According to numerous published reports it appears the Lightning will be cutting 7 players from their roster after Saturday's preseason game against the Caps. Here's my initial thoughts on the seven who will go (subject to change based on performance in the Washington game, of course):
According to TSN.ca, former Lightning goaltender Sean Burke has retired.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting former Bolt Jassen Cullimore has been invited to the Red Wings' training camp. Cullimore and Nolan Pratt were rumored to be a considerations for the Lightning's No.6/7 defenseman spots before Tampa Bay decided they'd let younger players battle it out. There remains/remained a possibility that Pratt or Cullimore could be signed late in camp if none of the youngsters impressed enough to earn a spot.
Also, Jay Feaster's first draft pick as Lightning GM, Adam Henrich, is camping with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Lightning fans who know me know that when it comes to this team's prospects I've been a big booster of the concept of Karri Ramo making it to the NHL sooner rather than later. However, for Ramo to make the team out of camp would be an improbable event because the business side of the game all but precludes it. The Lightning have invested roughly $4 million dollars in the tandem of Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis heading into the 2007-2008 season, and the team learned this summer that Denis is virtually untradable at this point in time after such a poor campaign last season. I won't even attempt to argue for Ramo's promotion to the bigs from a business standpoint, because it doesn't make sense.
But from a hockey standpoint it makes all the sense in the world, and it makes sense on two levels...
Just to throw this out there, on September 21st at 11PM, the UCF Golden Knights will play USF in the season opening game at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland.
It's free for UCF students, 5 dollars for everyone else. If you don't mind being out late and want to watch some hockey, come on out.
For mapquest purposes, the address of RDV is:
8701 Maitland Summit Blvd
Orlando, FL 32810
At the start of the week I blogged about a number of questions about the Lightning's prospects that would begin to be answered at the Traverse City tournament. Unfortunately, half way through the tournament, the early reviews are not good:
Lightning 2007 draft pick Luca Cunti is not likely to play with St. Cloud State University of the WCHA this year. He was recently listed by a SCSU publication as being a commitment for 2008-2009, not this season, and his name was not appearing on the Chicago Steel (USHL) roster. Because of Cunti's late commitment, his arrival at SCSU this year was pending NCAA clearinghouse approval.
A WCHA blogger is now saying he's listed with Chicago, but he may be thinking of the Steel's protected list -- which is true. He's not on the roster on their web site.
We are currently awaiting official word from the Lightning, but at this point it looks as though Cunti will be in Chicago this year and SCSU next year. He could return to Europe this year, but that doesn't appear to be his intention.
Just some quick thoughts of mine going into this week's tournament:
Former Lightning defenseman and unrestricted free agent Luke Richardson has signed with the Ottawa Senators. An Ottawa native, the Ottawa Sun reports it is a one-year deal for $500,000 with a minor league clause. Richardson is expected to be the Senators' seventh defenseman, a role he played with the Lightning last year, appearing in 27 games. He accumulated three assists for Tampa Bay last season.
According to 620 WDAE the Tampa Bay Lightning will hold a press conference at 11 am this morning to announce the sale of the team, the lease rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and the surrounding properties.
New owners Absolute Hockey Enterprises, which includes as many as 10 principle owners, is led by former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean, Coral Springs real estated developer Jeff Sherrin and TV and movie producer Oren Koules.
The group has zero intention of moving the team and while MacLean will be CEO, Jay Feaster will remain general manager and John Tortorella coach.
For more, including news from today's press conference, see the Tampa Tribune.
Kevin Quick had one assist in the first of two intrasquad scrimmage games on Sunday at USA Hockeyâ€™s 2007 National Junior Evalation Camp in Lake Placid. Quick played on the USA Blue team which lost a squeaker to the USA White team 7-6 on Sunday.
USA Blue played USA White again Monday as a warmup prior to games with Finland and Sweden starting Tuesday. Team White beat Team Blue 4-3. The Game Boxscore hasn't been posted yet for the Monday game but you can check out a blog about the game at NHL.com.