Confirming a report from couple of days ago on redwingscentral.com, the St. Pete Times is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning will return to the annual Red Wings hosted prospects tournament in Traverse City, MI on Sept 11-15. Regular attendees in the past, the previous ownership group of the Lightning suspended the team's involvement in the yearly event. The Lightning will be replacing the Atlanta Thrashers in the 8 team tourney, as former Lightning GM Rick Dudley now at the helm of the Thrashers have withdrawn from involvement this year. It is rumored that between trades made by Dudley and former GM Don Waddell, Atlanta no longer has enough prospects to field a team to participate in the Traverse City event.
The Times also is reporting that all signs point towards Jim Johnson returning to the helm of the Norfolk Admirals next season. The Times quotes Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as saying, "We're on the same page," with regard to Johnson and his continued involvement with the organization. Johnson is currently running the ongoing Development Camp that finishes up Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. with the Young Guns scrimmage, which is free and open to the public.
NORFOLK, Va. â€“ Norfolk Admirals forward and Lightning prospect Martins Karsums has been named to Team Latvia for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Karsums, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound forward from Riga, Latvia, has appeared in 30 games for the Admirals this season and has three goals and 11 points with an even plus/minus rating. Karsums has been heating up of late and shows two goals and six points in his last five games with Norfolk.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned right wing Richard Panik to the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. The Lightning now have 42 players remaining in camp.
Panik, 18, played in two preseason games with the Lightning, recording two shots on goal.
The web site of the Finnish SM-Liiga team Rauma Lukko is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Lauri Tukonen has left the Tampa training camp early and will be arriving back in Rauma on Saturday in time to participate in team drills on Monday. Tukonen, while not yet reassigned to Norfolk, failed to make the team roster for either of the Lightning's first two exhibition games. The Lightning signed the former LA Kings 1st round pick to a one-year, two-way contract on July 16, but his contract reportedly has a European out-clause allowing the winger to return to Lukko instead of reporting to Norfolk.
Open roster slots on the Tampa forward lines are heavily contested and the competition apparently has gotten even tougher with head coach Rick Tocchet quoted as saying today that 2009 1st round pick Carter Ashton "has shown enough that he could stay. He's done everything asked of him." Ashton will make his NHL debut tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers in Tampa's only home pre-season match, and he is expected to start on Tampa's top line alongside Vincent Lecavalier and free agent acquisition Alex Tanguay.
Meanwhile, the Norfolk Admirals have announced that their 2009 training camp will open Wednesday, September 23 with the scheduled Admirals vs. Lightning exhibition match two days later on Friday at the Scope. Admirals GM Mike Butters announced that the following free agents will attend training camp: D Ben Wright, D Trevor Hendrikx, C Ryan McDonald, C Travis Whitehead, former Lightning prospect LW Justin Keller, RW Matt Dias, RW Stephen Werner, RW Erick Lizon, RW Chaz Johnson and RW Tommy Goebel. These free agents will join Lightning prospects Kevin Quick, Scott Jackson, Chris Lawrence, and Mitch Fadden who were assigned to Admirals yesterday from the Tampa training camp. Other Lightning players will join the Admirals camp as the Tampa staff continue to trim down the NHL roster.
The Admirals will hold on-ice practice sessions at The Scope next week. Beginning on Thursday, September 24, all weekday on-ice practices will be open to the public. Wednesdayâ€™s training camp testing sessions and all weekend practices will be closed to the public. The Admiral camp schedule is as follows:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned defensemen Kevin Quick and Scott Jackson along with forwards Chris Lawrence and Mitch Fadden to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. Fadden, a first-year pro and prolific scorer for Tri-City and Lethbridge of the WHL, was thought to have a shot at getting an exhibition game with the Lightning but that will have to wait until the Admirals pre-season begins. Jackson, Quick and Lawrence each spent the majority of last season with the Admirals, with Lawrence begining the final year of his three-year entry level rookie contract this season. With these four assignments, the Lightning reduce the size of their camp roster to 43.
Lightning prospects remaining at the 2009 Lightning training camp include goaltenders Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski; defensemen Victor Hedman, Matt Lashoff, Ty Wishart, and Vladimir Mihalik; forwards Steve Downie, Carter Ashton, Richard Panik, Dana Tyrell, Paul Szczechura, Martins Karsums, Radek Smolenak, Blair Jones, James Wright, Juraj Simek, and Lauri Tukonen.