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No Summer Rookie Camp; Fewer Prospects at NHL Camp this Year

Both Tampa Bay newspapers are reporting the number of players at Lightning camp this fall in Brandon, Florida will shrink to around 26. This will leave out as many as 28 prospects, AHLers, etc.

Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster told the St. Pete Times the plan, which could be tweaked depending on free-agent signings, will allow more intense and targeted training. He also pointed to financial reasons for the decision, including putting more of the budget toward NHL payroll.

Times reporter Damian Cristodero, citing Feaster, reports in the article Tampa Bay will not hold a summer rookie conditioning camp, but will return to the Traverse City tournament this year "only because it already is committed."

Despite Russian Report, Potential Koshechkin Contract Remains “Out of Lightning’s Hands”

While Sport-Express in Russia is reporting Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin plans to continue his career next year in the NHL and is "close" to signing a contract with Tampa Bay, the Lightning is saying not so fast.

Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster confirmed to Bolt Prospects (BP) the club’s strong interest to sign Koshechkin, but referred to the two sides even being in negotiations as “a bit of a stretch.”

Craig Ramsay Fired

According to both the St. Pete Times and Tampa Tribune, citing a team release, the Lightning has fired associate coach Craig Ramsay. Ramsay led Lightning defensemen and the club's special teams units over the past few years. He has spent seven years with the team.

Lightning Re-Sign Johan Holmqvist

Apologies for the site's technical difficulties last night...

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting the Lightning have re-signed goaltender Johan Holmqvist to a 1 year deal. The contract is reported to be worth $1 million dollars and will offer Holmqvist the opportunity to prove himself as a #1 netminder in the NHL with the potential of a greater payoff next summer if he does.

Prospect News Briefs

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.

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