In Prospect Profiles, we’ll take a look at a Lightning prospect and introduce you to them. These players represent the possible future of the Lightning. If you’re interested in seeing into the future, then this is for you.
Name: Brayden Point
Weight: 160 pounds
Junior Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
2016-17 Team: Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Acquired: 2014 Draft, 3rd Round, 79th overall
Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects in the system right now, Brayden Point is an offensive force and point machine. As you can see by his height and weight, he is a small guy. Don’t let his size fool you though. He has speed to burn, filthy hands, high hockey IQ, and a high compete level. He has leadership experience as he has been the Captain of Moose Jaw for the past two seasons after a season as an Alternate. He also was selected to be Captain of the 2015-16 U20 World Junior Championship (WJC) team for Canada in his second trip to the tournament.
In his WHL career, Point averaged 1.29 points per game. His top point production season was his draft year of 2013-14 with 91 points. The following two seasons, he only hit 87 and 88 points, but did that in 60 and 48 games respectively. Last season, he missed time due to the WJC and more time due to several injuries. Despite the missed time, he still posted a whopping 1.83 points per game. In the WJC, he had 5 points in 5 games while Canada failed to medal and had the best faceoff percentage in the tournament.
In 2014-15, Point made his debut with the Syracuse Crunch after Moose Jaw failed to make the playoffs. He had 4 points in 9 games and was pointless in 2 playoff games. Moose Jaw was better in 2015-16 and made it to the second round of the playoffs. With Syracuse failing to advance into the playoffs, Point did not join the Crunch. However, he was added to the Black Aces roster of prospects and depth players that practiced in Tampa during the NHL playoffs.
For 2016-17, Point is now eligible to play in the AHL full time. Tampa Bay has added a number of veteran AHL free agent forwards. However, they are mostly wingers with only Gabriel Dumont having been a true center in the past. Point will likely slot in as the 2nd or 3rd center behind Matthew Peca and Tanner Richard. Some potential linemates for Point could include Adam Erne, Mike Halmo, Michael Bournival, and Tye McGinn. With his smaller size, I expect that he’ll be paired with at least one winger with size.
Point’s upside projection is as a Tyler Johnson clone: a second line center with offensive upside and solid two-way play. He could end up being better on faceoffs than Johnson. He has the speed and tenacity to be an effective fore checker and will need to add weight to his frame to stand up to the rigors of pro hockey and to win battles along the boards.
His defensive game will need to improve for him to make it into the NHL. With Tyler Johnson though, he has a clear road map of what it will take for him to make it in the NHL. Even if Point ends up as a 3rd line center that wins faceoffs, his selection in the draft would still be considered a success as a 3rd rounder.