Have the Admirals Signed Brady Leavold?

The Victoria Times is reporting that undrafted junior hockey graduate and Lightning Prospect camp invitee Brady Leavold has been signed by the Norfolk Admirals to a two-way AHL-ECHL contract. There has been no official announcement from the Admirals on the signing, but new Norfolk GM Mike Butters has been busy this week signing depth players Pete Zingoni, Mike McKenna, and Justin Fletcher to AHL contracts.

After going undrafted, Leavold, a Port Coquitlam, BC native, returned to the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) for a 5th junior season and exploded for a point-per-game campaign in both the regular season and the playoffs. Playing on Kelowna's top line as highly touted Dallas prospect Jamie Benn's right winger, Leavold put up 27-42-69 in 67 games and 6-2-8 in 7 playoff games. Leavold also racked up 138 PIMs. After the Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs, the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL signed Leavold to ECHL contract, finishing this season with 3 regular season ECHL games and 2 playoffs games for the Salmon Kings. The Salmon Kings retained Leavold's ECHL rights, so that if Norfolk reassigned Leavold to the ECHL, Victoria would get Leavold instead of Norfolk's ECHL affiliate in Augusta.

Tokarski Perfect in Team Red Victory

Dustin Tokarski shutout Team White in 20 minutes of action in the third and final game of the Red-White intrasquad scrimmage series at Hockey Canada's 2009 World Junior Championships Developmental Camp. Team Red won the game 4-2 and claimed bragging rights winning the series 2-1. Tokarski was a Lightning 5th round pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in June after winning Memorial Cup MVP honors and leading his Spokane Chiefs to the CHL title. Lightning 2007 2nd round pick Dana Tyrell was scoreless for Team White in the final game, finishing 0-1-1 and 2 PIMs in the 3 game series.

Tokarski led all goaltenders with just 2 goals allowed in 3 games and 90 minutes played. Tokarski's Team Red teammate Jake Allen (STL) allowed 5 goals, while Team White's Tyson Sexsmith (SAN) and Chet Pickard (NAS) allowed 4 goals and 7 goals, respectively.

The roster for Team Canada's 2009 U20 World Junior Championships roster is scheduled to be released in December 2008.

Admirals Ink Fletcher to AHL Deal

Norfolk Admirals GM Mike Butters was busy with the pen again today continuing to add roster depth by signing former Lightning overage defensive prospect Justin Fletcher to a standard AHL contract. Butters had signed center Pete Zingoni and goaltender Mike McKenna to standard AHL contracts on Monday. Fletcher, originally undrafted out of St. Cloud State in Minnesota, signed an ATO with the Springfield Falcons and eventually earned a one year NHL contract from then Lightning GM Jay Feaster in May 2007.

Tokarski Shines; Tyrell Tallies GW Assist

Team White storms back in the second intrasquad scrimmage at Hockey Canada's World Junior Championships Development Camp hosted this week at the University of Ottawa. Goaltender Jake Allen got the starting nod for Game Two for Team Red and allowed three Team White goals in the first half of the game. Bolt prospect Dustin Tokarski entered the nets at the 9:42 mark of the second period for Team Red. Greg Nemisz scored what would be the game-winning goal against Tokarski with just under two minutes to go in the second period as Team White took a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 lead. Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell assisted on the Nemisz goal to earn his first point of the three-game intrasquad series.

Just like the first scrimmage, Tokarksi would slam the door shut after allowing just one goal, while Team Red rallied behind two points each by Tyler Ennis and Chris Terry. In the end, Team Red would fall short allowing Team White to knot up the three-game scrimmage series with a 4-3 victory.

Admirals Sign Pair

The Norfolk Admirals have announced the signing of goaltender Mike McKenna and center Pete Zingoni to AHL contracts.

Zingoni, 27, played 66 games last season for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL notching 20 goals and 38 points to go along with 92 penalty minutes. The native of Bridgeport, CT was an 8th round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

McKenna, 25, is a two time ECHL All-Star who appeared in 41 games last season for the Portland Pirates of AHL going 24-13-1 with a 2.72 GAA, 3 shutouts, and a .908 save percentage. McKenna was a 6th round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and will compete with Lightning prospects Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius for one of two spots in Norfolk.

Tokarski Opens Strong at WJC Camp

Hockey Canada's Developmental Camp for the 2009 World Junior Championships opened Sunday with an intrasquad scrimmage between Team Red and Team White. Lightning 2008 draft pick and Memorial Cup winning goaltender Dustin Tokarski started the scrimmage for Team Red. Red was a 4-1 victor over White, with Tokarski giving up a penalty shot goal to John Tavares just 28 seconds into the game after Tokarski was whistled for a Delay of Game penalty. The penalty resulted in Tavares getting the penalty shot attempt.

After allowing the penalty shot, Tokarski clamped down on Team White, stopping all of the other 9 shots he faced in the 1st period and 4 more in the 2nd before yielding the nets to Jake Allen mid-way through the game. Together, Tokarski and Allen saved 22 of 23 Team White shots as Red got goals from Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri, Chris DiDomenico, and Jamie Benn behind 39 shots on Chet Pickard and Tyson Sexsmith.

Lightning 2007 2nd round pick Dana Tyrell is on the Team White roster but did not figure into the box score.

Canada's Development Camp resumes with another Red-White scrimmage Monday night at 6pm ET at the University of Ottawa.

Stamkos Signs Rookie Deal

Jon Jordan is reporting on his blog that Steve Stamkos has signed an entry level contract for the rookie max of $850k per year along with up to $2.4 million in potential bonuses. The club has called a 5:00 PM (ET) press conference tomorrow to announce the signing from the Prospects Camp at Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, B.C.

Erik Erlendsson of the Tribune reports that Stamkos will make the base rookie max salary of $875k per year and upwards of $2.85M in bonuses.

Augusta to be New ECHL Affiliate

Damian Crisdotero reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that the Augusta Lynx will serve as the team's ECHL affiliate next season, entering into a one year contractual agreement today. The Lightning organization will provide the Lynx with players under NHL and AHL contracts. Tampa Bay will also play a role in selecting the coaching staff. The Lightning's previous ECHL affiliation contract with the Mississippi Sea Wolves expired earlier this season, and the Sea Wolves had already resigned head coach Steffon Walby to an extension.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome the Augusta Lynx to the Lightning organization,” Lightning VP of Hockey Operations Brian Lawton said. “The Lynx and their management team are committed to success and it shows by them making the playoffs in six of their 10 seasons in operation. We feel that due to the organization’s desire to win, and because of its proximity to Tampa and our AHL affiliate in Norfolk, there really is not a better option for us in the ECHL. We look forward to our prospects playing an important role in bringing the Kelly Cup to Augusta.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Lightning organization, and we look forward to working together in order to win championships,” Augusta GM Dan Troutman said. “With the aggressive moves their new ownership have pursued since purchasing the team, we feel Tampa Bay’s commitment and passion to winning is a great asset to our club. Our goal as a club is to bring the Kelly Cup to Augusta, and an affiliation with an organization with as much success as the Lightning have had brings us closer to that goal. We look forward to helping young players refine their skills on their road to the NHL.”

The Lynx play in the James Brown Arena. How cool is that?

Prospect Camp Starts Sunday

The Lightning's prospect camp - its first in years - is set to begin this Sunday, July 27 and run through August 3.

The Victoria News reports 2008 first overall pick Steven Stamkos will indeed be in attendance at the camp, along with several others, including recently acquired defenseman Ty Wishart and former first rounder Riku Helenius.

TampaBayLightning.com released the names of Lightning picks/property on the camp roster (there are 11 others set to attend):

New GM for Norfolk

The Helena Independent Record is reporting Mike Butters, part-owner of the Helena Bighorns Junior A Tier III hockey team, will be introduced as the AHL Norfolk Admirals' new general manager.

The Bighorns are also owned by Oren Koules, who runs OK Hockey - owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The newspaper describes Butters as "energetic and often boisterous," which would seem to fall in line with the rest of the new Lightning organizational ownership, which includes real estate magnate and former NHLer Len Barrie.

Butters, a 42 year-old Manitoba native, is also a former hockey player, last playing in the AHL in 1992.

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