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Marek Bartanus

With the 91st pick the Lightning selected RW [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/marek_bartanus]Marek Bartanus[/url] of Kosice Jr. in the Slovakian league. Much like Smolenak, Bartanus has good size at 6'3" 194 lbs. and skates very well. He also has a ton of skill. At the urging of his father, who is an NHL agent, Bartanus will play for Owen Sound of the OHL next season. [url=http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=80822]Bartanus notched 14 goals and 28 points along with 99 PIMs and a +35 rating in 34 games for Kosice's J-20 team last season[/url] before being promoted to the Slovak Extraliga. There, he notched just 2 goals and 3 points in 24 games in the men's league.

Radek Smolenak

The Lightning have completed a trade with the San Jose Sharks to get into the 3rd round and have selected LW [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/radek_smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] of Kingston of the OHL. At 6'3" 180 lbs. Smolenak fits the Lightning mold of players with good size who skate well. He played all season on Kingston's top line putting up 32 goals and 60 points in 68 regular season games. Smolenak is painfully streaky but he is considered to have some of the best goalscoring ability in this draft, a much needed component for the Lightning.

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.
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