We've already begun to shift gears at Bolt Prospects into coverage for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by examining organizational strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and philosophies. Today we'll take the next step on the road to June 24th in Vancouver by starting to examining some of the Lightning's potential options at their pick, 15th in the first round.
First up under the microscope are the goaltenders. It should be noted this is generally considered a down year between the pipes for draft prospects with no dominant top tier NHL prospects on the level of recent draftees like Roberto Luongo or Karri Lehtonen or even Rick Dipietro and M.A. Fleury. There is, however, some depth in terms of goaltender in this class if the Lightning choose to wait beyond the first round pick to try and land another goaltending prospect. In studying up on this draft it is clear the Lightning may have the opportunity to grab the first goalie off the board, if they so choose to do so, and it also appears that decision will come down to two prospects: Jonathan Bernier of Lewiston of the QMJHL and Riku Helenius of Ilves Jr. A in Finland. Bolt Prospects rates goaltending as a secondary need in this draft, but if the Lightning feel either player is the best player available at the 15 spot they could and should grab him.
Update 6/21: 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:
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)
For those who don't have the time to read the whole article, scroll down to the summary at the end.
Ok now we have Norrena. does that mean that Burke goes to SF to teach the younger goalies? I think he does, jay offers him a buyout and he goeas to work as a coach to work with Coleman and Boutin. That means we have one more spot open for a goalie. How close is jay to signing Ramo? Is Ramo the real deal? Only time will tell, but it should be an interesting summer. Plus that means we can wheel and deal for a couple of d-men without trading away any of the top 6- I think.
Whatever became of Sheldon Keefe?
If I recall, he was sent to the Rangers back in the day. Is the kid still in hockey?
TBO.com is reporting on their website that the Lightning has signed Junior sniper Justin Keller to a standard three year rookie contract. I'm glad to see this, that the Bolts are moving quickly to get their people under contract. In my opinion signing Keller, Lascek, and resigning Richards were top priorities and I'm glad to see Jay Feaster thought along those same lines. I think the two young junior stars along with the hopefully soon signing of Blair Jones will go along way to securing the future firepower of this organization. Along with the talent the Lightning already have on their roster, these young players, and the crop of talented young defensemen the organization has in it's stable, this should be a good team for years to come.