Talk Lightning Hockey with fans and staff at the BP Message Boards and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Cunti on College, the CHL, and Possibly Turning Pro (Updated)

In a USCHO feature yesterday, Lightning third round pick Luca Cunti gave his thoughts on where in North America he could possibly be playing next year.

As of right now, most signs point to college.

"I need some education," Cunti told USCHO. "I am talking to St. Cloud and Clarkson and a few others, but these two are now the most important. I just want to have some school, so I am thinking of school now."

Unless, of course, he's offered a pro deal.

Cunti said he'd know within two weeks which way he'll go, because "It depends on what [Tampa Bay] will offer me."

In and Out

Erik Erlendsson blogs on who the Lightning will and won't qualify before July 1st according to Jay Feaster. Note: this isn't a complete list.

IN: Paul Ranger, Ryan Craig, Karl Stewart, Mike Egener, Mitch Fritz

OUT: Doug Janik, Brady Greco, John Toffey, Morgan Cey, Adam Henrich

Analysis on the flip.

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Analysis

Entering the draft the Lightning's prospects of filling their organizational needs at forward looked so bleak the local media was printing stories that were already ratcheting down expectations. The team had no first round pick. It might not have had a second round pick if the Panthers had exercised the option they gained in the Chris Gratton trade. 2007 looked like a throwaway draft. Yet for some strange reason I actually had a good feeling about this draft because there were parallels to the 2002 draft. You'll recall in 2002, Jay Feaster's first draft as the head of the Bolts, the team dealt off its #4 overall pick in the controversial Ruslan Fedotenko deal and then dealt off a second round pick for defenseman Brad Lukowich leaving the team with a lone second round pick as their only selection in the first three rounds. And, like this year's draft, 2002 was panned as a poor draft class with the exception of the first 4 or 5 picks.

2002 was the finest hour of the Lightning's scouts during the Jay Feaster era even despite stubbing their toe with Adam Henrich with their first selection. They succeeded by outworking the rest of the league that day. Most of the other scouting staffs in the NHL were so sour on that draft class they didn't even want to deal with the later rounds of the draft. Carolina practically gave away a bundle of picks to the Lightning because there were no more players they wanted left on their list. And so the much maligned Lightning scouting staff crafted a working man's masterpiece almost entirely from round six on: Paul Ranger, Fredrik Norrena and Ryan Craig are all NHL regulars. Darren Reid has seen time in the league each of the last two seasons. Vasily Koshechkin is considered perhaps the best goaltending prospect in all of Russia. The team thought outside the box. They took overagers (Craig). They turned over rocks to find players (Koshechkin). They gambled on players who might not have played much during the year but had the skills and upside to warrant taking a flyer (Ranger). They haven't had a draft that good since.

Something about the challenge of making something out of nothing makes this Lightning staff rise to the occassion, and while I can't guarantee that the 2007 draft will pan out as well as that 2002 draft, there's reason to be very optimistic. The philosophy was different for this draft, but the work ethic wasn't and when Ottawa practically gave away a bundle of three picks for a spare 4th round pick today the comparisons to 2002 became even stronger. I liked what I saw today.

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Complete

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Picks

First Round
NONE

Second Round
#47 Overall
C/RW Dana Tyrell, 5'10" 185 lbs, Prince George (WHL)

Third Round
#75 Overall
LW Luca Cunti, 6'0" 185 lbs, GCK (SUI NLB)

#77 Overall
C Alexander Killorn, 6'0" 161 lbs, Deerfield (USHS)

Fourth Round
#107 Overall
C Mitch Fadden, 6'0" 174 lbs, Lethbridge (WHL)

Fifth Round
#150 Overall*
C/RW Matt Marshall, 6'1" 175 lbs, Nobles (USHS)

Sixth Round
#167 Overall
LW/C Johan Harju, 6'3" 205 lbs, Lulea (SWE)

Seventh Round
#183 Overall*
G Torrie Jung, 6'1" 170 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)

#197 Overall
D Michael Ward, 6'2" 180 lbs, Lewiston (QMJHL)

#210 Overall*
LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)

*=Lightning trade Dallas' 4th round pick (acquired in the Darryl Sydor trade) to Ottawa in exchange for picks #150, #183 and #210.

For Head Scout Jake Goertzen's comments on each pick, see the Tampa Tribune review.

7th Round, #210 Overall, Justin Courtnall

With their final selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the 7th round, #210 overall, acquired from Ottawa, the Lightning select:

LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)
53 GP, 5-9-14, 69 PIM

Justin is the son of former NHL player Geoff Courtnall and nephew of former NHLer Russ Courtnall. Was drafted by Kelowna in the 11th round of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft but has elected to stay in high school and pursue the college route. He was loaned to Burnaby by Victoria last season where he put up modest numbers. Is considered to be a good skater with good hands, but his numbers don't reflect it. Will play for Victoria in the BCHL next season. No word on his college options at this time.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #181 (North American Skaters)

Syndicate content