It's amazing how much can change in the span of a week. This was supposed to be simply a draft review follow up on my previous blog entry "Five Days Before Ottawa." But, as I mentioned in that article, with the new ownership shoes have been falling fast and furious in Tampa Bay. Since that time the Lightning not only conducted their first draft under the Oren Koules regime, but they also named Barry Melrose Head Coach, locked up Vaclav Prospal to a long term deal, and acquired the negotiating rights for Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts who are expected to ink deals tomorrow with the team. And there's still July 1st to look forward to on Tuesday.
How will these deals work out? Hard to say. Am I enthusiastic about having Vaclav Prospal signed to a contract that will end when he's 38 years old (and having to see his skating at that age)? Not really. Do I have any idea what Barry Melrose's system will look like after 13 years away from hockey? I'd be lying if I said I did (and I'd be lying if I said I was really enthusiastic about Assistant Coach Rick Tocchet's off-ice baggage coming with him). Does Gary Roberts still have any gas in the tank? If he does it'll probably be worth $5 a gallon by the end of this coming season. And, am I really stoked about potentially signing Ryan Malone to a 7 year contract worth nearly $4.5 million dollars a year after a 51 point season that was just 3 points better than Michel Ouellet's last campaign in a Pens uniform? The new ownership is definitely rolling the dice with all of these moves.
Now, that said, it's nice to be shopping for groceries at the Whole Foods rather than the Super Wal-Mart for a change. The thing about a guy like Malone is that he does have the potential to be a second liner, whereas bargain bin players like Jan Hlavac the Lightning signed in previous years due to PS&E's budget constraints had little chance of being legitimate NHL scoring line threats. And while I won't back off my statement that OK Hockey projects the image that the circus is coming to town, I would like to praise them on very professionally handling the draft. There's some temptation for new ownership groups to make gigantic splashes at the draft, and Koules certainly could've tried to climb the ladder to get another first round pick. That wouldn't have been wise for the Lightning given the assets they had on hand, however, so discretion was the better part of valor. Koules polished off his first draft by making a nice PR move selecting David Carle as well, which sends a nice message throughout the hockey community that this organization does have a pretty big heart. So, altogether, it was a pretty good weekend in Ottawa. I thought the Lightning's draft last year was deeper and more on point with what needs to be done to rebuild the forward depth in the organization with it's emphasis on smaller speed-oriented players, but the team did get a franchise player in Stamkos and some nice depth players at the goaltending and defenseman positions in this draft. No complaints there. Next year's draft, now that the Lightning will have a pair of second round picks, will be a bigger opportunity for the organization to replenish depth.
Anyway, on to the players:
Damian Crisdotero of the times has a more detailed story up today on defenseman prospect David Carle's condition. The Carle family still holds out hope that the young blueliner's condition may be a less serious problem known as "athlete's heart", which is a thickening of the lining of the heart caused by exercising. According to the article, it will be six to eight weeks before test results will confirm whether his condition is indeed "athlete's heart." If it is, Carle will be off the ice another three months hoping that the lining of his heart reduces in size so he can resume his career.
"But it's almost a false hope," Carle said. "It's less than a 1 percent chance, so unless there's a miracle, I don't see it changing."
Carle, via Crisdotero's blog, urged all athletes to be safe and get themselves tested to make sure they catch any potential conditions like his in time.
Seventh Round, Two-Hundred Third Overall
D David Carle, 5'11" 180 lbs, Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS-MN)
Rankings: #60 North American CSS, #68 Overall Red Line Report, #70 Overall THN
55 GP, 10-34-44, 59 PIM
According to the Anchorage Daily News today (June 21), Carle, a University of Denver commitment and the younger brother of San Jose Sharks' defenseman Matt Carle, will have his hockey career put on hold â€“ or most likely ended â€“ by a heart condition. Carle told the newspaper on Friday he will no longer play the game after doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., diagnosed a heart condition that puts him at risk for sudden cardiac death if he exerts himself too strenuously. The newspaper states Carle said Mayo Clinic doctors on Thursday diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart that has been cited in the sudden death of young athletes.
The Daily News reports the abnormality was first detected in Carle's heart by doctors at the NHL's scouting combine in Toronto last month, prompting this week's visit to the Mayo Clinic.
On the Ice: Carle is an undersized puck-moving defenseman comparable to Colorado's Brett Clark. According to Red Line Report, Carle is a great skater with strong acceleration, good mobility, and good hockey sense. His shooting and passing skills are above average and he endears himself to coaches with his consistent play and willingness to do the little things. Denver is expected to honor his scholarship and make him a part of the Pioneerâ€™s hockey program. Should Carle pull through his condition and resume his hockey career, the Lightning will hold his signing rights. However, this appears to be more of a reward pick of sorts to Carle by the Bolts.
Damian Crisdotero of the Times has the scoop on his blog.
"But general manager Jay Feaster said prospective new owner Oren Koules knows the family and the diagnosis might not be as severe as first believed. Besides Koules said, "The kid worked his whole life to be drafted in the NHL, and I don't see a reason he shouldn't be."