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Blair Jones

The Lightning have completed a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for pick 102 in the 4th round. With it, they have selected C [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/blair_jones]Blair Jones[/url] of Moose Jaw in the WHL. Jones split his season between Red Deer and Moose Jaw in the WHL finishing with a combined 14 goals and 50 points in 68 games. Following the Lightning formula, Jones has good size at 6'2" 193 lbs. Jones is considered an above average talent offensively with average skating ability and was ranked the third best prospect in the WHL in Central Scouting's preliminary rankings but has been knocked for his practice habits, which may have forced coach Brent Sutter trading him from the Rebels at mid season.

Marek Bartanus

With the 91st pick the Lightning selected RW [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/marek_bartanus]Marek Bartanus[/url] of Kosice Jr. in the Slovakian league. Much like Smolenak, Bartanus has good size at 6'3" 194 lbs. and skates very well. He also has a ton of skill. At the urging of his father, who is an NHL agent, Bartanus will play for Owen Sound of the OHL next season. [url=http://www.eurohockey.net/players/show_player.cgi?serial=80822]Bartanus notched 14 goals and 28 points along with 99 PIMs and a +35 rating in 34 games for Kosice's J-20 team last season[/url] before being promoted to the Slovak Extraliga. There, he notched just 2 goals and 3 points in 24 games in the men's league.

Radek Smolenak

The Lightning have completed a trade with the San Jose Sharks to get into the 3rd round and have selected LW [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/radek_smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] of Kingston of the OHL. At 6'3" 180 lbs. Smolenak fits the Lightning mold of players with good size who skate well. He played all season on Kingston's top line putting up 32 goals and 60 points in 68 regular season games. Smolenak is painfully streaky but he is considered to have some of the best goalscoring ability in this draft, a much needed component for the Lightning.

Vladimir Mihalik

The Lightning threw a major curveball with their 30th pick and selected Slovakian defenseman [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect.php?pid=4441]Vladimir Mihalik[/url] despite indications the team was looking for a forward. Mihalik is considered a "Zdeno Chara" type defenseman standing at 6'7" 222 lbs. He is expected to play for Red Deer of the WHL next season where head coach and former Lightning player [url=http://www.reddeerrebels.com/display_story.php?story_id=738]Brent Sutter gives glowing reviews of the blueliner. [/url] McKeen's hockey [url=http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=428608]gives mixed reviews to Mihalik's U-18 performance.[/url]

Feaster Confirms Lightning After Forwards

I hope this puts into perspective a lot of the mock drafts I've seen floating around with the Lightning taking goaltenders or defensemen. [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBGZA7BRBE.html]Jay Feaster confirms in tomorrow's Tampa Tribune column by Erik Erlendsson that the team is looking for scoring forward help.[/url] He says: [i]"As we have assessed where we are in the minors and in the organization, again, the goal-scorers and skilled forwards are the guys we don't have enough of," Feaster said. "We really need to try to focus on some snipers and some guys who can make some plays."[/i]
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