gabriel Fortier (82), seen during a preseason game against Carolina last year, is one of the prospects to watch at development camp, held at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, June 26-29. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Gabriel Fortier (82), seen during a preseason game against Carolina last year, is one of the prospects to watch at development camp, held at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, June 26-29. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Published June 25

TAMPA — The prospects are here. The Lightning’s development camp got underway Tuesday with medical testing and players will hit the ice on Wednesday.

All seven of this year’s draft picks are in attendance, as well as previous picks and six invitees who aren’t part of the organization. On-ice sessions are open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, so who should you be keeping an eye on?

[ MORE LIGHTNING: Who did Tampa Bay take in the draft? ]

Hugo Alnefelt

The Swedish goalie was the first of the Lightning’s two third-round picks on Saturday.

Alnefelt helped Sweden to an under-18 World Championship gold medal this year. He was 5-1 in net with a 2.75 GAA, .905 save percentage and one shutout.

Overall, this past season in the Swedish junior league, the 6-foot-3, 183-pound goalie had a GAA of 2.59 and a save percentage of .904 in 24 games. Alnefelt will likely return to Sweden for the upcoming season.

Nolan Foote

Foote is the Lightning’s first first-round pick in two years (since his brother Cal at 14 overall in 2017). He signed an entry-level contract with the team Tuesday, but will likely slide the contract and return to juniors this season.

The 6-foot-3, 189-pound left wing scored at a nearly point-per-game pace with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL last year. Foote recorded 63 points (36 goals) in 66 games.

Foote’s size was one of his key attributes discussed at the draft. Jon Cooper, who stood above the rest of the Lightning contingent on stage until Foote joined them, likes when a player is taller than him at only 18.

Al Murray, assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting, credited Foote’s “NHL shot” and said he’s a good skater but with room to improve.

[ MORE LIGHTNING: Nolan and Cal Foote always thought it'd be cool to play together in the NHL ]

Gabriel Fortier

Fortier was the Lightning’s highest-drafted player last year, going at 59th overall. He signed an entry-level contract in December.

The forward returned to Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL this past season and racked up 83 points in 68 games, finishing with a point-per-game average of 1.22 (somewhere between what Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos did this year).

Fortier also improved his minus-11 rating from 2017-18 to a plus-41 this season, while the team went from 13th (of 18) in the league the past two years to fourth.

He also played four games with AHL Syracuse once the Drakkar were eliminated from the playoffs, but has not recorded his first pro point.

Matt Greenfield

Greenfield is one of six players invited to the camp without the Lightning holding rights. He is also the only Floridian (hometown listed as Parkland) and, at 24, the oldest player on the roster and one of six goalies.

Greenfield played in the OHL for two seasons and then bounced around two of the lower junior leagues for a season before playing at the University of Calgary.

In 14 games at Calgary this past season, he had a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of .903. Greenfield signed with AHL Springfield at the end of his college season but did not play.

The Lightning is likely taking a look at Greenfield as a possible AHL goalie. Tampa Bay currently only has its two NHL goalies under contract and no one to play in the AHL.

[ MORE LIGHTNING: Tampa Bay announces the 2019-20 regular-season schedule ]

Sammy Walker

The Lightning’s seventh-round pick two years ago comes into camp as the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year.

Walker played high school hockey at Edina in Minnesota, before attending the University of Minnesota.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound center helped the Golden Gophers to third in the regular season and to the Big Ten semifinals. Walker recorded 26 points (10 goals) in 37 games.

Development camp schedule

Players will be split into two groups, which will be on the ice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, one after another. The camp culminates in the annual 3-on-3 tournament Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday: On-ice drills 9:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: On-ice drills 9:45 to 11:30 a.m., 12:15 to 2 p.m.

Friday: On-ice drills 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; 3-on-3 tournament 2 to 4 p.m.

Saturday: On-ice drills 9:15 to 11:30 a.m.; 3-on-3 tournament 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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