North American Juniors

Zahn, Beukeboom Return to Junior Teams

2010 third round pick Brock Beukeboom and seventh round pick Teigan Zahn will not attend Tampa Bay's training camp this week. Both were originally on the training camp roster released to the media, but a decision was made over the course of the Traverse City prospects tournament to send Beukeboom back to Sault Ste. Marie and Zahn back to Saskatoon.

Beukeboom will join the OHL Greyhounds where he will look to build upon last year's career highs of 7 goals, 19 assists, and 26 points. The 6'2" defenseman recently was a part of Team Canada's summer development camp in preparation for this winter's World Junior Championships.

Zahn was originally drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. It was thought he was drafted by the Bolts in 2010 to provide immediate defensive depth in the organization, either in AHL Norfolk or with the ECHL Everblades. However, barring unforeseen circumstances, he will not be signed this year and will instead play as an overager for the WHL Blades.

O'Donnell Makes BCHL Debut

North American Juniors (NAJ) Game Night

BCHL

Penticton Vees 1 @ Westside Warriors 0 (9/10/2010)
F Brendan O’Donnell, PEN: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM

O’Donnell’s BCHL debut was a good one as he registered a point in his first game when he set up Joey Holka, a St. Cloud State commit, in the second period for what ended up being the game's only goal. O’Donnell had 29 goals and 32 assists for 61 points in 53 games last year for the Winnipeg South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The 2010 6th round draft pick of the Lightning and North Dakota commit was acquired by Penticton in the offseason.

Westside Warriors 2 @ Penticton Vees 4 (9/11/2010)
F Brendan O’Donnell, PEN: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM

Wearing No.91 for the Vees, O’Donnell scored his first BCHL goal on the power play in the first period to tie the game at 1 for Penticton. The Vees would later go down 2-1 but storm back in the third period with 3 goals.

Beukeboom Gets WJ Camp Invite

Sault Ste. Marie team site SooToday.com is confirming that Lightning 2010 3rd round draft pick Brock Beukeboom has been invited to Team Canada's Junior Team development camp scheduled for August 5-7 in St. John's, Newfoundland. Beukeboom will join 40+ players vying for a spot on Team Canada’s entry at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship set to be held in Buffalo and Niagara, New York.

“This is a great opportunity for me to get a real taste of the best in Junior Hockey and to prove that I can play there,” explained Beukeboom.

BoltProspects expects Beukeboom to also suit up for the Lightning's entry into the Traverse City Prospects tournament scheduled for September 11-15 in Traverse City, MI.

Brett Connolly - Rising Titan

(HockeyProspect.com) Whether the game be played at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, or at the Ice Sports Palace Sibir in Russia, many young and talented hockey players looking to enter North American professional hockey acknowledge the pressure that hangs on their draft year.

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft was no exception, as many players from all over the world came together in Los Angeles just after taking part in their draft year.

Brett Connolly of the Prince George Cougars was no exception.

To read this interview, including Connolly's thoughts on being drafted, his immediate future, and Lightning Director of Player Personnel Jim Hammett's thoughts on the pick and Connolly's health, see HockeyProspect.com by clicking here.

Will Leblanc's Situation Affect Alex Killorn?

Rumors have been swirling all week that Montreal first round draft pick Louis Leblanc may have already decided to leave Harvard University after one season with the Crimson. Montreal writer Pat Hickey penned a story for the Montreal Gazette on Wednesday claiming the speedy forward might be weighing whether to go to the QMJHL or sign with the Canadiens and play in the AHL for Hamilton. Compounding the intrigue was that Leblanc, whose junior rights were held by Chicoutimi, apparently had a preference to play for the Montreal Juniors in the QMJHL so he could also attend classes at McGill University to continue his education.

Today, at the tail end of the QMJHL Midget Draft, Chicoutimi traded Leblanc's rights to the Montreal Juniors, along with a 3rd round pick, for Guillaume Asselin and a 2011 first round pick. That will only serve to intensify speculation that Leblanc may leave Harvard. If Leblanc leaves, he will add to a list of players not returning to the Crimson that already included graduating seniors Doug Rogers, Chad Morin, Alex Biega, Jack Christian, and Ian Tallett. While only Rogers, Morin, and Biega were serious contributors to Harvard last season, it's important to bear in mind the club has only won 9 games each of the past two seasons. Losing those players and their leading scorer, Leblanc, may be a death sentence for Ted Donato's club next season.

All that begs the question: what about Alex Killorn? Killorn, a 2007 3rd round pick of the Lightning, has been routinely singled out over the past couple of seasons as being one of the team's best young talents in prospect camps but has failed to garner much publicity playing for a sinking Harvard club. If Leblanc leaves, can the Lightning allow one of their ten best prospects to languish through another potential single-digits win season at Harvard? Would it be better for his development to sign Killorn and have him begin his pro career with Norfolk of the AHL? Expect new GM Steve Yzerman to seriously contemplate that option if Killorn impresses him as much at this summer's prospect camp as he has other Hockey Operations people with the Lightning in previous camps.

If Killorn were to be signed, he'd join fellow signees Johan Harju and Mark Barberio from an already strong class of incoming pros. The team could also still sign 2009 2nd round pick Richard Panik, who just completed his first World Championships appearance for Slovakia.

Hat tip to our Chad Schnarr, who has been following this situation closely on BoltProspects' Twitter feed.

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