Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning looking for growth from prospects in early preseason contests

In the first four games of the preseason, Lightning coach Jon Cooper wants to see how prospects have developed.
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper gives direction during drills on the first day on the ice at the beginning of training camp. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 17
Updated Sep. 18

BRANDON — The early Lightning preseason lineup featured veterans like Ryan McDonagh and fan-favorite Steven Stamkos, but coach Jon Cooper wants to focus on some of the younger organizational talent in the first exhibition games of the year.

When looking at young prospects, even those not necessarily up for a spot on the NHL roster, the Lightning coach evaluates players on a case-by-case basis. From the most recent class of draftees, the group selected in June, Cooper wants to see what kind of talent the Lightning have.

“You’re kind of getting your first look at them,” Cooper said of the Lightning’s 2019 draft class. “Now you have a baseline for them.”

The Lightning selected seven players in the June draft, including first-round pick Nolan Foote, but none of those newcomers appeared in Tuesday night’s preseason opener against Carolina. They are likely to appear at some point in the Lightning’s three remaining preseason games this week.

RELATED: Please hold for the holdout. This Brayden Point contract will get done.

When it comes to older prospects or players pushing for a roster spot, Cooper hopes to see growth on the ice.

“We’re looking for progress,” Cooper said. “So far in practices, we’ve seen that."

Rarely has Cooper seen a whole team come into camp in as good of shape as this year’s Lightning.

One player looking for a more secure spot is Danick Martel. The 24-year-old forward made his Lightning debut a season ago, but as the 14th forward on the roster, he only appeared in nine NHL games.

“He had every opportunity to sulk and not like the situation he was in, and all he did was work,” Cooper said. “He’s had a full year with us, and now we’re going to get to see him with a little bit of playing time in the preseason.”

Martel lined up with forwards Ross Colton and Alex Barre-Boulet in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Carolina, and Cooper said he was one of the players who “had his legs” on Tuesday.

“I think my role this year will be to skate hard, finish my hits, play good on the (penalty kill),” Martel said.

RELATED: Join our Lightning Strikes! Facebook group for conversation, polls, story links and more

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Lightning's Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson (9) are stifled by Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) during the first period of Saturday's game against Colorado. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa Bay is looking to string more wins together, starting with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  3. New Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk hopes to rebound from a disappointing two-year stint with the Rangers. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Like Tampa Bay, the former Ranger has something to prove this season | Martin Fennelly
  4. After Colorado's 6-2 whitewash on Saturday left goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning looking for answers, the Bolts had a spirited practice at Amalie Arena on Sunday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Defenseman Ryan McDonagh says the team has failed to meet expectations in this early stage of the season
  5. Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) tussle behind the Colorado net during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    Tampa Bay racks up 18 penalty minutes in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Colorado.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) is beaten (again) by Colorado Avalanche center Tyson Jost (17) for the go-ahead goal (2-1) during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Little goes right for Tampa Bay, which is dominated by Colorado.
  7. The Tampa Bay Lightning's alternate jerseys hang in the locker room last season. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The “Disrupt the Night”-themed jerseys were a bone of contention among some fans and broadcasters last season because of illegible numbers.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) scores against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) in a shootout on Oct. 17 in Boston. The Lightning won 4-3. ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    Journal: Tampa Bay will spend three games at home before another extended stint on the road, and tonight’s post-game concert is moving inside.
  9. Former Lightning wing Ryan Callahan's debut as an NHL Network analyst is drawing positive reviews. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Slap Shots: And we answer this week’s reader’s question: Why doesn’t Victor Hedman play more minutes, like other No. 1 defensemen?
  10. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with teammates after he scored in overtime of the team's NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Sunrise, Fla. The Avalanche won 5-4. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    Now the Avalanche head to Amalie Arena for a showdown with the Lightning on Saturday.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement