Wessbecker, John

Everblades Sign Wessbecker

The Florida Everblades of the ECHL announced Friday that the team has signed former Lightning prospect defenseman John Wessbecker to a contract for the 2009-10 season. Wessbecker's signing comes on the heels of his participation in the AHL Houston Aeros training camp. Wessbecker, a 2005 7th round pick by the Lightning, graduated last spring from the University of Massachusettes-Amherst. The Lightning relinguished their right to Wessbecker by not signing Wessbecker to an NHL entry-level contract by the August deadline.

"John is a big stay-at-home defenseman, I believe with his size and reach he will effectively keep opposing forwards out of our zone," said Everblades coach Malcolm Cameron. "He's not flashy, but he possesses a very good shot, plays physical and moves the puck well."

"I'm extremely excited to be going to Florida, they have a great set-up down there," said John Wessbecker. "I'm ready to see what types of opportunities await me."

Lightning Pass on Wessbecker

BoltProspects confirmed today with the Tampa Bay Lightning that the Bolts have failed to sign prospect defenseman John Wessbecker before the deadline for signing NCAA graduated seniors expired. Wessbecker is now an unrestricted free agent and is able to sign with any team. The Victoria, MN native was a 7th round draft pick by Tampa in the 2005 NHL entry level draft and was a leader on the 2008-09 UMass hockey squad. The 6.02 and 198 lb. stay-at-home blueliner returned for his senior season after missing the last half of the 2007-08 due to injury, finishing his collegiate career with 2 goals and 10 assists in 123 games in 4 years for Don "Toot" Cahoon's Minutemen.

The passing over of Wessbecker seemed likely from clues earlier in the summer after Lightning GM Brian Lawton announced that Tampa would only carry around 40 contracts this upcoming season. Furthermore, the new Lightning management have succeeded in shoring up the Lightning blueline depth system-wide with a rash of acquisitions, free agent signing, and draft picks over the the past two off-seasons which made a Wessbecker contract even more unlikely.

Wessbecker Earns Distinguished Scholar Honors

WGGB-TV out of Springfield, MA is reporting that Lightning University of Massachusettes-Amherst prospect defenseman John Wessbecker has been named to the HEAST All-Academic Team for the fourth consecutive year, earning him the Distinguish Scholar Award. Wessbecker, 22, completed his senior season at UMass-Amherst with 1 goal and 4 assists in 35 games as a stay-at-home blueliner. The Lighting have until August 15 to sign Wessbecker to an entry-level contract or he becomes a free agent.

NCAA Game Night: 3/15

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 3
Massachusetts Minutemen 2 @ #4 Northeastern Huskies 3 OT
Northeastern wins best of three series 2-1
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, 1 SOG, Even, 2 PIM

John Tuckerman's second goal of the game came midway through the first OT period and sent the Huskies on to Round 2 and UMASS home. Its doubtfull that the Minutemen are Tourney bound so this may have been John Wessbeckers last collegiate game.

NCAA Game Night: 3/14

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 2
Massachusetts Minutemen 1 @ #4 Northeastern Huskies 4
Best of three series tied 1-1
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, -1

Game 2 was much more of what was expected...Game 3 Sunday.

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 2
UMASS-Lowell River Hawks 4 @ #7 Vermont Catamounts 2
UMASS-Lowell wins best of three series 2-0
F Matt Marshall Ver: Did not play

Vermont goes 1 for 6 on PP and is upset in Round 1. Catamounts now sit back and watch rest of tourney play out. Being ranked in top 10 for most of season, they should be an easy bet for a NCAA tournament bid.

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