The Tampa Bay Lighting announced the roster for their 2009 training camp on Wednesday. Camp is scheduled to start Saturday, September 12.
The roster includes six of the seven 2009 draft picks including Victor Hedman, Carter Ashton, and Richard Panik. The roster also includes prospect forward Radek Smolenak, who had planned to play the 2009-10 season in the KHL but had been recently cut from that team. The Lightning had retained Smolenak's NHL rights, and it has been rumored that Tampa is still interested in getting the gritty winger under contract.
Finally, as reported earlier today by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the roster includes free agent tryout Brett McLean. The 31 year old veteran forward had his $1.7M salary bought out by the Florida Panthers on June 29th, and is looking to impress the Lighting enough to earn a contract.
This was Richard Panik's much talked-about second goal of the preseason, scored between the legs on a ricochet off the end-boards. Panik (#28 on right) had three goals and eight points in two exhibition games for Windsor before joining the Lightning for rookie camp in Brandon, Florida. Enjoy.
Buried in a blog post by Damian Crisdotero of the Times today is news that the Lightning are still considering signing goaltender Jaroslav Janus to a pro contract for this season if he shows in camp he is capable of pushing Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski in camp.
The Lightning have also hired Leigh Mendelson, ex of Spokane in the WHL, as the Norfolk Admirals' strength, conditioning, and video coach. Brian Lawton is also planning on revealing Norfolk's new assistant coach shortly. Former NHL defenseman Jim Johnson, who has been working with the team's prospects this summer, is said to be in the running. Johnson played 829 NHL games between Pittsburgh, Minnesota/Dallas, Washington, and Phoenix.
In recent CHL exhibition action:
Richard Panik (2009 2nd) had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 Windsor exhibition win over Plymouth Saturday afternoon. Panik has three goals and five assists in his first two North American games. And he's not even playing next to likely 2010 No.1 overall pick Taylor Hall yet. Panik couldn't be in a better situation. He's playing for a coach (Bob "The Boogie Man" Boughner) and GM (Warren Rychel) who were both hard-nosed, disciplined players and expect the same out of their Spitfire players. As the defending Memorial Cup and OHL champions, and expected 2010 champion for both, the Spits will be in Canada's spotlight and have targets on their backs all year. They'll get everyone's A-game defensively. This should help Panik speed his development for NHL play. Finally, he'll be surrounded by players such as Hall, Ryan Ellis, and Cam Fowler, which means he has a very high statistical ceiling. This will be fun to watch.
Goaltender Jaroslav Janus made his exhibition debut for Erie Saturday, stopping 31 shots in a 4-4 tie with Niagara. Janus can return to Erie this year as an overager, though there was speculation he'd go to Europe or be signed by the Lightning and placed in the Central League or assigned to an ECHL team. It's good to see him back with the Otters, even if it's just to get work before Tampa Bay's rookie camp this week.
The "other" 2009 Lightning first rounder, Carter Ashton, had an assist for Lethbridge in preseason action Friday.
Matias Sointu, who is making his North American debut with Ottawa this year, has one assist through two exhibition games for the 67's. Sointu missed most of last season with an injury in Finland.
The Q opens regular season play this week, so look for BoltProspects' Game Night summaries to appear shortly.
We're still about a month away from the puck dropping on another NHL season, but the prospect season begins this week when Dimitri Kazionov's Ak Bars Kazan club lets the KHL regular season out of the barn. Shortly thereafter the Lightning will open camp for one of the most interesting and promise-filled seasons they've embarked upon in some time. There are still a few finishing touches that need to be put on the work, as there will likely be some key waiver decisions and possibly another trade, but now seems as good a time as any to evaluate what sophomore GM Brian Lawton did this summer.
(Lightning Facebook page:) The Tampa Bay Lightning will hold a rookie camp in preparation for the opening of their 2009-10 training camp, which begins on September 12, at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum September 8-11.
The camp will feature two on-ice sessions per day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The camp is free and open to the public.
Rookie Camp Roster:
(Tampa Bay Lightning release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent left wing Alex Tanguay to a one-year contract today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.
â€œWe are extremely pleased to announce Alexâ€™s signing today,â€ Lawton said. â€œHe is a player we had targeted some time and I could not be happier about welcoming him to the Lightning organization. We fully recognized the need for another top six forward and in signing Alex we feel we could not have possibly done any better.â€