Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Lightning to Carry Roster of 20

Jay Feaster announced during today's press conference to mark the signing of Vincent Lecavalier's four year deal with the club that the team intends to carry a roster of the minimum 20 players. For the Lightning's prospects this likely means only the #6 defenseman spot will be available for Lightning youth looking to make the team. It also will likely squeeze center Eric Perrin out of a roster spot, perhaps fueling rumors he is planning to return to Europe this season.

Erlendsson Speculates Lightning May Go With Rookies On D

In his Friday column Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBD8PES9CE.html]speculated the team's cap situation may force the Lightning to carry one or two rookie defensemen on the roster on opening night.[/url] That's a pretty fair expectation and at the very minimum I suspected the Lightning would put one of the rookies into the #7 defenseman slot at the league minimum for economic reasons. Erlendsson lists several prospects as potential options and, in particular, highlights Swiss stay-at-home defenseman Timo Helbling. Helbling, you might remember, checked in at #5 on my personal list of overage Lightning prospects. Here's my handicapping of the situation:

Lightning Name Corey Schwab Associate Goaltending Coach and Scout

Lost in the shuffle of the signings of Dimitry Afanasenkov, Dan Boyle, Sean Burke and Rob DiMaio yesterday is some of the [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1115&category=3]reshuffling that occured in the front office on Channelside today.[/url] Dave Heitz who primarily scouted the US prep school and NCAA ranks for the Lightning is being moved to Full Time Professional Scout to compensate for the loss of Rick Patterson to Anaheim. Also impacting the scouting and development ranks is the hiring of former Lightning goaltender Corey Schwab as Associate Goaltending Coach and Scout. The move makes strategic sense for a Lightning team that just signed two raw rookie prospects in Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman who will need hands on guidance Jeff Reese probably won't have time to provide while attending to John Grahame as he assumes the full-time starting role for the first time in Tampa.

Lightning Invite Boisclair to Traverse City

Boltprospects has received confirmation from the Tampa Bay Lightning that Maxime Boisclair of the Chicoutimi Sangueneens of the QMJHL has signed a tryout contract with the team for the Traverse City prospect tournament. Boisclair, who turned 20 in February, finished 4th in the QMJHL in scoring this season tallying 51 goals, 57 assists and 108 points. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Boisclair has always been known as a fiesty agitator who plays a very physical game along the wall and isn't afraid to drop the gloves when called upon. This year, however, he showed he possesses some skill as well by eclipsing his previous best season point total by 72 points while leading Chicoutimi into the QMJHL finals with 17 points in 17 playoff games. A good Traverse City camp by Boisclair could propel him into becoming this year's Andre Deveaux and earn him a contract and a spot with the Springfield Falcons.

Trade Summary

Here is a summary of the day's trades from the [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/content.cfm?category=3&pageid=909]Lightning draft press release[/url]:

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:

Pete's Draft Preview

The sprint to the 2005-2006 NHL season is on, and while Jay Feaster wines and dines the agents of the Lightning's current stars attempting to lock them up to long term deals I will take a look at what hopefully will become the next generation of Lightning stars and the 2005 Entry Draft.

#30

The Lightning will have the 30th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Draft preview and players of interest to come in the following days.
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