For Fadden, Time Is Now
For Mitch Fadden, September will be the month that decides where he spends the next year. As the Lethbridge training camp begins, Tampa's 2007 4th round pick is still without a pro contract from the Lightning. After attending the Bolt's Prospect Camp in Victoria, BC last month, the Lightning still want to see more of Fadden before making a decision on where he spends the 2008-09 season.
In talking with the Lethbridge Herald, the WHL's sixth leading scorer was upbeat about the start of the Hurricane's camp, â€œItâ€™s business as usual, everyone is excited to get back on the ice and weâ€™re ready to start the season.â€
But Fadden also looks forward to attending the Lightning camp in a few weeks. â€œI donâ€™t know if I have any expectations, Iâ€™m just going to go there and play my best game and leave it up for them to decide.â€ If things donâ€™t work out at the Lightning camp, Fadden said heâ€™s more than happy to play another year in Lethbridge. â€œIf I get to come back here I am going to be so fortunate and so happy. Last year we had such a good season, it kind of ended in not a good way, but we have a good chance to go all the way this year.â€
After a summer spending and signing spree by the Lightning's new ownership group that are committed to rebuilding both the Bolts and their AHL affiliate in Norfolk, roster spots for centermen are scarce. The organizational depth chart down the middle includes veterans Vincent Lecavalier, Jeff Halpern, Chris Gratton, and Wyatt Smith. Bolt prospects Steven Stamkos, Blair Jones, and Paul Szczechura along with Norfolk signees Bracken Kearns and Pete Zingoni means that training camp in Tampa and Norfolk will be very competitive for a player needing to earn a contract to avoid being sent back to juniors.
Fadden, as an overager, would have little left to prove developmentally from another year in juniors leading the Hurricane's offense, and with four overagers competing at the Lethbridge camp for only three slots, Fadden could find himself traded to a non-contender looking to rebuild. If Fadden has to wait until next spring to for a pro contract, the competition will get no easier with center prospects Luca Cunti, James Wright, and Alex Killorn beginning to get looks for a contract. For Fadden, the time is now to make the most of his opportunity and earn an entry level contract.