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Vladimir Mihalik

The Lightning threw a major curveball with their 30th pick and selected Slovakian defenseman [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect.php?pid=4441]Vladimir Mihalik[/url] despite indications the team was looking for a forward. Mihalik is considered a "Zdeno Chara" type defenseman standing at 6'7" 222 lbs. He is expected to play for Red Deer of the WHL next season where head coach and former Lightning player [url=http://www.reddeerrebels.com/display_story.php?story_id=738]Brent Sutter gives glowing reviews of the blueliner. [/url] McKeen's hockey [url=http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=428608]gives mixed reviews to Mihalik's U-18 performance.[/url]

Feaster Confirms Lightning After Forwards

I hope this puts into perspective a lot of the mock drafts I've seen floating around with the Lightning taking goaltenders or defensemen. [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBGZA7BRBE.html]Jay Feaster confirms in tomorrow's Tampa Tribune column by Erik Erlendsson that the team is looking for scoring forward help.[/url] He says: [i]"As we have assessed where we are in the minors and in the organization, again, the goal-scorers and skilled forwards are the guys we don't have enough of," Feaster said. "We really need to try to focus on some snipers and some guys who can make some plays."[/i]

Commentary: Veteran Mentorship

Let me start this commentary by throwing out some Lightning trivia. Did you know the maximum number of appearances made in an NHL season by a goaltender the Lightning drafted is 16 by Zac Bierk? Did you know that in total goaltenders drafted by the Lightning have made 94 total appearances, 382 less than Nikolai Khabibulin alone? In fact, did you know John Grahame has played in more NHL games (122) than every goaltender drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning combined? This week the Lightning signed goaltenders Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman to entry-level deals in hopes of turning the tide on 13 seasons worth of draft futility between the pipes. Both could have talented careers as pros, but something troubled me this week that I want to talk about. The team has been floating the trial balloon that both goaltenders may split time in the team's ECHL affiliate in Johnstown. Let me explain why I think that trial ballon should be shot down, flogged, lit on fire and then buried.

Draft Order Settled

The NHL has announced that [url=http://www.bostonbruins.com/pressbox/pressreleases.asp?id=1473]the Tampa Bay Lightning will receive an additional 5th round pick as compensation for losing unrestricted free agent Jassen Cullimore to the Chicago Blackhawks[/url]. With that settled, the Lightning hold six picks going into tomorrow's draft which will commence at 12 pm Eastern:

Lightning Acquire Jaspers

The Lightning have announced [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBVPG9TPBE.html]the team has traded veteran center Jarrod Skalde to the Phoenix Coyotes for center Jason Jaspers.[/url] Skalde was one of the free agent flops for the Falcons last season and played just 15 games in a Falcons jersey before being loaned to Phoenix's farm team the Utah Grizzlies in echange for Jason Jaspers being loaned to the Falcons. Yesterday's trade now formalizes each players' place in their respective organizations.
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