The Augusta Lynx have announced the signing of former Lightning defensive prospect Art Femenella to an ECHL contract. The 6'7" and 255 lbs defenseman was originally drafted by Tampa in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft while playing for Sioux City in the USHL, but was never signed to a contract by the organization. The mammoth blueliner completed four years with the Vermont Catamounts in 2007, and attended the 2007 Lynx training camp before missing all of the 2007-2008 season with an injury.
"Art is a legitimate heavyweight who doesn't back down from anything," Lynx Director of Hockey Operations and head coach John Marks said. "You obviously can't coach size, but he also has all the tools to be a very good hockey player. Art's physical presence should help him be the kind of player fans grow to love and appreciate."
University of Vermont graduate Arthur Femenella will not be able to attend next month's prospect tournament in Traverse City, Michigan after all.
According to the Lightning, Femenella, a 6-7, 240-pound defenseman/forward, had surgery last week to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and will be out until November.
Taking Femenella's place in Michigan will be recently signed defenseman Justin Fletcher. A 2007 graduate of St. Cloud State, Fletcher was signed by the Lightning this spring. Fletcher played well enough on an ATO with AHL Springfield late last season to earn a one-year contract with Tampa Bay. His inclusion on the Traverse City roster will help bring more offense from the blueline.
It has been brought to my attention in the last couple of days by BP reader Freadrich43 that my understanding of the August 15th signing deadline for NCAA players has been incorrect. I had been operating under the impression that NCAA players leaving school did not have to be signed until August 15th of the year after they graduated. This, as it turns out, was incorrect and I thank Freadrich43 for bringing it to my attention. An NCAA prospect must be signed by August 15th of the summer following their graduation for their rights to be retained by the NHL club.
Site rules are that only players whose rights are held by the Lightning can be included on the Prospects page. That means that for the last year PJ Atherton was incorrectly included on the page. While this wasn't necessarily a catastrophic oversight considering Atherton played last season inside the organization under a minor league contract, we still strive for 100% accuracy. So, I apologize. The fault was mine.
The rule also will effect three other prospects who have been included on the Prospects page: Dustin Collins, Arthur Femenella, and Joseph Pearce. With Collins and Femenella both slated to appear for the Lightning in Traverse City at the start of September and likely to attend Norfolk Admirals camp later on in the Fall, I have been forced to decide what to do with them until their participation in those events are complete. The decision I've reached is to remove Pearce, who was not invited to Traverse City, from the page immediately and leave Collins and Femenella on until Bolt Prospects releases its Preliminary Rankings in early October. If neither receives an NHL contract by that time, they will be removed from the page as well.
Just to reiterate, I'm sorry. While it's not a huge mistake in the grand scheme of things, I know that our readers expect and deserve nothing less than complete accuracy. For the future, now that we have clarification on how the rule works, we will be sure to promptly and correctly update the Prospects page after an NCAA player graduates.
According to the University of Vermont Athletic Department, defenseman Art Femenella will be out for the remainder of his senior season as he was placed on the extended injury list. Vermont Head Athletic Trainer Allison Shepherd told the Burlington Free Press Femenella sustained a wrist injury that will require surgery.
Femenella, a 6',7" 255-pound native of Annandale, New Jersey, played in just 13 games this season, registering a goal and two assists to go along with 42 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating. He missed all but eight games of his junior season injured and he battled injuries in both his freshman (27 games) and sophomore (21 games) years when he played both wing and defense.
A beast for Sioux City of the USHL known for his fighting skills, it was Femenella's hope to use hockey to gain a college education and he did just that. A public communication major, Femenella finishes his collegiate career at Vermont with two goals and two assists for four points in 69 regular season games. He also had 172 penalty minutes.
#19 Vermont won game one of their first round series in the Hockey East Tournament against #8 Boston University last night 3-2.
Northern Michigan 3 - Ohio State 2 (OT) - Game 2
Dusty Collins scored the game-winner in overtime to force a Game 3 tonight. The goal came just 3:15 into the extra period. For Collins, it was his forth goal of the season.
#16 UMASS 5 - #11 Maine 3
UMASS completed the weekend sweep of Maine to clinch home ice in the first round of the HEast tournament. The Minutemen claimed forth in the division while Maine finished in fifth. The two teams will face each other next weekend in the first round of the tournament.
Art Femenella and Vermont finished in fifth and will take on #5 Boston University in the first round of the HEast tournament.