Lightning Extend St. Louis Four More Years

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed right wing Martin St. Louis to a four-year contract extension today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. The contract locks up St. Louis through the 2014-15 season.

“Today is a great day for the Lightning organization,” Yzerman said. “Marty means so much to this franchise, both on and off the ice. His hard work and dedication are unsurpassed and we are thrilled that he will finish his career here in Tampa Bay.”

St. Louis, 5-foot-9, 177 pounds, is the Lightning’s all-time leader in shorthanded goals with 28. He is also second on the franchise list for games played with 703, goals with 263, assists with 396, points with 659, power-play goals with 76 as well as game-winning goals with 47. St. Louis is also the franchise leader in playoff goals with 23, points with 48, overtime game-winners with three and plus/minus with a plus-18. He is tied for the Tampa Bay all-time playoff lead for games played with 45 and game-winning goals with seven.

"Since coming to Tampa in 2000, the goals for my playing career have evolved," said St. Louis. "I have now enjoyed many team and personal accolades, the highlight being our 2004 Stanley Cup win.

"Now the goal is to lead the Lightning back towards the top of the NHL while finishing my career here. My family and I would like to thank Steve and Mr. Vinik for giving us that opportunity. I will not let them or our fans in Tampa Bay down. We'll do everything we can as a team to achieve at the highest levels again."

Bolts Deal Andrej Meszaros

TSN is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded defenceman Andrej Meszaros to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2012 second round pick.

Meszaros, 24, had six goals and 11 assists in 81 games with the Lightning last season.

This trade just ahead of the today's opening of free agency clears a significant long-term contract off the books for new GM Steve Yzerman is his reshaping of the Lightning roster. More details to follow.

Lightning Buy Out Todd Fedoruk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have bought out the contract of left wing Todd Fedoruk, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Fedoruk had one year remaining on his contract.

“On behalf of the entire Lightning organization, I would like to thank Todd for his service both on and off the ice,” Yzerman said. “As the team heads in a different direction, we wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in his hockey career.”

The Lightning have 10 forwards under contract for the 2010-11 season heading into Thursday's opening day of free agency: Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Dana Tyrell, Carter Ashton, James Wright, Adam Hall, Johan Harju, and Mitch Fadden.

BoltProspects 2009-2010 Supplemental Rankings: Post Draft

With the 2010 NHL Entry Draft completed, BoltProspects is releasing its Supplemental Rankings of the organization's top twenty-five prospects. The new rankings reflect both the results of the 2010 draft and transfers and signings that have occurred since the release of our 2009-2010 Final Rankings. To be considered a prospect for the sake of our rankings, a player must be under 24 years of age on the Lightning's opening night of the NHL season. Players 24 or over are considered overage prospects and are no longer eligible for consideration. The exception to this rule are NCAA based players, who are considered prospects for the tenure of their college careers. For the skating positions, a prospect is considered graduated if they play 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games. For goaltenders, a player who has 30 or more NHL decisions in a single season or 41 or more career NHL decisions is considered graduated and no longer eligible for the list.

Confirmed: Simek Signs Tryout Deal With Dynamo Riga

The blog Latvian Hockey is confirming that forward Juraj Simek, who has played in the Lightning organization for the past two seasons with Norfolk, has signed a tryout deal with KHL club Dynamo Riga. Dynamo Riga was also the club last season for fellow Lightning prospect Martins Karsums.

Thoughts on Day Two

Let me start by saying, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft afterglow really puts into focus just how amazing a job Jim Hammett and Darryl Plandowski did in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. To put it bluntly, they spoiled us. When you walk out of a draft with four guys who were probably among the top forty or fifty picks in the draft, it's exhilerating. But, not every year can be like 2009 or even like the 2006 draft when the Lightning used their first four picks on four pretty solidly touted prospects.

By the time the Lightning got to their second pick at sixty-third overall, the large majority of the quality known talent was off the board. That's the difference between a draft where you have three top sixty picks and another where you have just one, I suppose. So, the Lightning were going off the beaten path for much of day two to try to find potential NHLers and fill organizational needs. As a consequence, the quality of this draft class isn't going to be as immediately apparent, and right now it feels like the draft will live and die on the shoulders, or hips, of Brett Connolly.

Seventh Round, One-Hundred and Eighty-Sixth Overall

Name: Teigan Zahn
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6.01
Weight: 218 lbs
Born: 1/4/1990, Regina, SK
Last Team: Saskatoon (WHL)
Rankings: CSS NR (North American Skaters), RLR NR (Overall), THN NR (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Saskatoon (WHL), 44 GP, 0-3-3, -3, 83 PIM
Saskatoon (WHL Playoffs), 10 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 8 PIM

Scouting Comments:
The Lightning get a tough guy and some immediate help on the blueline for Norfolk in the form of ex-2008 fifth round Blackhawks pick, Teigan Zahn.

Strengths:
A former first round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, Zahn has good athleticism and has shown a willingness to contribute physically, including dropping the gloves. Also was an assistant captain for Saskatoon and has some decent leadership ability. Makes a suprisingly decent first pass out of the zone.

Weaknesses:
Skating was a knock on Zahn in his draft season and he brings very limited offense to the table. Injuries have also hampered Zahn along the way in his junior career, including a broken leg this season.

Projection:
The Lightning will, presumably, sign Zahn to bolster their blueline depth in Norfolk. The question is whether Zahn can grow beyond being a scrapper for the team. You don't get to be a first round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft if you don't have ability, but it's never translated into anything so far.

Sixth Round, One-Hundred and Fifty-Sixth Overall

Name: Brendan O'Donnell
Position: Center
Shoots: Left
Height: 6.00
Weight: 185 lbs
Born: 6/25/1992, Winnipeg, MN
Last Team: Winnipeg South (MJHL)
Rankings: CSS NR (North American Skaters), RLR NR (Overall), THN NR (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Winnipeg (MJHL), 53 GP, 29-32-61, 55 PIM

Scouting Comments:
The Lightning take a penny stock in the form of O'Donnell, who is a skilled player committed to North Dakota of the WCHA.

Strengths:
O'Donnell was one of the top twenty scorers in the MJHL as a rookie and has a solid skating stride and good vision. He's also shown a well-rounded two-way game.

Weaknesses:
Level of competition. O'Donnell hasn't played at nearly the level of many of his draft day contemporaries. He'll really need to elevate his game to make an impact with North Dakota.

Projection:
The Lightning will have a good four or five years, depending on when O'Donnell enrolls at North Dakota, to allow the centerman to develop and improve. He's a prime example of a sixth round flier the team hopes pays off.

Fourth Round, One Hundred Eighteenth Overall

Name: James Mullin
Position: Center/Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 5.10
Weight: 152 lbs
Born: 2/24/1992, Philadelphia, PA
Last Team: Shattuck St. Mary's Prep (Minnesota High School)
Rankings: CSS 165 (North American Skaters), RLR NR (Overall), THN NR (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Shattuck St. Mary's (USHS), 55 GP, 32-40-72, 26 PIM

Strengths:
Mullin can score, and that's the name of the game. He led the prestigious Shattuck program (of Sidney Crosby fame) last season in scoring when he was a teammate of fellow Lightning prospect Kirill Gotovets. Mullin is small, but he's a speedy, tenacious player, as well as a creative playmaker and a good finisher. He makes his linemates better with his style of play.

Weaknesses:
Size is a major issue for Mullin, who must add weight to his small frame. He also needs to make quicker decisions with the puck as time and space will shrink at the next levels.

Projection:
Mullin will have up to four years at the University of Miami (Ohio) to add strength and weight and could come out of collegiate play as a mid-round steal for the Lightning. He's got a long road to the NHL, but has a fine chance to be a solid contributor at the AHL level at the least. The more the game opens up, the more it favors players such as Mullin. As the Lightning's Martin St. Louis has proven, there's no substitute for heart, desire, and natural skill, but you have to have legs the size of tree trunks to make it as a small player in the big leagues.

Fourth Round, Ninety-Sixth Overall

Name: Geoffery Schemitsch
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6.01
Weight: 169 lbs
Born: 4/1/1992, Toronto, ON
Last Team: Owen Sound (OHL)
Rankings: CSS 123 (North American Skaters), RLR 150 (Overall), THN 49 (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Owen Sound (OHL), 62 GP, 4-36-40, +1, 24 PIM

Scouting Comments:
"Fine offensive skills. Next body contact will be his first." -Red Line Report

Strengths:
Schemitsch has come out of nowhere as an undrafted player in the OHL to put up 40 points last season for the Owen Sound Attack. He's a solid, although not explosive, skater who is an outstanding passer of the puck. He's a cerebral, finesse style player. Should be a good fit for Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 system.

Weaknesses:
Schemitsch is very slightly built and that shows up in his reluctance in the physical game. Seems allergic to to taking the body.

Projection:
Like Janosik and Beukeboom, the Lightning will allow Schemitsch to spend the next two seasons in junior trying to fill the holes in his game before making a signing decision. He's got a long enough frame that he should be able to put on some weight. The question is whether he'll use it to actually hit anyone once he puts it on.

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