Janosik, Schemitsch To Re-enter Draft
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reported today that the Lightning will not offer entry level contracts to 2010 draftees Adam Janosik and Geoffrey Schemitsch, thereby relinquishing the team's rights to both defensemen. Both players will re-enter the NHL draft this year, though it is unlikely either will be taken.
Janosik, a third round pick (72nd overall) of the Bolts in 2010, just completed his third season with Gatineau of the QMJHL. The 5'11" defenseman tied his career high in assists with 26 while accumulating 32 points in 51 games. He was an alternate captain for the Olympiques and wore the captain's "C" on occasion. He also represented his native Slovakia at the World Junior Championships, wearing an "A" for the team and totally one assist in six games. He had five assists in six games in the 2010-2011 WJCs with the Slovaks.
Janosik's career high for points was set in his draft year - his first season in North America - when he had 35 points (9 goals) in 63 games. He would never top either of those totals. He recently signed with Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech league, where he is expected to tryout for the professional club this summer. He "grew up" in the Bili Tygri Liberec system, playing for their U18 and U20 clubs before moving to the Canadian Hockey League.
Schemitsch, 6'1", was also unable to top his draft year point totals (4-36-40) in the two years since his name was called by the Lightning. A fourth round pick (96th overall) of the Bolts in 2010, Schemitsch battled injuries in both post-draft years, including a broken arm and multiple concussions. He had 20 points (one goal) in 45 games during the 2010-2011 season before adding 11 points (one goal) in 20 playoff games as Owen Sound won the OHL championship. This past year he was limited to 49 games due to concussions and had 20 points (two goals). He was traded by Owen Sound to Oshawa mid-season, where he broke his personal 86-game regular season goalless streak. He also had three assists in six playoff games for the Generals before they were eliminated.
Janosik and Schemitsch were two of four defensemen drafted by the Lightning in rounds three and four in the 2010 draft, General Manager Steve Yzerman's first with the Lightning. Only one of the four - Radko Gudas - ended up with a contract from the Bolts. Brock Beukeboom, the first of the four drafted, had his rights traded by Tampa Bay to St. Louis in the 2011 Eric Brewer deal. Beukeboom has battled his own concussion issues in the past two seasons.
While Schemitsch not being offered a deal isn't too much of a surprise, Janosik is a gritty character defenseman that seemed to at least have a 50/50 or better shot at a contract. Perhaps the Lightning wanted more scoring from an undersized defensemen, or perhaps they didn't think ultimately he had NHL potential. He could also be a victim of timing as the Lightning are being selective now with their contracts in light of an approaching 50-man roster limit and holes to fill. They've been rumored to be interested in Swiss star Damien Brunner and possibly bringing Riku Helenius back to North America, and recently signed free agent prospect Danick Gauthier.
In the past year the Lightning have also given contracts to free agent junior defensemen Charles Landry and Daniel Milan, who we both rank behind Janosik. However, at the time those contracts were handed out the Lightning were woefully shallow with blueline prospects. Landry has been a healthy scratch at times for ECHL Florida while Milan had a very poor statistical year for Moncton and Victoriaville.
Looking back at the 2010 draft, the Lightning have two of their eight drafted players under contract - Gudas and top pick Brett Connolly. Janosik, Schemitsch, and seventh round defenseman Teigan Zahn were misses, Beukeboom was traded, and the jury is still out on collegians Jimmy Mullin (Miami, Ohio) and Brendan O'Donnell (North Dakota), though the future looks bright for both. The Bolts will hold the rights of Mullin and O'Donnell for at least the next three seasons as they finish school.