Jack Finley stands apart among the Tampa Bay Lightning’s prospects — not only because he physically towers over everyone at 6"6.
“Jack is a great player,” Declan McDonnell, Finley’s teammate said. “You know, his size, he competes every night. He’s really smart with the puck. He wants to get better. I can see him being with the Lightning in the next few years.”
The 19-year-old Finley was the Bolts’ second-round draft pick, 57th overall, just a year ago. This week, Finley has been working with the Lightning as they compete in the annual NHL Prospect Showcase with the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Nashville Predators.
“This is a big camp for me because it’s the first real camp I’ve gotten with all the young players, too,” Finley said. “I just want to show everyone why I was a good pick to draft me.”
However, he only played two games with minor league affiliate Syracuse Crunch last season. He spent most of that season, with his junior-level club Spokane Chiefs, off the ice recovering from a shoulder injury. Now that he is healthy, he’s ready to put last year’s season behind him.
“It’s hard for him because he hasn’t played a competitive game in over a year because of the shoulder,” Stacy Roast, Lightning’s director of player development, said.
“At the start of the camp there was more hesitancy,” Finley said. “Today I didn’t feel anything. I’m just trusting my shoulder is healed up. I was throwing my body a bit around today.”
The Lightning prospects finished the Showcase with a 3-0 record. The future is bright for the big league Bolts and Finley.
“He’s going to be a monster,” Roest added. “We’re looking forward to him having a big year. Now, we’ll see what he does in minicamp.”
The Lightning begins training camp on Thursday.