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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]

Draft Order Settled

The NHL has announced that [url=http://www.bostonbruins.com/pressbox/pressreleases.asp?id=1473]the Tampa Bay Lightning will receive an additional 5th round pick as compensation for losing unrestricted free agent Jassen Cullimore to the Chicago Blackhawks[/url]. With that settled, the Lightning hold six picks going into tomorrow's draft which will commence at 12 pm Eastern:

Lightning Acquire Jaspers

The Lightning have announced [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBVPG9TPBE.html]the team has traded veteran center Jarrod Skalde to the Phoenix Coyotes for center Jason Jaspers.[/url] Skalde was one of the free agent flops for the Falcons last season and played just 15 games in a Falcons jersey before being loaned to Phoenix's farm team the Utah Grizzlies in echange for Jason Jaspers being loaned to the Falcons. Yesterday's trade now formalizes each players' place in their respective organizations.

Boutin/Hrdel Sign

As expected, [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1099&category=3]the Lightning have announced the signing of G Jonathan Boutin and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel to three year standard entry level deals.[/url] Boutin will now battle with [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/145]yesterday's signee Gerald Coleman[/url] to see which prospect be next in line behind Brian Eklund. Hrdel adds some desperately needed potential scoring punch to a Lightning organization which is extremely threadbare for skill at the forward position at the minor and junior level.

Coleman Signs

[url=http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/3833156] The Associated Press and FoxSports.com are reporting the Lightning have signed prospect goaltender Gerald Coleman [/url] to a standard three year entry-level contract. The Lightning have yet to issue a press release on Coleman's signing. Given the Lightning generally like to announce the signings of multiple prospects jointly and the deadline for signings is 5pm tomorrow, expect a press release some time tomorrow announcing Coleman's signing along with Boutin and/or Hrdel.

Feaster Hopes to Sign Three by Thursday

A quick blurb from the Sunday paper: [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBBW98RIBE.html]Jay Feaster intends to sign three of the team's 2003 draft picks by Thursday[/url]: G Jonathan Boutin, G Gerald Coleman and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel. All would be elligible to re-enter the draft if not signed by that time, although the new CBA will be less favorable economically for prospects if they choose to go that route. Speaking about the goaltending prospect situation earlier this season, Feaster had hinted only one of the prospects might sign. But Boutin and Coleman both showed the ability to dominate their respective junior leagues at times last season and with the Lightning becoming part owners of the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL there should be plenty of room for new arrivals.

Traverse City Tourney Game On

Special thanks to TBL.com moderator and Lightning web community diva MissK for this: [url=http://www.allsports.com/nhl/redwings/stories/2005_07/17_Camp.html]The annual Traverse City prospect tournament is tentatively scheduled for September 4th through 19th.[/url]

NHL Draft Lottery Pushed Back One Day

[url=http://www.nhl.com/news/2005/07/230562.html]NHL.com is reporting[/url] the NHL draft lottery and CBA ratification have been pushed back a day from the previously rumored date of Thursday the 21st to Friday the 22nd. Canadian sports network TSN [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature.asp?fid=7314]will announce the results of the lottery with a special presentation at 4pm Friday.[/url]

Offseason Transfers

Big news came down today from [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.ru/main.php?lang=e] tampabaylightning.ru[/url] webmaster Alexander Chelukanov regarding reports out of Russia that Alexander Polushin has been released by CSKA and picked up by Severstal Cherepovets. With that in mind, here are some other transfers which have taken place with the Lightning's prospect system so far this summer:
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