Aaron Lobb…. A Big Hit At Camp

By Megan Sexton

Just ask Henrik Bergfors, or anyone else in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s B Camp, for that matter. Nearly all of them have felt the effects of Aaron Lobb’s wrath.

It’s funny: The guy who was highly criticized for his lack of physical play at draft time is by far the most aggressive player in the Lightning’s B Camp. That knock—lack of physical play—was probably a considerable factor in his dropping to the forth round in the draft, though his consistency was also questioned. Whatever the reason, this kid appears to be the complete package, and he was a steal in the late fourth round.

Lobb opened camp with a bang, getting into a scrum with Swedish defenseman Bergfors just minutes into the first scrimmage. Though no punches were thrown before Lobb lost his balance and pulled Berfgors to the ice with him, it showed Lobb’s willingness and ability to handle the rougher side of the game.

Since then, he has thrown his body around at every opportunity—which at 6’4”, 198 is a lot of body to throw around. But, as Lobb says, “It’s just a part of the game.” When a ruckus arises, Lobb is one of the first ones on the scene. “I try to play the power forward role. By being that type of player, it comes with it.”

There is more to Lobb than his punishing hits. He has also impressed with his offensive skills and tremendous attitude, and he has been working hard while in Tampa Bay.

“We have really hard workouts, but the harder it is, the better it is,” he says. Hard does not even begin to describe the regimen that Brad Shaw, who will serve as assistant coach in Springfield this season, is putting the youngsters through. It makes you tired just watching them. The practices, which combine skating, passing and shooting drills, last over an hour and follow a 40-minute scrimmage that opens each practice session. As intense as these practices are, most of the players don’t seem to mind.

“It feels great! It’s really tough, but it gets you in shape for the season,” Lobb explained, and he does have quite a season ahead of him. Following the closure of the B camp on Thursday, Lobb will return to London, Ont. (OHL) to prepare for what could be a very promising season for the Knights. Although the Erie Otters knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs last season, they have a good chance of going much further this time around.

Lobb is expected to play a significant role on the team this season, as they lean heavily on him and linemate Rick Nash, a fan favorite and potential first overall pick next spring, for a good percentage of their offense. Lobb had 50 points in 72 games last season, and could easily surpass that total—especially with Nash centering his line, and given his time on the power play.

“I’m expecting to be a large part of the team. I want to be a leader and hopefully lead the team to a Memorial Cup Championship,” Lobb enthused.

Whether the team makes it to the finals or not, Lobb is sure to be a vital part of their efforts. He looks to be a significant component of Tampa Bay’s future as well. With some further development, he could easily be a top-line power forward in the NHL.