Sointu makes his North American debut ... Zador gets a win in Oshawa's season opener ... Barberio and DeCoste also in action.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have returned five prospect invitees to the their respective junior squads.
Goaltender Michael Zador was returned to Oshawa (OHL), while forwards Matias Sointu, Alex Hutchings, and Kyle DeCoste were returned to their OHL clubs in Ottawa, Barrie, and Sault Ste. Marie, respectively. Technically, DeCoste never participated in the Lightning training camp, having been excused last weekend due to a death in the family. Hutchings, a 2009 4th round pick, drew praise from Tampa head coach Rick Tocchet who called out Hutchings as being a player he particularly liked. The Lightning also returned defenseman Mark Barberio to Moncton (QMJHL), where he is expected to vie for QMJHL defenseman-of-the-year honors.
Tampa must sign DeCoste and Barberio to NHL contract before June 1, 2010 or face losing their rights to these players.
When asked, there's no hesitation.
Kyle DeCoste quickly admits that yes, this is the biggest year of his life.
A fifth-round draft choice of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, DeCoste's play over the next several months will determine whether he gets a professional contract.
But it may take the London, Ont., native some time to be completely ready for his fourth Ontario Hockey League season.
The 19-year-old right-winger, who joined the Soo Greyhounds just before last season's Jan. 10 trade deadline, is recovering from shoulder surgery in April.
The six-foot-two, 196- pounder, is "almost 100 per cent back," after having a torn labrum (cartilage) repaired on his left side.
But the surgery kept DeCoste, who scored 15 times a season ago, including seven in 26 games for the Greyhounds, from training the way he needed to.
For the rest of the story, see the Sault Star by clicking here.
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