Pete Choquette's blog

2006 NHL Entry Draft Preview: Lightning Strengths, Weaknesses, Tendencies and Philosophies

[i][b]Update 6/21:[/b] I'm going to sticky this at the top of the site until draft day so it doesn't get lost. I'm also going to provide the links to our draft capsules on this page: [url=]Lightning Picks[/url] 1st Rd, 15th Overall: G Riku Helenius, 6'3" 202 lbs, Ilves Jr. (FIN Jr.) 3rd Round, 78th Overall: D Kevin Quick, 6'0" 175 lbs, Salisbury (USHS) 6th Round, 168th Overall: D Dane Crowley, 6'2" 210 lbs, Swift Current (WHL) 7th Round, 198th Overall: LW Denis Kazionov, 6'3" 187 lbs, Tver (RUS2) [url=]Goaltenders[/url] [url=]Defensemen[/url] [url=]Forwards Pt. 1[/url] [url=]Forwards Pt. 2[/url] [url=]Forwards Pt. 3[/url] [url=]Forwards Pt. 4[/url] [url=]Pete's Mock Draft[/url] For those who don't have the time to read the whole article, scroll down to the summary at the end.[/i]

Bachul Deconstructed

After insulting the Lightning organization and fan base by calling [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] "trash" and being made to look the fool by Chad Schnarr for claiming there hasn't been a good 8th round pick in a decade (Ryan Craig anyone?) I decided George Bachul must've had a rough day yesterday. So, rather than simply pick him apart I decided to do the right thing and e-mail him to discuss some of his misguided positions: [b][i]Mr. Bachul, You and I need to have a little chat. -Pete[/i][/b] You see I didn't want to escalate the unpleasantness between our two websites by picking him apart without first giving Bachul the opportunity to explain himself. It only seemed gentlemanly to me. His response? [b][i]Pete, We have nothing to talk about. You have to show professional courtesy to get professional courtesy. George[/i][/b] Uh, George, that WAS your professional courtesy. But because you chose to act more like a petulant little child than someone legitimately interested in an honest discussion/debate about HockeysFuture's painfully terrible coverage and rating of Lightning prospects, you've left me no choice but to deconstruct your strain of misguided posts attempting to justify your organization's extremely poor product. More on the flip:

HockeysFuture's George Bachul Gets Owned

Has there ever been a clearer indication of the stunning level of incompetence of HockeysFuture's writers than today's exchange between Chad Schnarr and HF writer George Bachul on HFBoards? Bachul: [url=]You don't think there is a reason that Keller was an either [i](sic)[/i] rounder? But nice to see you have faith. You know how many impact 8th rounders there have been since 1997? NONE.(Andrew Ference is the best eighth rounder in the last 10 years.)"[/url] Schnarr: [url=]"Well, you could start with the Lightning roster. Ryan Craig had 15 goals in 48 games with limited ice time and nearly singlehandedly turned around the PP. He was an 8th."[/url] Wait, let that sink in. OK, now you know what to do next. Bwuahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! [url=]Owned.[/url]

Evaluating Tampa

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The Tampa Bay Lightning finished 43-33-6 this season with 92 points, eighth in the Eastern Conference and second in the Southeast Division. In 2003-2004, prior to the lockout, the club finished with 3 more wins but 14 more points in the standings. The Lightning's goal production this year actually improved by 7 goals, but their defense declined by a shocking 68 goals (that is not a typo) and the team actually scored 8 less goals than it allowed this season. The most important number though is 15, as in the 15 less playoff games the team won this season after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs 4 games to 1 by the Ottawa Senators.

Evaluating Johnstown

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The Johnstown Chiefs finished 30-26-16 with 76 points in 4th place in the American Conference North Division. After sweeping their playoff play-in round against 5th place Trenton 2-0 they were swept by Toledo in the first round of the playoffs 3-0. The year was a marked improvement over the 2004-2005 season when the Chiefs finished 7th in the North Division, out of the playoffs, with a 22-36-14 record and 58 points. The Chiefs offensive production improved this season by 32 goals while their defense relented 15 less goals.

Evaluating Springfield

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The 2005-2006 Springfield Falcons finished with a 28-48-4-3 record for 65 points, which placed the team 6th in the Atlantic Division and 12th of 13 teams in the Eastern Conference a full 20 points out of a playoff spot. The season was a modest 8 point improvement over last year's team which finished 24-47-3-6 with 57 points. At year's end Head Coach Dirk Graham and Assistant Coach Phil Russell were dismissed from the team.

E-Mail for a Thrashers Homer

To: From: Pete Choquette and the Bolt Staff Subject: Nice Choke Holly, It's hard to believe the Thrashers, with the might of former HF Top-50 Prospect Garnett Exelby and his obvious greatness in the lineup, could choke so hard when the chips were down. Don't worry, there's always the lottery to look forward to determine when the Thrashers will select the next prospect you'll grossly overrate. Of course, on that day, some of the Lightning's prospects (you know, the ones you regularly abuse your position to take a crap on) will still be playing hockey in the playoffs, not that anyone associated with "Blue Land" (they certainly "blue" tonight didn't they?) would know anything about playoffs. Hugs and kisses from your pals, The Bolt Staff

Will the Lightning Attempt to Sign Smaby for the Playoffs?

Here's an interesting question for you Bolt Prospecteers to try and answer that was asked to me by our web guru Tim: North Dakota's season, one way or another, will be over by late Saturday night. Hopefully, on that night, Smaby and his Fighting Sioux will be playing in the national championship game against the winner of Wisconsin and Maine. When it's over, will the Lightning attempt to sign Smaby as their #7 or #8 defenseman going into the playoffs? Considering the meager ice time Timo Helbling and Doug O'Brien have gotten with the Lightning's recent injuries, I wouldn't be surprised if they do.

Return of the HF Hacks

You know its sad when a guy who ran the print magazine version of HockeysFuture into the ground after just 3 issues has more credibility than the current band of hacks that occupy the editorial position at that empty shell of a website. And yet, that's where we are. Shane Malloy has more journalistic credibility than Holly Gunning (HF's online editor) and Ken McKenna (HF's managing editor). How do I know this? Because Shane Malloy [url=]actually did a shred of homework before writing an article about the Lightning organization[/url] and Gunning and company [url=\]clearly didn't.[/url] HockeysFuture released their Spring organizational rankings today, and first let me say it's a really bright thing to release rankings a week and a half into the CHL playoffs. After all, it's not like the postseason is important or anything. Yes Holly, that's sarcasm. In any event, once again the biased HockeysFuture editorial staff and their intrepid band of statistic cut and pasters have pegged the Lightning 30th in the league in terms of prospects. On the eve of the graduation of the third Lightning prospect the club has placed into the NHL this season no less! Gotta give 'em credit for having chutzpah. No clue, but they've definitely got chutzpah.

FoxSports Releases Their Lightning Top-10

A bit of disclosure ahead of time: Chad and I worked for Shane Malloy when he was online editor at HockeysFuture before the print version of HockeysFuture failed and he was deposed by the current regime at that website. To his credit, Malloy dreams big which is why he has since landed gigs with FoxSports, and segment time on XM Center Ice while the folks at HF are still struggling to get articles posted (let alone quality articles). Anyway, he wrote [url=]FoxSports' list of the Lightning's Top-10 prospects.[/url] 1. Stanislav Lascek 2. Vladimir Mihalik 3. Andy Rogers 4. Ryan Craig 5. Radek Smolenak 6. Matt Smaby 7. Paul Ranger 8. Justin Keller 9. Doug O'Brien 10. Gerald Coleman HM: Mike Egener First of all, I don't know if Malloy reads our website, but he's definitely heard our cries about the name obsessed hockey media not recognizing the Lightning are building up quality depth by making good draft picks in the late rounds. It was so nice to read a rankings article from a major media outlet that actually had a clue in that regard. True, he misses the boat with the usual boilerplate line bashing the team's goaltending depth, but this article is a 1000% better reflection of the state of the Lightning's system versus the kind of uninformed drivel you'll find coming out of THN and HF these days. A media organization actually doing some research and arriving at the objective conclusion that the Lightning do indeed deserve some credit; what a concept eh?
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