Tampa Bay Lightning
Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers
talked about which players have impressed him here at the Florida Rookie Tournament.
"I've been really impressed with Cory Conacher
(5-foot-8, 180 pounds)," Kurvers said of the training camp invitee. "He has some things small men need to play in the NHL. He has speed, puck skill, hockey sense and determination. When we open training camp he has a pretty good role model to see across our locker room, Marty St. Louis. Lots of under-sized guys have tried to get there (NHL), but not that many have made it, but Marty's been the best ever, perhaps.
"I wasn't familiar with Conacher until this spring and then again at this tournament, but he's made a great impression."
Conacher had 23 goals and 19 assists last season with Canisius College. When his college season ended, he saw time in the AHL with Rochester and Milwaukee, and Cincinnati in the ECHL.
Kurvers also talked about the size of the Lightning squad here, which is noticeably smaller than the opposition they've faced.
"Small teams can beat big teams with structure and synergy, but we really just scrapped a team together and threw them on the ice here," he said. "You'd like to win these games, sure, but there's a lot of things to factor in. Winning the games are secondary to individual performance of our young players -- we're assessing players on an individual basis. GM Steve Yzerman
has been very clear in what we, as an organization, are looking for in hockey players, and hockey sense and competitiveness top the list; not at the expense of size, but when we are looking at potential players, these factors have to be present in order to argue the case for a player.
"Other teams have other criteria -- size is something some other teams may go after first. There are different ways of going after the prize."