Everett Silvertips defenseman Dane Crowley was not taken by the Edmonton Oil Kings in Tuesday's WHL expansion draft. The Everett Daily Herald had speculated early Tuesday that Crowley may be left unprotected. Tips General Manager Doug Soetaert was debating over whether to protect his potential professionals - Phoenix first rounder Peter Mueller and Crowley. Mueller, who signed an NHL contract last fall, can only play in the NHL with Phoenix or in the WHL - so he was to be protected. The paper considered Crowley an "even-odds bet to play professionally" next year. At 20 years of age, Crowley can play in the minor leagues.
Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster told Bolt Prospects last week that the club is taking a wait-and-see approach with Crowley before offering him one of the team's guarded 50-man organizational roster spots. Since Crowley can play in the minors, it is likely he could sign a minor league deal with Norfolk and play next season contracted with the Admirals and play in either Virginia or the ECHL. Considering the Lightning's defensive depth on the farm, Crowley may be ticketed for the ECHL. Crowley certainly has the option to return to the WHL next year if he doesn't sign an NHL contract and isn't content with the AHL/ECHL situation. The Lightning retains his rights until next June regardless.
Beech, a 2005 sixth round pick, began the year as Sudbury's No.1 goaltender but due to inconsistency issues was dealt mid-season to last-place Erie. The fact that the Wolves felt the need to trade him was disastrous for Beech on many levels. While Beech was getting shelled every night in Erie, Sudbury was securing a playoff birth and went all the way to the OHL Finals. Had he been able to play well enough to hold onto the No.1 in Sudbury, his career outlook could look much different. Beech finished the year with a combined record of 19-29-2-4 with a 3.92 GAA and .891 sv%. He did earn a tryout contract from Springfield, where he performed fairly well, posting a 3.13 GAA and a .903 sv% to go with an 0-3 record.
Bartanus' year was perhaps even more disappointing. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, the 6-3 winger came to the OHL and didn't make his mark until the 2006 playoffs, where he helped Owen Sound to a first round upset victory over Kitchener. After only 19 points in 49 regular season games, Bartanus had 6 in 10 playoff games and was beginning to finally show his promise.
Though he started this season off well, he finished with just 20 points in 57 games and his season included prolonged streaks without points. He played for Slovakia at the WJCs and showed good energy, but the book on him will be his inconsistent effort and lack of production.
Finally, congrats to the Vancouver Giants, who won the 2007 Memorial Cup. Vancouver eliminated Vladimir Mihalik and the Prince George Cougars in the WHL Western Conference Finals. Vancouver, the Cup hosts, defeated WHL Champion Medicine Hat 3-1 on May 27 to win the Memorial Cup tournament. Medicine Hat had defeated Vancouver in 7 games to win the WHL Championship earlier in the May. The Plymouth Whalers represented the OHL and Lewiston MAINEiacs the QMJHL at the Memorial Cup.