Submitted by pete on July 30, 2006 - 21:39
With Jay Feaster's announcement of which players will be invited to join the Lightning's Traverse City prospect team, I figured I'd take a rough stab at what the roster will look like. To the best of my knowledge, players are only elligible to play in Traverse City twice, making players like [url=mike-egener]Mike Egener[/url] and [url=andy-rogers]Andy Rogers[/url] ineligible to play this year. The rule narrows the field of potential candidates considerably, which is why you see so many free agent forwards invited to the camp this year.
LW [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url]
RW [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url]
RW [url=stanislav-lascek]Stanislav Lascek[/url]
C [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url]
C/W [url=chris-lawrence]Chris Lawrence[/url]
RW Marek Bartanus
RW Maxime Boisclair*
RW Ryan Gibbons*
C David Desharnais**
LW/C Brian Woolger**
RW Torrie Wheat**
C Todd Griffith**
LW Travis Fuller**
D [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url]
D [url=vladimir-mihalik]Vladimir Mihalik[/url]
D [url=jay-rosehill]Jay Rosehill[/url]
D [url=pj-atherton]PJ Atherton[/url]*
D Brady Greco
D [url=dane-crowley]Dane Crowley[/url]
D Clayton Barthel**
G [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url]
G [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url]
G [url=kevin-beech]Kevin Beech[/url]
G [url=morgan-cey]Morgan Cey[/url]???
[i]*=Springfield Falcons Contract Player[/i]
[i]**=Free Agent Invitee[/i]
The only spot I'm really uncertain of is who will be the fourth goaltender, if there is one. The team carried four goalies in Traverse City last year but they only carried three in prior seasons. If they carry four, I believe Cey is eligible only having played once and he would certainly make a strong quartet of netminders. The Lightning plan on bringing Riku Helenius to the camp and we've been told that Dane Crowley will be there as well. The strength of the team will be from the net out, but to win the tournament they will have to rely heavily on forwards like Smolenak, Jones, Lascek and Kvapil to step up and score at a better clip than they did at prospect camp.
Looking at the invitees to Springfield Falcons camp, Kevin Croxton looks to me to have a good shot at landing a contract and ending up in Johnstown along with two or three of the forwards heading to Traverse City. Given the team's lack of center depth, players like David Desharnais and Brian Woolger should get long hard looks. The real battle though could be between Don Grover and Jon D'Aversa on the blueline. If Doug Andress doesn't re-sign with Johnstown, the Chiefs will desperately need a puckmover to be successful next season. Grover has already shown he can handle that role at the UHL level, which isn't altogether much lower than the ECHL but D'Aversa probably has more upside. The decision not to take Josh Disher to Traverse City is either a condemnation of his performance at the camp, or a strong indication the team is going to go with three goalies.