Bolts at World Championships

This week it was announced Lightning prospect and Norfolk Admiral Richard Panik will represent Slovakia at the 2010 World Hockey Championship being held May 7-23 in Germany, reports the Belleville Bulls, Panik's former OHL team. Panik previously represented Slovakia at the past two World Junior Hockey Championships.

Fellow Lightning prospect and Norfolk Admiral Vladimir Mihalik is also suiting up for Slovakia, who lost 2-0 to Latvia in exhibition play earlier this week. Lightning property Martins Karsums scored for Latvia.

Panik led Slovakia in scoring at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship with six goals and two assists in six games played. At the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship, Panik recorded two goals and five points in seven games played. He also led Slovakia in scoring at the 2008 World Under 18 Hockey Championship.

Panik was acquired by the Bulls in January in a trade with the Windsor Spitfires. In 27 games played with Belleville, Panik scored 12 times while adding 11 assists and 36 penalty minutes. Following the conclusion of his season with the Bulls, Panik joined the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals where he earned one assist in five games played.

The Martin, Slovakia native was selected in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Lightning representatives at the 2010 World Championships include:

Kirill Gotovets, D, Belarus
Steven Stamkos, C, Canada
Steve Downie, W, Canada
Martins Karsums, W, Latvia
Vasily Koshechkin, G, Russia
Vladimir Mihalik, D, Slovakia
Richard Panik, C/W, Slovakia
Johan Harju, C/W, Sweden
Victor Hedman, D, Sweden
Mike Lundin, D, USA

Players to watch:

Nino Neiderreiter, W, Switzerland: A strong possibility for the Lightning at No.6 in this summer's NHL draft.
Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev, W, Kazakhstan: Rumors have linked the 26 year-old to the Lightning. Could be a free agent signing.

Former Lightning draft picks in the tournament:

Evgeni Artyukhin, W, Russia
Marek Kvapil, W, Czech Republic
Ilya Solarev, W, Kazakhstan
Alexander Svitov, C, Russia