BRANDON — Grant Mismash wasn’t anticipating a development camp spot with the Lightning this time last month.
But everything changed when he found himself on the other end of the Ryan McDonagh trade at the beginning of July that sent the former Lightning defenseman to the Predators in exchange for Mismash (who spent the 2021-22 season with AHL Milwaukee) and defenseman Philippe Myers.
“It was a bit of a surprise, honestly,” Mismash said. “...I’m excited to get going with this organization.”
Mismash, 23, was one of 32 players trying to leave coaches and front-office staffs for the Lightning and AHL Syracuse with a good impression after four days of development camp, which concluded Thursday with a three-on-three tournament.
“He’s a good skater, very competitive, quick learner and very appreciative of the opportunity with the organization,” Lightning assistant general manager and AHL Syracuse GM Stacy Roest said. “And it looks like he’s going to be a good player for us.”
Mismash was pleased with feedback from coaches on playmaking and his skating, too.
“It seems like the skills coaches have it down to a tee, and it seems like they have the development side down really good here,” he said. “As a young 20-year-old, that’s all I can really ask for…”
With the Admirals, Mismash totaled 12 points (six goals) in 57 games. He felt that as the season continued, his confidence grew and he was able to find his game, especially getting to know some of the older players around the organization.
“Just talking to older guys, guys who have been through it, they’ll give you advice and tell you straight-up how it is,” he said. “Just kind of picking their brains and just trying to be a sponge, honestly, is kind of what I did last year…learning every day was all I could do.”
Tournament returns after hiatus
There was an added energy to the Lightning’s three-on-three tournament this week.
With a two-year camp hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prospects spent four days working with the organization’s coaches and trainers. Camp ended with a two-day tournament featuring five smaller teams before Thursday’s championship game.
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Team Blue, which featured veteran prospects such as defenseman Nick Perbix and forward Gage Goncalves, defeated Team White 9-8 in a goal-scoring affair to cap off the week. The final game was fast-paced as the teams played on the full stretch of ice for two 25-minute, running-clock periods.
Trailing by one, Team White nearly tied it in the last 30 seconds of regulation after official J.P. Cote, the Lightning’s director of player development, awarded a penalty shot to Team White’s Bennett MacArthur, who missed wide of the net on goaltender Nick Malik.
“I figured they were looking for one to maybe make it interesting at the end,” joked Team Blue’s Jack Thompson, who scored in Thursday’s championship game.
Throughout the week, the camp broke players up into small groups, which worked with Lightning and AHL Syracuse coaching staffs as well as skating coaches Barb Underhill and Tracy Tutton. The camp’s format gave players more one-on-one time with instructors and allowed for more feedback, especially for this year’s draftees.
Overall, Roest said he was pleased with the group’s work, especially the way the teams stayed competitive throughout the tournament.
“I thought it was a really good week,” Roest said. “You could see how much fun the players had, and for us, too. … They were so excited and eager.”
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