The Norfolk Admirals have reassigned Lightning prospect forward Justin Keller to the Augusta Lynx of ECHL. Keller, on the third year of his entry level contract, has registered 1 assist in 3 games for the Admirals this season. Keller was Norfolk's representative at last season's AHL All-Star game, finishing the season third on the team in goals and fourth in points.
The 6â€™0â€, 181-pound forward from Nelson, British Columbia was an 8th round draft pick of the Lightning in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, making his pro debut in 2006-07 with the AHLâ€™s Springfield Falcons. His 13 goals, 4 power play goals and 24 points led all Springfield rookies. In 132 career American Hockey League games, Keller has scored 28 goals and added 34 assists for 62 points with 71 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Keller played three seasons with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. In 216 games with Kelowna, Keller scored 107 goals and 80 assists. He led the WHL with 51 goals in 2005-06 and scored the Memorial Cup winning goal with the Rockets in 2004.
Keller's addition to the Lynx should result in an immediate impact on Augusta's offense, as Keller has a sniper's touch and a willingness to play in the high traffic areas.
According to a report in the Augusta Chronicle, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltending prospect and 2006 1st round pick Riku Helenius from the AHL's Norfolk Admirals to the ECHL's Augusta Lynx. This move was not unexpected as Helenius had been a healthy scratch for both of Norfolk's season opening games last weekend behind goaltenders Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna.
Helenius joins Tampa defensive prospect Kevin Quick who was reassigned last week, and the Lynx expect Helenius' arrival by as early as noon on Thursday. The Lynx open their 2008-09 season at home Friday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
This season might prove to be a challenge for the Lynx with a relatively young and inexperienced roster comprised of nine rookies and seven more 2nd year pros. No player on the Lynx roster qualifies as an ECHL veteran of 250 professional games.
Norfolk General Manager Mike Butters announced Thursday that forward Mitch Fadden would not be signed and was returned to WHL Lethbridge. Fadden, who had 89 points in 72 games last year for Lethbridge, was thought to be a lock for an NHL contract this summer. Prior to the new ownership taking over in Tampa, then-Lightning general manager Jay Feaster told Bolt Prospects it was his intention to get Fadden signed this summer, though they were not under any deadline to do so.
The St. Pete Times is reporting is reporting that prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik has been reassigned to the Norfolk Admirals. Mihalik was a training camp surprise, making the season opening Tampa roster ahead of several other blueliners including Andrew Hutchinson and Matt Smaby. Mihalik received praise from Lightning head coach Barry Melrose in his NHL debuts in Prague.
Mihalik's reassignment comes amid speculation that the Bolts might be interested in claiming Calgary Flames veteran defenseman Rhett Warrener off of waivers or signing free agent defensmen Bryan Berard, as the Lightning traded blueliner Shane O'Brien to Vancouver for Lukas Krajicek earlier today. Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger, listed as a non-roster player prior to the opener, might be ready to return to action as he continues to re-hab his off-season surgically repaired shoulder.
As expected, goaltender Karri Ramo has been assigned to AHL Norfolk after returning from Prague where he accompanied the Lightning for the first two games of the regular season. Ramo, who was excellent in the preseason, was penciled in for Norfolk ever since the Bolts signed veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig July 1. Ramo was recalled from Norfolk on December 19 of last year and never returned. He played 22 games for the Lightning last season, going 7-11-3 with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage. (source: tampabaylightning.com)