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Boutin/Hrdel Sign

As expected, [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1099&category=3]the Lightning have announced the signing of G Jonathan Boutin and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel to three year standard entry level deals.[/url] Boutin will now battle with [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/145]yesterday's signee Gerald Coleman[/url] to see which prospect be next in line behind Brian Eklund. Hrdel adds some desperately needed potential scoring punch to a Lightning organization which is extremely threadbare for skill at the forward position at the minor and junior level.

McKeen's Mock and Small Player Slippage

[url=http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/draft.asp?Draft=52]McKeen's hockey has released their mock draft[/url] and has Swedish winger [url=http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=2045] Nicklas Bergfors[/url] falling to the Lightning's pick at #30. A tip of the hat to Johan Nilsson of [url=http://www.eliteprospects.com/]Eliteprospects.com[/url]. Bergfors, the brother of Lightning prospect Henrik Bergfors, is slated to come to North America as an import to play in the QMJHL next season. While I don't necessarily see Bergfors, the top Swedish born prospect in this draft, falling all the way to 30 this mock is far more realistic with regard to the Lightning's pick than [url=http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/3821944]FoxSport's[/url], [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=7795]Hockeysfuture's[/url] and even [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/draft/feature.asp?fid=7065]TSN's [/url]which have the Lightning selecting D Risto Korhonen, G Alexandre Vincent and G Ondrej Pavelec respectively.

Coleman Signs

[url=http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/3833156] The Associated Press and FoxSports.com are reporting the Lightning have signed prospect goaltender Gerald Coleman [/url] to a standard three year entry-level contract. The Lightning have yet to issue a press release on Coleman's signing. Given the Lightning generally like to announce the signings of multiple prospects jointly and the deadline for signings is 5pm tomorrow, expect a press release some time tomorrow announcing Coleman's signing along with Boutin and/or Hrdel.

Feaster Hopes to Sign Three by Thursday

A quick blurb from the Sunday paper: [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBBW98RIBE.html]Jay Feaster intends to sign three of the team's 2003 draft picks by Thursday[/url]: G Jonathan Boutin, G Gerald Coleman and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel. All would be elligible to re-enter the draft if not signed by that time, although the new CBA will be less favorable economically for prospects if they choose to go that route. Speaking about the goaltending prospect situation earlier this season, Feaster had hinted only one of the prospects might sign. But Boutin and Coleman both showed the ability to dominate their respective junior leagues at times last season and with the Lightning becoming part owners of the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL there should be plenty of room for new arrivals.

Pete's Draft Preview

The sprint to the 2005-2006 NHL season is on, and while Jay Feaster wines and dines the agents of the Lightning's current stars attempting to lock them up to long term deals I will take a look at what hopefully will become the next generation of Lightning stars and the 2005 Entry Draft.
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