With an emphasis on drafting and developing, the Tampa Bay Lightning have created one of the strongest pipelines in the National Hockey League over the last few years. Each week, TampaBayLightning.com will provide statistical updates on key prospects throughout the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and will highlight select players from the club's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Beginning this week, coverage will focus exclusively on the 2017 Memorial Cup and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Memorial Cup is awarded annually to the Canadian Hockey League champion and is a round-robin tournament comprised of four teams: the OHL regular season champion, the QMJHL regular season champion, the WHL regular season champion, and a host team that cycles each year among the three leagues.
This year, the Erie Otters (OHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), and the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) will compete in Windsor at the WFCU Centre from May 19-28. The Lightning will have five prospects in the tournament.
Game schedule (all times Eastern)
Game 1: Friday, May 19 | Saint John vs. Windsor, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, May 20 | Erie vs. Seattle, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, May 21 | Windsor vs. Seattle, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Monday, May 22 | Erie vs. Saint John, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Tuesday, May 23 | Seattle vs. Saint John, 7 p.m.
Game 6: Wednesday, May 24 | Windsor vs. Erie, 7 p.m.
Tiebreaker (if necessary): Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m.
Semifinal: Friday, May 26, 7 p.m.
Final: Sunday, May 28, 7 p.m.
D Erik Cernak, Erie Otters
Drafted 43rd overall (2nd Round) by LAK in 2015
Through 22 playoff games in the OHL, Cernak posted a goal and eight assists to set career OHL playoff highs in goals, assists, and points.
C Anthony Cirelli, Erie Otters
Drafted 72nd overall (3rd Round) in 2015
Cirelli is carrying a nine-game point streak into the Memorial Cup, and finished Erie's OHL championship season with 31 points in 22 games. He led his team in goals (15) and power-play goals (7). This is Cirelli's second OHL championship and second trip to the Memorial Cup in his CHL career, having won both in 2015 as a member of the Oshawa Generals. His overtime game-winner on the power play clinched the OHL's J. Ross Robertson Cup for the Otters.
RW Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters
Drafted 58th overall (2nd Round) in 2016
With a hat trick in the championship-clinching Game 5, Raddysh finished out the OHL playoffs with 31 points in 22 games. Nine of those games saw him record multi-point nights, and he ranks top five OHL-wide in points and assists.
LW Boko Imama, Saint John Sea Dogs
Drafted 180th overall (6th Round) in 2015
Finishing sixth in overall team scoring with 15 points in 18 games, Imama set QMJHL career highs in the playoffs in goals (8), assists, (7), and points.
RW Mathieu Joseph, Saint John Sea Dogs
Drafted 120th overall (4th Round) in 2015
With a four-assist effort in the championship-clinching game, Joseph helped guide his Sea Dogs to the QMJHL's President's Cup, the third in Saint John club history. He finished their playoff season with 32 points in 18 games, leading his team in goals (13), assists (19), and power-play assists (8). He enters the Memorial Cup on a five-game point streak, and leads the QMJHL in points and assists and is second overall in goals.
With a decisive 5-1 win in Game 5 at home on Saturday, the Crunch regained the lead and control the series 3-2 heading into tonight's Game 6 in Toronto … Captain Erik Condra leads the team in points (10) and is tied for the team lead in goals (4) with Joel Vermin … Through nine games, Mike McKenna is 6-3 with a 2.60 goals-against and a .903 save percentage.