In his Friday column Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune speculated the team's cap situation may force the Lightning to carry one or two rookie defensemen on the roster on opening night. That's a pretty fair expectation and at the very minimum I suspected the Lightning would put one of the rookies into the #7 defenseman slot at the league minimum for economic reasons. Erlendsson lists several prospects as potential options and, in particular, highlights Swiss stay-at-home defenseman Timo Helbling. Helbling, you might remember, checked in at #5 on my personal list of overage Lightning prospects. Here's my handicapping of the situation:
Lightning Europe Playoff Extravaganza!!!:
Ahhhhh, my first European Hockey Update away from the third world dictatorship that HF has become. Lets begin:
All in all, the beat goes on in Europe for the Lightning's prospects. They have some excellent overage properties like Somervuori, But and Norrena but have yet to see the explosion from youngsters like Polushin and Kazionov they might've hoped for. The exception to the rule is 2004 entry draft 6th rounder Karri Ramo, who is emerging as one of the two best young goalies in all of Finland after having a remarkable performance at Traverse City.