Kevin Quick Invited to Team USA Evaluation Camp

According to the news web site Michigan Live (MLive.com), Lightning defensive prospect and University of Michigan commitment Kevin Quick has been invited to Team USA's 2007 National Junior Team Evaluation Camp this summer in preparation for the 2008 World Junior Championships. The tournament will be played in Pardubice and Liberec in the Czech Republic in early January.

Quick hails from Buffalo, New York and has just completed prep school in Salisbury, Connecticut. The Lightning has not had a drafted prospect on the USA WJC team since Paul Mara in 1998.

Lightning Prospects Return to the Gulf Coast

Six weeks after more or less terminating their ECHL affiliation with the Johnstown Chiefs, the Tampa Bay Lightning issued a press release today reporting that the team has entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL. The Sea Wolves will serve as the Lightning's primary ECHL player developmental home for the 2007-2008 season. This marks a return by the Lightning organization to the Gulf Coast region and the ECHL Southeast Division, as Tampa had a multi-season affiliation with the Pensacola Ice Pilots prior to the affiliation with Johnstown.

CHL Notes

Everett Silvertips defenseman Dane Crowley was not taken by the Edmonton Oil Kings in Tuesday's WHL expansion draft. The Everett Daily Herald had speculated early Tuesday that Crowley may be left unprotected. Tips General Manager Doug Soetaert was debating over whether to protect his potential professionals - Phoenix first rounder Peter Mueller and Crowley. Mueller, who signed an NHL contract last fall, can only play in the NHL with Phoenix or in the WHL - so he was to be protected. The paper considered Crowley an "even-odds bet to play professionally" next year. At 20 years of age, Crowley can play in the minor leagues.

Helenius Signs Entry Level Deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning issued a press release today reporting that 2006 first round pick Riku Helenius has been signed to a three-year entry level contract.

The signing comes as a surprising and unexpected move by Tampa as Helenius missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. It has been speculated that Helenius may be coming to North America this fall to play in Canadian juniors, and that signing him a year early will mitigate signing risks next summer in the event he has a breakout season.

Sullivan Named Assistant Coach

Tampa Bay Lightning press release

The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Mike Sullivan their new assistant coach effective immediately. Sullivan becomes the 12th assistant coach in franchise history, joining head coach John Tortorella’s staff along with assistant/goaltenders coach Jeff Reese, video coach Nigel Kirwan and strength and conditioning coach Eric Lawson.

"Mike Sullivan is a very bright, energetic, innovative and dynamic hockey coach," Feaster said. "He has experience as a head coach in the NHL and at the international level. Moreover, he was very successful as a head coach in the AHL. He has played professionally under Torts and he shares with John a belief in how to coach and develop players. We believe he is the ideal candidate to help John Tortorella get the best and the most out of our players.

Lawrence Signs Rookie Deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning issued a press release today reporting that 2005 third round pick Chris Lawrence has been signed to a three-year entry level contract.

By signing Lawrence, Tampa avoided losing his rights as he would have been eligible to re-enter the 2007 NHL Entry Draft on June 1 had he not come to terms with the Lightning.

Koshechkin will play for CSKA if he doesn't sign with Tampa

UPDATE: (May 30) In the Russian newspaper, "Soviet Sport," another version of why Koshechkin's contract with the Lightning is unsigned was published.

It is rumored that Koshechkin wants to test himself at the training camp and sign the contract only after the camp if he will see by the results of the camp "enough possibilities for the career growth." As it was reported he wants to go to the camp without a contract with any team and after the camp he plans to sign a contract with Tampa or CSKA.

Anyway, those reports, no matter what is the truth if there is a truth in both newspaper notes, say that Koshechkin plans to try himself at least at the Lightning camp.

No Summer Rookie Camp; Fewer Prospects at NHL Camp this Year

Both Tampa Bay newspapers are reporting the number of players at Lightning camp this fall in Brandon, Florida will shrink to around 26. This will leave out as many as 28 prospects, AHLers, etc.

Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster told the St. Pete Times the plan, which could be tweaked depending on free-agent signings, will allow more intense and targeted training. He also pointed to financial reasons for the decision, including putting more of the budget toward NHL payroll.

Times reporter Damian Cristodero, citing Feaster, reports in the article Tampa Bay will not hold a summer rookie conditioning camp, but will return to the Traverse City tournament this year "only because it already is committed."

Despite Russian Report, Potential Koshechkin Contract Remains “Out of Lightning’s Hands”

While Sport-Express in Russia is reporting Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin plans to continue his career next year in the NHL and is "close" to signing a contract with Tampa Bay, the Lightning is saying not so fast.

Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster confirmed to Bolt Prospects (BP) the club’s strong interest to sign Koshechkin, but referred to the two sides even being in negotiations as “a bit of a stretch.”

Craig Ramsay Fired

According to both the St. Pete Times and Tampa Tribune, citing a team release, the Lightning has fired associate coach Craig Ramsay. Ramsay led Lightning defensemen and the club's special teams units over the past few years. He has spent seven years with the team.

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