Lightning training camp is still a few weeks off with the regular season set to begin on October 9th. But, here at BoltProspects, the prospect season begins Wednesday, September 8th, when KHL defending champs Ak Bars Kazan square off with UHC Dynamo Moscow, which is a new club formed when Dynamo Moscow and KHK MVD merged this offseason. Kazan features 2002 Lightning draft pick Dmitri Kazionov, while Dynamo is now the home of former Lightning draft pick Ruslan Zainullan.
The 2010-2011 season will be BoltProspects' sixth season covering the future of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. The staff of BoltProspects would like to thank our readers and express our excitment to start yet another season.
The blog Latvian Hockey is reporting forward Juraj Simek has been released from his tryout with KHL club Dynamo Riga. Simek, who scored a career high 21 goals and 36 points last season with Norfolk in the AHL, was cut loose after just two exhibition games with the team. Riga's decision may open the door for the Lightning to re-sign the speedy, two-way forward. In three professional seasons in the AHL, Simek had 37 goals and 75 points in 204 regular season games.
Latvian media outlet apollo.lv is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Martins Karsums has signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Riga of the KHL. Karsums was loaned to Riga during last season, and has had a somewhat protracted negotiation process this summer to formally sign with his hometown club. Karsums and Riga agreed last week to a letter of intent. Training camp for the 2010-11 season started today and will last until July 30.
Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed big Swedish forward Niklas Persson to a one-year, two-way contract on Friday. For the undrafted 31 year-old late bloomer, the signing marks the realization of a childhood dream to have a shot to play in the NHL.
Persson played last season for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik in the KHL, and three seasons for Linkoping before his KHL tour. During that four year span, the 6'02", 205 lbs forward, tallied 59 goals and 84 assists in 219 games. Persson won bronze medals with Team Sweden in both the 2009 and 2010 World Championships along with the Elitserian SM silver medal in 2007 and 2008 with Linkoping.
Persson told Aftonbladet, "I go over to take a place in the NHL. That is where I want to play, absolutely. I have written a two-way contract, and there is certainly a way out if I need it, but I have no other thoughts than to play in the NHL. At worst, I may play in the AHL and show that I'll have a chance. I will not leave home without an honest attempt."
"It's a childhood dream come true."