Just some quick thoughts of mine going into this week's tournament:
The Tampa Bay Lightning has graciously provided Bolt Prospects with the following roster for the 2007 Norfolk Admirals Training Camp:
It has been brought to my attention in the last couple of days by BP reader Freadrich43 that my understanding of the August 15th signing deadline for NCAA players has been incorrect. I had been operating under the impression that NCAA players leaving school did not have to be signed until August 15th of the year after they graduated. This, as it turns out, was incorrect and I thank Freadrich43 for bringing it to my attention. An NCAA prospect must be signed by August 15th of the summer following their graduation for their rights to be retained by the NHL club.
Site rules are that only players whose rights are held by the Lightning can be included on the Prospects page. That means that for the last year PJ Atherton was incorrectly included on the page. While this wasn't necessarily a catastrophic oversight considering Atherton played last season inside the organization under a minor league contract, we still strive for 100% accuracy. So, I apologize. The fault was mine.
The rule also will effect three other prospects who have been included on the Prospects page: Dustin Collins, Arthur Femenella, and Joseph Pearce. With Collins and Femenella both slated to appear for the Lightning in Traverse City at the start of September and likely to attend Norfolk Admirals camp later on in the Fall, I have been forced to decide what to do with them until their participation in those events are complete. The decision I've reached is to remove Pearce, who was not invited to Traverse City, from the page immediately and leave Collins and Femenella on until Bolt Prospects releases its Preliminary Rankings in early October. If neither receives an NHL contract by that time, they will be removed from the page as well.
Just to reiterate, I'm sorry. While it's not a huge mistake in the grand scheme of things, I know that our readers expect and deserve nothing less than complete accuracy. For the future, now that we have clarification on how the rule works, we will be sure to promptly and correctly update the Prospects page after an NCAA player graduates.
Erlendsson scooped us. Chad's going to be upset. A little.
In any event, Erik Erlendsson of the Trib has posted the Lightning's roster for the upcoming Traverse City prospect tournament. The team will include 8 free agent invitee forwards as well as unsigned recent college graduates Dustin Collins and Arthur Femenella. The tournament will be held between September 7th and 11th in Traverse City, Michigan.
Sadly, only three of the recent 2007 draftees will suit up for the Lightning in the tournament (Mitch Fadden, Torrie Jung, and Michael Ward). 2nd round pick Dana Tyrell will miss the tournament to participate with Team Canada in an upcoming international event while 3rd round picks Luca Cunti and Alex Killorn will miss the event because they would have to pay their way to attend in order to keep NCAA elligibility.
Bolt Prospects will have more on the tryout invitees later today.
First off, Bolt Prospects apologizes for being down last night. Unfortunately we had some technical difficulties with the ISP that our server runs on that took about 12 hours to remedy. The site is up and running again now and we don't foresee any related problems in the near future.
Second, stay tuned to Bolt Prospects over the next few weeks as we are expecting to get a glimpse at the preliminary roster for the Traverse City prospect tournament pretty soon.
With all of that out of the way, the flurry of free agent signings that came in the first three weeks of July seems to have subsided. The team now has 47 players under contract that will count against the 50-man roster limit, with Ryan Craig remaining to be signed who will be the 48th. For the most part the roster is set, which offers the opportunity to speculate on how the Lightning's organizational roster and lines will look at the NHL, AHL and ECHL level.
According to Randy from AdmiralsZone.com in the comments, the AHL and PHPA have ratified the sixth veteran rule. Randy also clarifies the rule noting the 6th veteran will have less than 320 games of experience, not greater than. Karl Stewart and Bryce Lampman would both fit in under this sixth veteran rule.
Thanks to everyone for being patient with me while I get schooled up on these rules.
With the flurry of free agent signings and trades aimed toward stocking up the Norfolk Admirals roster over the last week, I think we've all had some questions about how the Lightning/Admirals will navigate around the AHL's veteran rule. I, admittedly, still didn't know the ins and outs of the rule as early as about a week ago. Thankfully, several of the Admirals fans have pointed out some of the intricacies of the rules and how the Admirals are indeed going to be able ice all this new talent they've accumlated recently.
First, here is how the rule was in effect last season. According to TheAHL.com, teams were allowed to use up to five players with 260 or more games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level at the start of the season. Goaltenders are exempt from the veteran rule. ECHL games do not count against the veteran rule.
For this season, according to rumors, the AHL/PHPA are expected to expand the AHL's veteran rule to include a sixth veteran with less than 320 games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level.
So where do the Lightning's recent signings fall in terms of games played? The following players will count against the Lightning's six veteran slots:
As a part of our summer cleaning at Bolt Prospects, we've updated the profiles for the Top 20 prospects in the organization and we will likely complete updates for every other pertinent prospect in the organization over the next month or two.
In addition, because they went unsigned and the Lightning no longer hold their rights, Marek Bartanus, Kevin Beech and Jan Zapletal have been removed from the prospects page. We suspect this is but the opening salvo of a summer housecleaning as the Lightning are expected to let several prospects and overage prospect walk once free agency hits in July.
Finally, with regard to draft coverage, Bolt Prospects has again ordered Red Line Report's draft guide and will be blending their insight with that of other sources to provide our draft coverage later this month. Because the Lightning do not hold a first round selection, we won't be doing comprehensive profiles on potential draftees prior to the draft but Bolt Prospects will again be the place to turn to for draft capsules of new Lightning prospects as they are selected.
Thanks as always to our readers.
Bolt Prospects 2006-2007 Final Rankings
2006-2007 was a difficult season for the prospects of the Tampa Bay Lightning. After two years of modest improvement with their full affiliation in Springfield of the AHL and a large crop of talented junior scorers coming into the organization, expectations were that this was the season the Falcons and the Lightning organization would finally turn the corner. Expectations were not met, and the Falcons took a large step backward with a miserable second half of the season that led to the dissolving of the affiliation. The Lightning also saw ties severed with their ECHL affiliate in Johnstown after two years of control over hockey operations only led to a pair of 5th place divisional finishes.
The Bolt Prospects 2006-2007 Final Rankings reflect the painful lessons of a campaign which, for the Lightning's minor league system, was one of the worst in recent memory. As a consequence of overall poor play indicating a lack of depth, the Bolt Prospects staff voted unanimously to trim the Top-25 rankings to 20 for the first time in the history of the site. Make no mistake, the decision is an indictment of what we saw from the Lightning's prospects in 2006-2007. There are passengers in this organization, and we suspect several of them will begin to be culled from the organizational roster during the off season. The rankings are also an indictment of the promising class of young rookie forwards who failed so spectacularly to make an impact in their pro debuts. On the bright side though, they also show the strength the organization has developed at the goaltending and defenseman positions. Of our top ten prospects, only one (Blair Jones) is a forward, while four are goaltenders and five are blueliners.
So, without further adieu, here are the Bolt Prospects 2006-2007 Final Rankings. They are the last of a year we'd rather forget and a starting point on the way to 2007-2008, a new season and a new affiliation with Norfolk of the AHL that we hope will bring redemption for some of the organization's young talent.
As of 6/02/08