After a couple of months of rumors indicating he might go back to Europe, Eurohockey.net is reporting that Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil has signed with Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga for next season. Kvapil, 23, struggled the past two seasons to reach the promise he showed as a rookie in 2005-2006 when he scored 18 goals and 45 points in 79 games with the Springfield Falcons. Plagued by inconsistent effort and turnovers in the neutral zone, Kvapil languished in the ECHL for half of last season with the Mississippi Sea Wolves. Kvapil's decision is the first of a string of prospect roster moves to come in the next couple of months. Bolt Prospects' Chad Schnarr will have more on Johan Harju, Mitch Fadden, and Dane Crowley in the coming week.
Eurohockey.net is reporting that defenseman Mario Scalzo has signed with Austrian club Salzburg for next season. If Scalzo indeed chooses to leave North America for Europe, it makes an already depleted Norfolk blueline for next season even thinner. Of course, it also probably helps prospect Dane Crowley's quest to get an NHL contract.
A big win for a young team.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 30 of 32 shots for the win to break a personal seven game losing streak. The win also helped Boutin raise his save percentage back to .900 for the season. It's been a roller coaster ride all year for Boutin as he seems to win and lose games in month long streaks. At one point a little over a month ago he seemed to be coming into his own showing a winning record and a save percentage above .910. Unfortunately he hasn't shown the ability to step up and win games on his own in the last month, which is the next big hurdle he has to get over in his professional development. The legitimate starters don't post 7 game losing streaks. They find a way to pull out wins even when the team in front of them struggles. Boutin isn't quite to that point yet.
NOR Wanvig, (21) (Tyrell, Crowley), 1:38
BNG Dimitrakos, (20) (Kinch, Smith), 17:48
NOR Keller, (15) (Schneider, Segal), 7:46
BNG Hennessy, (22) (Carkner, Zubov), 10:10
NOR Wanvig, (22) (Tyrell, Jones), 1:38
Kyle Wanvig and Justin Keller were named the game's first and second stars.
With the win, Norfolk matches the win total set a year ago by the Lightning farmhands in Springfield of 28. They've also accumulated 4 more points than the Falcons did last season. The importance of hitting this milestone cannot be underestimated, in my opinion. It would have been a terrible blow to the organization if the move to Norfolk and the time spent developing their prospects hadn't shown any measure of improvement on the ice. Modest as it may be, these Admirals have gotten better compared to last year's Falcons, and they'll have one more swing at besting last year's win total tomorrow night against the Pens. It'll be a tough nut to crack against the division leaders, but it would be a heck of a way to end the season if the Ads could pull off one more big upset to head into the offseason on a high note.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Tough night for the Lightning's newest prospects in Norfolk.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.
NOR Segal, (10) (Jones, Smolenak), 7:24 (PP)
ALB Blanchard, (8) (McLeod, Angelidis), 15:22
ALB Cottreau, (3) (Petruzalek, Johnson), 5:05
ALB Sutter, (1) (Johnson, Samson), 7:12 (PP)
ALB Jensen, (10) (Engel, Ward), 16:26
ALB Samson, (21) , 3:19
NOR Kearns, (8) (Koci, Lawrence), 4:17
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Despite indications earlier in the week that the two sides were far apart on an agreement, the Norfolk Admirals announced today they have signed defenseman Dane Crowley to an ATO contract. Crowley was selected by the Lightning in the 6th round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and recently completed his final season of junior hockey with Everett of the WHL. Crowley had 10 goals and 29 points to go with 131 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Silvertips this season.
Crowley, a defenseman, was coming off a year in which he scored 10 goals and 29 points in 66 games for Everett of the WHL. Prior to last year Crowley scored 17 points in 29 games with the 'Tips after being acquired from Swift Current at the 2007 WHL trade deadline.
Any potential NHL contract between Tampa Bay and the WHL overager this summer was thought to be dependent on reasonable contract demands from the Crowley camp. It appears this is already off to a bad start, if indeed there is anywhere to go from here.
It is unknown at this time whether the contract in question was an AHL amateur tryout agreement or an NHL entry deal.
Crowley was a sixth round pick of the Bolts in 2006.
Results from Lewiston, Everett and Lethbridge.