Last night the scouts got an opportunity to put the class of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft to the test in skills testing in conjunction with tonight's CHL Top Prospects Game. Ben Maxwell, a center out of Kootenay in the WHL, was the big winner, no doubt improving his stock by winning the 60' and 150' dash and the puck control test. File these away. The Lightning routinely like to take players who are superior skaters and these tests are very revealing about CHL prospect's real skating proficiencies.
Tonight Paul Ranger played his 40th NHL game. That means on Friday, in Dallas, the 21 year old defenseman will graduate from his prospect status on Bolt Prospects and be officially considered an NHLer by this site's criteria. In addition, right winger Evgeny Artyukhin played his 38th game tonight. Barring any scratches, he too will graduate from prospect status next Tuesday, January 24th, against the Florida Panthers. Congratulations to both young men for reaching an early milestone in their careers. Ranger and Artyukhin will remain listed at #1 and #2 in the Bolt Prospects Midterm Rankings until we release our Final Rankings at the conclusion of all Lightning prospects' 2005-2005 seasons.
Congratulations to Norm Milley on his first NHL goal. It was very surprising to see him on the ice protecting a lead with about a minute left to go with Labarbera pulled. But he delivered. John Graham stopped 22 of 23 for the win including a Sean Avery penalty shot.
Norm Milley played 10:34 of even hockey. He had 2 hits and scored on his lone shot, pretty much a walk in for the empty net goal. Evgeny Artyukhin had his 10th assist of the season on the Lightning's third goal by Ruslan Fedotenko. He was +1 in 9:06 of ice time with two shots on goal and 3 hits. Ryan Craig played a quiet 15:21 of even ice time with 1 shot on goal and 2 blocked shots. Quiet, dependable Paul Ranger played 16:20 of even hockey with 1 shot and 3 blocked shots.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Johnstown Chiefs completed a trade today sending veteran winger Paul Caponigri and defenseman Tyler Kindle to the Idaho Steelheads. In return, the Chiefs received defenseman Jim Hakewill and and center Brad Thompson. Hakewill, a former 5th round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2001, is a rookie who is playing his first professional season after graduating from St. Lawrence University. In his senior year, his best college season, he had 4 goals and 8 points 33 games to go along with 44 penalty minutes. At 6'5" 222 lbs, Hakewill is a prototypical big stay-at home defenseman. Thompson, who stands at 6'0" 190 lbs, is also in his rookie season out of Minnesota State-Mankato. In his senior season he tallied 13 goals and 24 points and 24 penalty minutes in 38 games.
To add to the flurry of shake up moves in Springfield, the Falcons have traded RW Jim Campbell to the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL in exchange for C Dan Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh, who checks in at 6'2" 195 lbs is a Springfield native who played his college hockey at Boston University. His best professional season to date came in '03-'04 with the Houston Aeros when he had 16 goals and 39 points in 73 games. In the press release, Lightning GM Jay Feaster also reconfirmed Gerard Dicaire's recall. Dicaire actually returned to the lineup Saturday against Syracuse, a game for which he was praised by Coach Graham.
The Springfield Falcons today confirmed two of the roster moves reported by ECHL.com yesterday. The Falcons announced the recalls of defenseman Mike Egener and left wing Adam Henrich as well as the reassignment of winger Randy Rowe to Johnstown of the ECHL. The Falcons have also released defenseman John Adams from his PTO contract. There is no news as of now about any moves pertaining to defenseman Gerard Dicaire's recall.
Mired in a month long winless streak the Springfield Falcons finally opted to make wholesale changes today recalling a trio of Lightning prospects from Johnstown of the ECHL. According to ECHL.com, the Falcons have recalled defensemen Mike Egener and Gerard Dicaire as well as left wing Adam Henrich. No word as yet on any roster moves in Springfield which might involve Randy Rowe and John Adams amongst others.
The 2006 draft class is widely considered to be a dud in waiting, but the best of the CHL's prospects will convene for the annual CHL Top Prospects Game Wednesday in Ottawa at 7pm. The game will be preceeded by the all important skills competition at 7pm on Tuesday. The skills competition, since 2000, has often yielded clues to the Lightning's draft selections and the team has actively sought out players who are in the upper crust of prospects with skating ability. Past participants in the CHL Top Prospects game who had good skills testing results and were drafted by the Lightning include Nikita Alexeev (Erie, OHL), Adam Henrich (Brampton, OHL), Mike Egener (Calgary, WHL), Paul Ranger (Oshawa, OHL) and Andy Rogers (Calgary, WHL).
Jonathan Boutin has only had a couple of bad starts all season... er, make that three.
Boutin and the Chiefs suffered a terrible third period in which they allowed 4 goals as the Toledo Storm walked to victory. Boutin made just 29 saves on 35 shots in the loss. Among Lightning prospects, Adam Henrich assisted on a Brady Greco power play goal in the second period which, at the time, allowed the Chiefs to narrow their deficit to 3-2 just before the 2nd intermission. But three unanswered goals in third period sealed it for the Storm. Johnstown now drops back to a game under .500.
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
The Falcons' winless streak is now at 13 games.
Brian Eklund stopped just 25 of 29 shots before Syracuse added an empty net goal at game's end. Once again, Springfield's goaltending allowed 4 or more goals despite the defense allowing under 30 shots against.
Defensemen Ray Schultz and Timo Helbling both scored their first goals in a Falcons uniform. Schultz also tacked on an assist in his second game with the Falcons. Nick Tarnasky also potted a goal for Springfield.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.