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.