Four former Solar Bears among Lightning prospect camp roster
Four former Orlando Solar Bears players are on the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect camp, which opens Tuesday at Amalie Arena, and leads into the 2021 NHL Prospect Showcase, which will be held September 18-21 at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel.
The Lightning prospects will face the following teams in the prospect showcase (all games will be streamed on the Lightning website):
- Saturday, September 18 – vs. Nashville at 2 p.m.
- Sunday, September 19 – vs. Carolina at 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 21 – vs. Florida Panthers at 1 p.m.
The former Solar Bears are:
F – Jimmy Huntington: Huntington has tallied 12 points (5g-7a) in 17 total games with Orlando over the last two seasons, while also seeing significant playing time in the American Hockey Leauge with the Syracuse Crunch. Huntington enters the 2021-22 season in the final year of his entry-level deal signed as an undrafted free agent on March 1, 2019.
F – Alexey Lipanov: Lipanov has 20 points (10g-10a) in 41 career games with Orlando split between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. He spent last season loaned to Russian club Dynamo Balashikha in the VHL, the AHL-equivalent league that feeds the Kontinental Hockey League. Lipanov enters the 2021-22 season in the final year of his entry-level deal signed on September 28, 2017 after being taken by the Lightning in the third round of that year’s NHL draft.
D – Alex Green: Green began his professional career last season assigned to the Solar Bears, recording two points (1g-1a) in five games with Orlando before the AHL season got underway, where he spent the remainder of the campaign with Syracuse, putting up nine points (1g-8a) in 26 games. Tampa Bay’s fourth-round selection in the 2018 draft enters the final year of a two-year entry-level contract signed on September 9, 2020.
D – Dmitry Semykin: A third-round pick of the Lightning in 2018, Semykin made his North American professional debut last season with the Solar Bears. Semykin went without a point in 19 games with Orlando, but racked up 26 penalty minutes. In the AHL with the Crunch, Semykin added a goal and two assists in nine games. He enters the second season of his three-year entry-level contract signed on May 7, 2020.
Also of note are a few players attending Lightning prospect camp who could find their way to the Solar Bears this season:
G – Amir Miftakhov: The Russian goaltender was identified by Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois earlier this summer as a player who would likely be assigned to Orlando as he begins the North American phase of his professional career. Miftakhov already has high-level experience under his belt with nine games in the KHL, and posted a .917 save percentage this past season in what is arguably the second-best league in the world. This will be the first season of Miftakhov’s three-year entry-level contract signed on May 3, 2021.
F – Shawn Element (Invitee; AHL contract): Since the Solar Bears/Lightning affiliation began in the 2018-19 season, the Lightning have historically loaned the majority of players they have signed to AHL contracts to the Solar Bears. If history is an indication, then it’s a good possibility that Element – who signed a two-year AHL contract this past May – could see some time in Orlando this season. Element put up 170 points (89g-81a) in 274 games in the QMJHL, and helped the Victoriaville Tigres capture the 2021 President’s Cup championship.
D – Ryan Jones (Invitee; AHL contract): Like Element, Jones was signed this summer to an AHL deal, so while his organizational ceiling at this point is Syracuse, the blueliner could also find his way to Orlando. The 25-year-old Jones made his pro debut last season in 29 AHL games with the Rochester Americans, putting up seven points (1g-6a).
There is also some local flair present in St. Pete Beach/Clearwater native Avery Winslow, another camp invitee, who at 19 years of age appears destined to returned to his junior club, the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. But it is still always nice to see some Sunshine State representation at Lightning prospect camp.