The Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice Wednesday night in Dallas, TX for their first pre-season game against the Dallas Stars. Five of BoltProspects' Top 7 ranked prospects, including the top three ranked prospects, will help kick off the Lightning's 2009-10 hockey season. Highlighting the Tampa roster will be 2009 #2 overall pick, Swedish blueline phenom Victor Hedman. Hedman will be joined by fellow 2009 draftees Richard Panik and Jaroslav Janus. Forwards Steve Downie and Dana Tyrell along with defenseman Matt Lashoff round out the remaining top prospects that will be showcased in tonight's opener. Forwards Blair Jones, Martins Karsums, and Paul Szczechura represent three more Top 20 prospects that are fighting for roster spots on the Lightning's bottom lines with overagers Drew Miller and Zenon Konopka.
The expected forward lines for Wednesday's game are:
Joining Lashoff and Hedman on the blueline are newcomers David Hale and Kurtis Foster along with former prospects Matt Smaby and Mike Lundin. Joining Janus in net is 2009 free agent acquisition Antero Niittymaki.
Vasily Koshechkin allowed 5 goals on 32 shots in Togliatti's 5-4 overtime loss to Yaroslavl.
Dimitry Kazionov was scoreless with 3 shots on goal in 12:29 in Kazan's 1-0 overtime win over KHK MVD.
Johan Harju was -2 with 2 shots on goal in Dynamo Moscow's 5-4 win over Astana. Harju's teammate Linus Omark got his first point in the KHL assisting on the game winning goal. Harju was 64% on draws in the match.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 28 shots in Omsk's 5-4 win over Dynamo Riga.
Tomorrow Denis Kazionov and Ekaterinburg square off with St. Petersburg.
Denis Kazionov was scoreless with 2 shots on goal in 14:17 as Ekaterinburg fell to Cherepovets 4-1.
Tomorrow will be a heavy slate for the Lightning's Russian prospects. Vasily Koshechkin and Togliatti take on Yaroslavl. Dimitri Kazionov and Kazan face KHK MVD. Johan Harju and Dynamo Moscow will face Astana. And, finally, Karri Ramo and Omsk will face Dynamo Riga.
Lost in the excitement of the opening of camp...
(Tampa Bay Lightning release) The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have re-signed LW Radek Smolenak to a one-year contact today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.
Josef Stumpel scored a goal with just nine seconds remaining in overtime to spoil Karri Ramo's Russian debut as Omsk fell to Astana 1-0. Ramo stopped 17 of 18 shots in the match.
Vasily Koshechkin stopped 33 of 36 shots as Togliatti defeated KHK MVD.
Dimitry Kazionov was -2 in 12:20 of ice time as Kazan fell to Spartak Moscow 4-1.
In other news, prospect Denis Kazionov has moved from Khabarovsk to Ekaterinburg. He was -1 in his debut with the club yesterday in the team's 3-1 loss to Magnitogorsk. He played 12:14 in the match. The younger Kazionov and Ekaterinburg will face off with Cherepovets tomorrow.
Johan Harju was scoreless in 15:55 of ice time as Dynamo Moscow fell to CSKA 3-2 in overtime in Harju's Russian debut. Harju, who was versatile in his time in the Swedish Elitserien, played center today and was 53% on draws.
Linus Omark was also scoreless in the match for Dynamo. Among Harju's other Dynamo teammates are former Lightning properties Dimitry Afanasenkov and Vadim Epanchintsev. Afanasenkov had a goal in the match.
Erik Erlendsson is reporting that the Norfolk Admirals head coach Darren Rumble said that former Lightning prospect forward Justin Keller will attend the 2009 Admirals training camp as a professional tryout. The 2004 8th round pick by Tampa was not tendered a qualifying offer this June by Bolt GM Brian Lawton after his three-year entry-level rookie contract expired. Keller was just one of two Lightning players under contract that was not invited to the 2008 training camp in Tampa. Keller subsequently started the 2008-09 season playing for the now defunct August Lynx (ECHL) but was recalled to Norfolk after just four games behind four goals and an assist. Keller went on to score career high 18 goals and 37 points in just 58 games for the Admirals.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have inked prospect forward Radek Smolenak to a one year contract pending the receipt of a document from the KHL indicating his freedom from any contractual obligations. The gritty Czech winger, dubbed with the nickname "Smoke", signed a contract with a KHL team for the 2009-10 season back in May after his three-year entry-level contract with the Lightning had expired. However, Smolenak was recently cut from his KHL team during its exhibition season reportedly due to the team's limited number of import player roster slots. Tampa had retained Smolenak's NHL rights in June by filing a qualifying offer to the player. It seemed a contract was imminent when Smolenak's name appeared on the Lightning's 2009 training camp roster on Wednesday.
Stay tuned for more details as this story develops.
Training camp is just around the corner for the Lightning, and in about a month they'll be dropping the puck on the 2009-2010 NHL season. But, for Lightning prospect followers the season starts Thursday, September 10, when Dimitri Kazionov and Kazan square off with Yaroslavl. It will be Bolt Prospects' fifth season of covering the team's prospects, and one of the most interesting in the past half decade. Here's a quick preview of the year ahead: