The Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice Wednesday night in Dallas, TX for their first pre-season game against the Dallas Stars. Five of BoltProspects' Top 7 ranked prospects, including the top three ranked prospects, will help kick off the Lightning's 2009-10 hockey season. Highlighting the Tampa roster will be 2009 #2 overall pick, Swedish blueline phenom Victor Hedman. Hedman will be joined by fellow 2009 draftees Richard Panik and Jaroslav Janus. Forwards Steve Downie and Dana Tyrell along with defenseman Matt Lashoff round out the remaining top prospects that will be showcased in tonight's opener. Forwards Blair Jones, Martins Karsums, and Paul Szczechura represent three more Top 20 prospects that are fighting for roster spots on the Lightning's bottom lines with overagers Drew Miller and Zenon Konopka.
The expected forward lines for Wednesday's game are:
Joining Lashoff and Hedman on the blueline are newcomers David Hale and Kurtis Foster along with former prospects Matt Smaby and Mike Lundin. Joining Janus in net is 2009 free agent acquisition Antero Niittymaki.
Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have re-signed right wing Martins Karsums to a one-year contract today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.
Karsums, 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, has played in 24 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Boston. During his first NHL season in 2009-10, he amassed a goal and six points. He played in 18 games with the Lightning after being acquired from Boston in a trade along with Matt Lashoff in exchange for Mark Recchi and a second-round pick in 2010 on March 4, 2009.
Players receiving qualifying offers were defensemen Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby, Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin; forwards Martins Karsums, Blair Jones, Radek Smolenak and Lauri Tukonen; and goaltender Karri Ramo. Both Smolenak and Ramo have signed contracts to play in the KHL next season.
Steven Stamkos had 1 goal and 1 assist with 2 shots on goal in 8:33 as Canada defeated Latvia 4-2. Martin St. Louis was scoreless and -1 for the Canadians with 4 shots on goal. Martins Karsums did not suit up for Latvia.
Johan Harju had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal in 13:12 as Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 3-1.
Tomorrow's semifinal matchups set up as follows: Vasily Koshechkin's Russian squad will take on Team USA and Canada will face Sweden. Martin St. Louis leads the tournament in scoring with 4 goals and 14 points in 7 games. Steven Stamkos is tied for the tournament lead in goals with Finland's Niko Kapanen with 7 in 7 games.
Johan Harju had 2 shots on goal in 16:05 in Sweden's 6-3 victory over France.
Martin St. Louis had 2 assists and scored on 2 out of 3 shootout attempts, but it was not enough as Finland upset the Canadians 4-3 in the shootout. Steven Stamkos was scoreless in regulation and overtime, but scored on 1 out of 2 shootout attempts for Canada. Karri Ramo again suited up as Finland's backup goaltender. Janne Niskala had 1 assist and 3 shots on goal in 20:23 for the Finns.
The quarterfinal round is now set: Vasily Koshechkin's Russian squad will face Belarus. Karri Ramo, Janne Niskala, and Finland will square off with Team USA. Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Canada will face Martins Karsums and Latvia. And, Johan Harju and Sweden will face the Czech Republic.