New Goalie to Tampa Bay: Peter Budaj was selected 63rd overall in the 2001 NHL draft. Peter is 6-foot-1 and weighs 196 pounds. Peter’s first 3 years he played 133 games for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League. Peter moved on to play 6 seasons for the Colorado Avalanche playing 242 games. Leaving the Avalanche, he moved on to play for the Montreal Canadiens with goaltender Carey Price for 3 seasons until moving to the Los Angeles Kings to play alongside Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Quick. Through his NHL career, Peter has turned into a solid backup goaltender when he is needed at that moment. The playoffs are around the corner for the Bolts, and I think that Peter is the right person to lead them to the promised land. He will lead us as he mentors goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to turn him into a Stanley Cup Champion.
Superstar prospect comes to the Bolts: At 19 years old Erik Cernak gets to wear a Bolts jersey, or you think. Erik right now is playing for the Ontario Hockey League for the Erie Otters. Erik is 6-foot-3 and is 191 pounds. You would think at the trade deadline the Bolts would get a player or two that are already established in the NHL to help climb them up the mountain to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but instead they are looking to see if the new young prospect can make their team in a 5-year window. This 5-year window for him is a longshot. It’s a longshot for him because yes, he did get drafted, but he has never played an NHL game before and sure he will play preseason games for the Bolts in the fall for the next season, but do is he ready for that next step? The next step for him would be to get out of playing Junior and play in the American Hockey League so he can have a different playing experience before he goes into the NHL. Erik is in his development stage now and time will tell down the road if he is ready to make the big step to play in the NHL and Bolt fans will be there ready to cheer him on. Right now, it’s time for him to go to Lightning prospect camps in the summer and impress the Bolts and show them why he was a high draft pick. All eyes will be on Erik Cernak when we see him in Brandon, FL for the Lightning Development Camps.
Playoffs are still in reach for the bolts. While we may already be getting excited for next season, the Bolts need to stay focused and finish this season out strong.