The slow process of reassembling the Mississippi Sea Wolves continued today with the Wolves' acquisition of defenseman Matthew Deschamps from the Phoenix Roadrunners in exchange for financial considerations. Deschamps, 27, had 2 goals and 9 points with 94 penalty minutes in 2006-2007 split between Charlotte and Phoenix. The 6'0" 195 lbs blueliner is a graduate of the University of Maine. His career season in college came as a senior in 2004-2005 when he posted 1 goal and 7 points with 30 penalty minutes in 29 games. The trade may ultimately re-unite Deschamps with his former Black Bears teammate Mike Lundin who will find himself in a battle to make the AHL level with Norfolk once camp begins in the Fall. The two played together during the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons.
Lampman, 24, was a 2001 4th round selection by the Rangers and has played the past five seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack accumulating 19-57-76, +49, and 234 PIMs in 258 games played. During those 5 seasons, he appeared in 10 NHL games for the Rangers. â€œIn Bryce Lampman we are obtaining a mobile, very good skating, puck-moving defenseman with good vision who sees the ice well, makes a very good first pass and who possesses excellent hockey sense,â€ Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said in a team press release. â€œHe is also a player who can be used in all special teams situations. For the past three or four seasons now our pro scouts have felt that he was on the verge of playing regularly in the NHL. He will come to training camp in September and have a chance to battle it out with probably five or six other players for the sixth and seventh spots on our blueline. Based on everything we have seen from him in the past, he is knocking on the door of being an NHL regular. We are thrilled to have him in our organization and we wish Mitch Fritz nothing but success.â€
Lampman, an assistant captain with the Wolf Pack, signed a contract with TPS in Finland on June 6 and the restricted free agent, who was qualified by the Rangers, has an out clause with TPS should he sign with an NHL club by July 10.
Fritz, 26, was signed by the Lightning as a free agent in 2005 and the 6'8", 258lb winger is one of the most feared and respected enforcers in the AHL, accumulating over 356 PIMs in two seasons with the organization. According to the St. Pete Times, Fritz had contacted Feaster when the Lightning qualified the restricted free agent to express his concern over lack of playing time at the AHL level and the inability to get a better chance to make the NHL club.
Damian Crisdotero reports on his blog that Riku Helenius will indeed come to North America this coming season to play for Seattle of the WHL. No mention of a source, but Helenius' move across the pond seems likely now that his Finnish club Ilves has signed veteran netminder Tero Leinonen away from Lulea of the Swedish Elitserien.
The 2007 NHL Entry Draft taking place Friday and Saturday aren't the only drafts taking place in the next week. Next Wednesday, June 27th, the CHL will hold their 2007 Import Draft which takes on added importance as rumors persist that 2006 1st round pick Riku Helenius might cross the pond to play Canadian junior hockey next season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has released a report confirming the club has signed left wing Jan Hlavac to a one year contract. Hlavac has spent the last three season playing in Europe, most recently with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Hlavac helped Sparta Praha to the Czech Extraliga championship this year with 8 goals and 2 assists in 16 playoff games.