Erik Erlendsson is reporting that the Norfolk Admirals head coach Darren Rumble said that former Lightning prospect forward Justin Keller will attend the 2009 Admirals training camp as a professional tryout. The 2004 8th round pick by Tampa was not tendered a qualifying offer this June by Bolt GM Brian Lawton after his three-year entry-level rookie contract expired. Keller was just one of two Lightning players under contract that was not invited to the 2008 training camp in Tampa. Keller subsequently started the 2008-09 season playing for the now defunct August Lynx (ECHL) but was recalled to Norfolk after just four games behind four goals and an assist. Keller went on to score career high 18 goals and 37 points in just 58 games for the Admirals.
The Tampa Bay Lighting announced the roster for their 2009 training camp on Wednesday. Camp is scheduled to start Saturday, September 12.
The roster includes six of the seven 2009 draft picks including Victor Hedman, Carter Ashton, and Richard Panik. The roster also includes prospect forward Radek Smolenak, who had planned to play the 2009-10 season in the KHL but had been recently cut from that team. The Lightning had retained Smolenak's NHL rights, and it has been rumored that Tampa is still interested in getting the gritty winger under contract.
Finally, as reported earlier today by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the roster includes free agent tryout Brett McLean. The 31 year old veteran forward had his $1.7M salary bought out by the Florida Panthers on June 29th, and is looking to impress the Lighting enough to earn a contract.
According to a story in the Daily Graphic/Central Plains Herald out of Manitoba, Portage Terriers goaltender Bryan Mountain has received an invitation to attend the Lightning rookie and prospect camp in mid-July. Mountain, who backstopped the Terriers to a second-straight MJHL Championship in 2008-09, will suit up for the Northeastern University Huskies next season, an NCAA Division 1 school out of Boston.
There's a similar story on the Portage team web site regarding Mountain's camp invitation complete with photos of the goaltender receiving the Turnbull Trophy as the MJHL playoffs top goaltender.
Lightning prospects Dana Tyrell and Dustin Tokarski are two of 38 players invited by Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League to Canada's National Junior selection camp from Dec.11-15 at the SBP Arena in Ottawa, Ont., and the Robert-Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Que.
Tyrell previously attended Canada's summer camp in 2007, and Tokarski attended the 2008 summer camp. Neither has world junior experience.
Tokarski joins Chet Pickard (Tri-City [Nashville]), Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants [San Jose]) and Jake Allen (Montreal [St. Louis]) as possible goaltenders for Team Canada - a role with much fanfare and criticism.
Tyrell is currently 12th in the WHL in scoring with 18 goals and 17 assists in 27 games. The Prince George captain is versatile enough to play on all four lines and plays a high-character physical game, which could help his chances of making the team.
Tokarski is second in the entire CHL in shutouts (tie-3), is second in save percentage (.937) to the OHL's Mike Murphy of Bellville [Carolina], and is fourth in the CHL in goals against average (2.02, second in WHL). He backstopped the Spokane Chiefs to the 2008 WHL and Memorial Cup championships, earning Memorial Cup MVP honors in the process. He also led his Prince Albert Mintos to the prestigious Telus Cup national midget championship two years ago with a 61 save performance in triple overtime in the final game.
The last Lightning draftee to play for Team Canada's WJC squad was Brad Richards in 2000. Steven Stamkos played for the Canadians last year but was not yet drafted by the Lightning. Stamkos is eligible to play again this year, but it is highly unlikely the rookie will leave the NHL to do so.