TSN.ca is reporting the Lightning have traded a 2nd round pick in either 2007 or 2008 to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Chris Gratton. Gratton, who was the Lightning's 1st round pick in 1993, will be making his third tour of duty with the Lightning. In 1008 career NHL games he has scored 204 goals and 544 points. In 81 games last season Gratton scored 13 goals and 35 points in 81 games with 94 penalty minutes. His career season came in 1996-1997 with the Lightning when he had 30 goals and 62 points in 82 games to go along with 201 penalty minutes. Gratton signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers the subsequent offseason and left Tampa with the infamous Phil Esposito smudged fax fiasco. Gratton returned in 1999 from Philadelphia and served as the Lightning's captain during the 1999-2000 season before being dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in a multi-player deal that included then-rookie defenseman Cory Sarich. Gratton will assume the Lightning's third line center role next season.
Eurohockey.net reports Denis Kazionov has transferred from HC Tver to CSKA of the Russian Superleague. The younger Kazionov brother had 2 goals and 3 points in 24 games with Tver last season. The 19 year old center was rumored to be headed to North America this summer along with his brother, but it remains to be seen if both the Lightning and the Kazionovs follow through on earlier plans.
The Tribune reports the deal for "Tar-nasty" is 3 years. Wanvig, who was a second round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2001 and was MVP of the 2001 Memorial Cup for Red Deer (WHL), signed a one-year, two-way deal.
''Nick Tarnasky has all the makings of a true dominant power forward in the NHL,'' Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. ''He has size, strength, solid skating ability, willingness to commit himself to the defensive side of the game and an under-developed ability to finish that even he is just starting to harness and explore.
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.
According to the news web site Michigan Live (MLive.com), Lightning defensive prospect and University of Michigan commitment Kevin Quick has been invited to Team USA's 2007 National Junior Team Evaluation Camp this summer in preparation for the 2008 World Junior Championships. The tournament will be played in Pardubice and Liberec in the Czech Republic in early January.
Quick hails from Buffalo, New York and has just completed prep school in Salisbury, Connecticut. The Lightning has not had a drafted prospect on the USA WJC team since Paul Mara in 1998.