Camp Scrimmage Teams Hint at Organization's Plans

Training camp scrimmage rosters [url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGBHFE1J2SE.html]were released yesterday[/url], and they include some interesting clues as to the organization's plans going into the season. In a surprise to no one, Dimitry Afanasenkov/Brad Richards/Martin St. Louis appear to be a unit headlining Team Black. The Vaclav Prospal/Vincent Lecavalier/Ruslan Fedotenko line remains in tact on Team White, but on the blueline veteran Luke Richardson will play with wildcard free agent signee Andy Delmore. The blueline of Team White also features Bolt Prospects #1 ranked prospect [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url] offering his services in front of young goaltenders [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url] and [url=gerald coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url]. Team Red features what appears to be the team's fourth line candidates with Tim Taylor centering two out of [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url], Rob DiMaio and [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url]. The versatile Tarnasky is listed as a C/RW. Make no bones about it, the fight between Tarnasky, Milley and Nikita Alexeev for two jobs in Tampa may be the fiercest of the camp. Also on Team Red, Auditions for Springfield for [url=stanislav-lascek]Stan Lascek[/url] have him potentially playing on a line with Eric Perrin and [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url]. Team Blue features the team's tentative third line with Andreas Karlsson centering [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] and Nikita Alexeev. Just as interestingly, prospects [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] and [url=zbynek-hrdel]Zbynek Hrdel[/url] get important opportunities to audition for scoring line roles in Springfield centered by free agent signing Eric Healey. Rookie [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo's[/url] first camp will be under the watchful eye of long time NHL vet Sean Burke. Getting the worst end of the initial roster assignments, in my view, are center [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], wingers [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] and [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url] and defenseman [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url]. Jones, who in a perfect world could be challenging for a scoring line role in Springfield, will have to do so centering unsigned draft picks Marek Bartanus and [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url]. Keller, who is looking to pick off a job in Springfield, finds himself in a distincly lesser position than Lascek and Smolenak who get to play with the men presumed to be Springfield's two best centers going into the year. Reid, who has been mentioned as a challenger for a checking line role in Springfield, will have annual malcontent [url=adam-henrich]Adam Henrich[/url] centering him on a mish mosh line with Zdenek Blatny and Keller. Finally, Smaby may be forced to endure his rookie camp paired with an injured [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url].

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Some of my observations...

Both Denis and Holmqvist are the only goalies for their teams. I think it confirms that these guys are the clear #1 and #2. No surprise here. Burke is paired with Ramo. I think Ramo has vaulted over Boutin and Coleman on the depth chart, just as BoltProspects have ranked them. Also, Burke showed up to camp with back spams and is being held out of practices, so Ramo basically has a team of his own. Boutin and Coleman are platooning the fourth team. This is the real battle for #1 in J'town with dibs on first call-up for backup in Springy. Top lines for each of the four teams give indications for what the organization has penciled in for the Bolts. Not many surprises here: Afanasenkov-Richards-St.Louis (BLACK) Prospal-Lecavalier-Fedotenko (WHITE) Craig-Karlsson-Alexeev (BLUE) Milley-Taylor-DiMaio (RED) Team Red will feature some of the fiercest forward competitions in camp, with Milley as the only listed LW'er on RED. Along with Milley, there is Tarnasky (C/W), Perrin (C), Kvapil (RW), and Lascek(RW), and Cavanagh (C) all battling for center and winger spots. I think this is one of the hotbeds for the Springfield battles as the organization is looking for who Perrin's RW'er might be. We see a battle setup between Lascek and Kvapil. Tarnasky is the oraganization's next-in-depth for either Taylor or DiMaio. Team White has an interesting 2nd line of Smolenak-Healy-Hrdel. I'm a bit surprised there's no battle for Hrdel there as I wouldn't have picked him as a Top 2 liner at Springfield, but clearly the organization is thinking in that direction. Team Blue has the fewest "battles" setup. No battle for Karlsson at center. His position in Tampa seems a done deal. Minor battle setup for Alexeev with Reid at RW, but the organization seem IMO to have Alexeev's position on Tampa's third line neatly wrapped up and tied. Defensive pairings have Ranger and Boyle together on Blue, and Sarich and Pratt together on Red. With the exception of Egener, the rest of the blueline on Red and Blue will consist of unsigned prospects and camp FA invitees. Filip Kuba (Black) is setup as the partner for a big battle between Janik, O'Brien, and Rogers -- three of the organization top defensive prospect. Invitees Crowley and Waugh will also get a little time to show. Like Pete said above, Luke Richardson (White) is setup as the partner for Delmore, Delmore has a chance to see how he plays with the stay-at-homer Richardson in an obvious test to see if Delmore can make the big club. Smaby will get some time to anchor a 2nd pairing for White with Rosehill and invitee Barthel. Comments welcome...

I'd Just Like to Reiterate

I think Blair Jones is getting the shaft.

please elaborate

Could you please elaborate on the comment cause i agree with you. After what he did in the playoffs last year and in the regular season for moose jaw and his solid play in traverse city i thikn the lightining need to take a good look at him during camp. This kid is gonna be big .

They Appear to Be Marginalizing Him

It could be that they want him on the same team as Richards, but he's in competition for a spot in the AHL and on a scoring line if he makes the AHL. Two of his biggest competitors for a job (Smolenak and Lascek) are getting to play with top line Springfield bound talent. He, on the other hand, has to play with Bartanus and Lawrence. Not the same.

Bound for Johnstown

Could be a move by Feaster to remind the young Jones of his place in the organization given the controversy during his contract negotiations. Could be he gets some shifts with Affy and MSL. As Pete implied, it could be that the organization wants him to get some mentoring by Richards. Could be the organization already has him firmly placed a J'town, and they are more interested in "bubble" players. If the organization is set on starting the season with Milley in Tampa, then Springy might be going with Perrin-Healy-Tarnasky-Cavanaugh down the middle, which leave Jones to develop as a top line center for the Chiefs. While I think all are partially true, I believe the latter to be mostly what is going on.

Maybe we'll see what kind of competitor he is

The best thing would be fore him to feel shafted and go do something about it. Or, were these rosters put together after the first day of conditioning? The local news reports, indicated Tort's didn't name names, but he expressed displeasure on some people's conditioning. Could Milley's spot be a reward or did someone else loose it?

Ahead of Time

I believe these rosters came out just before camp started.

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