Crisdotero also blogged some quotes from Lightning GM Jay Feaster today regarding the play of the team's prospects at the Traverse City tournament.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Feaster raves about the play of forward Radek Smolenak and admits several organizations expressed praise for Smolenak's play and lauds defenseman Mike Lundin's strong play in the tournament.
Bolt Prospects will have more on the Lightning organization's reaction to the Traverse City tournament later this week.
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.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mike Lundin to a two-year, entry level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Lundin, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, spent the 2006-07 season with the University of Maine Black Bears. During his senior year he played in all 40 games and scored six goals with a total of 20 points. He tied for the team lead in goals by a defenseman and ranked second in points by defensemen. Lundin scored five goals on the power play and ranked first on the team among defensemen, tied for sixth overall. He set career highs for goals, points and power-play goals.
One of the things that tends to get lost in the shuffle of watching the Lightning's young prospects develop is just how much emphasis the team puts on drafting intelligent young men with a surplus of character. Case in point: On Friday Mike Lundin was named to the Hockey East All-Academic team for the fourth straight season to wrap up a sterling academic career with the University of Maine. For his career acheivements, Lundin was named a 'Distinguished Scholar' after posting a 3.0 or better GPA for four straight years in college.
The Lightning and Lundin are currently in negotiations regarding his first pro contract and the young defenseman is likely to begin his pro career next season with Norfolk of the AHL.
Here's what we learned this week in communication with the Lightning:
2006 first round draft pick Riku Helenius made a successful return from major shoulder surgery when he suited up for Finland at an Under-19 tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia last month. The Lightning was in attendance when the goaltender played his first game since early autumn, but Finland was on their heels all night and Russia scored two power play goals to beat Helenius and Finland 4-0. Finland didn't fare much better in Helenius' second game, a 5-1 loss to Sweden.
While the GAA may not look ideal for the first rounder, the Lightning said he played well. The important thing to look at here is he's playing again and is in good health. In fact, after missing nearly all the 2006-2007 season, a healthy Helenius is now working out twice a day.
In a recent interview with his hometown newspaper in Burnsville, Minnesota, Lightning prospect and graduating University of Maine defenseman Mike Lundin states he is currently in contract talks with the Lightning. Lundin played in three Frozen Fours with Maine and had 19 points in 37 games this year with the Black Bears.
"Iâ€™ve been in touch with them a lot throughout the year, and now that the year is over, there has been some contract talk," Lundin told thisweek-online. "From what Iâ€™ve heard this can be a long process, so Iâ€™m just going to have to stay patient throughout the summer and hopefully I will be with the Tampa Bay organization next year."
According to the Portland Press Herald, University of Maine senior defensman Mike Lundin does not plan to sign any potential professional contract until after the university's Spring classes are complete.
It was speculated that Lundin, an alternate captain for the Black Bears who had 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points this year, may be signed and placed in Johnstown for the ECHL playoffs after his team was finished. There was a small window between Maine's loss to Michigan State and Johnstown's elimination loss last night when this could have happened.
Of interest: Maine's leading scorer (tied), Mike Laveille, a 5'9", 180 pound playmaking center, is expected to sign an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs' affiliate, the Toronto Marlies this week. Laveille tied for the club lead in scoring with senior forward Josh Soares, who has signed on with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL (St. Louis Blues affiliate).
Michigan State 4- Maine 2
Mike Lundin and Maine missed out on the chance for a national title as they fell to Michigan State in the first game of the Frozen Four. Lundin was scoreless and a plus-1 in the game.
Boston College beat North Dakota 6-4 in the other semi-final game, setting up Saturday's National Championship.
Maine 4 - St. Cloud State 1
East Regional Semi-final
Maine welcomed back goaltender Ben Bishop and played one of their best games of the season to knock off St. Cloud State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Mike Lundin picked up an assist on Michel Leveille's first period goal on the powerplay.
UMass 1 - Clarkson 0 (OT)
East Regional Semi-final
UMass continues its postseason heroics as they knocked off No. 1 seed Clarkson in overtime. John Wessbecker finished scoreless and even in the game while recording 4 shots on net.
Maine and UMass will now meet again in the East Regional final with the winner advancing to the Frozen Four. The two teams have met four times in the last month with UMass winning all four games. The Minutemen swept the final weekend series of the regular season then followed it up with a sweep of the Black Bears in the first round in the HEast tournament. The stakes are higher and Maine will have starting goalie Bishop back who missed both series due to injury.
The 2007 NCAA Tournament bracket is set. 16 teams make up the bracket with four different regions of four teams. The winners of the regionals will meet in St. Louis for the Frozen Four, Arpil 5-7.
Three different teams will have Lightning prospects. Boston College and backup goaltender Joe Pearce are the No. 2 seed in the Northeast region and will face No. 3 seed St. Lawerence. Boston College won the Hockey East tournament.
John Wessbecker and UMass got the No. 4 seed in the East region and will take on No. 1 seed Clarkson, who won the ECAC tournament.
Mike Lundin and Maine, who were on the bubble after losing early in the HEast tourney, got the No. 3 seed in the East region and will face St. Cloud State.
Notable teams that did not make the tournament were Denver, Colorado College, Vermont, and last year's National Champs, Wisconsin. The first round begins next weekend. Bracket