Norfolk Signs Rosehill, Kearns

The Norfolk Admirals have announced the signing of Bracken Kearns and former Lightning 2003 draft pick Jay Rosehill to standard AHL player contracts. Kearns, a center, was re-signed after playing with the Admirals last year under a similar AHL contract. Rosehill, a defenseman turned left wing, also played for the Admirals last season as a Tampa prospect under a three-way NHL contract.

Harju Injured in Practice

Norrbottens-Kuriren is reporting that Lightning prospect Johan Harju suffered a possible knee injury during an on-ice practice session with Lulea for the upcoming SEL season. Apparently, Harju went to make a turn and felt a snap in the back of his knee. The team is being cautious with the possible injury and Harju left the ice in order to get a medical examination of the knee by a doctor. No further information about the extent of the injury are known at this time.

(Thanks to BP staffer sotnos for the translation help!)

Witkowski Defers Enrollment

From a story dated June 28, the official site of the Western Michigan University athletic program reported that Lightning 2008 draftee Luke Witkowski will defer his enrollment at WMU until the 2009-2010 season. Witkowski had signed a letter of intent in November 2007.

Lawton Impressed With Lawrence, Rogers

TBL.com sat down with the Lightning's Brian Lawton following this week's Prospect Camp to get a feel for which prospects not named Stamkos raised some eyebrows. Getting special props from Lawton were Andy Rogers and Chris Lawrence.

“Chris Lawrence really surprised us, as did Andy Rogers. They are the perfect example of guys who just needed a fresh start and both responded very well. You can expect to see them in our main camp in Tampa and in exhibition games this year. We expect both of them to take a dramatic upswing in their careers.”

Lawton also praised new defensive prospect Ty Wishart acquired in the trade with San Jose for Dan Boyle. “Ty’s been a terrific surprise – he’s got such good size and mobility with strong stick and puck skills. He’s a lot further along than we thought when we made the trade for him.”

Other prospects specifically called out by Lawton include Riku Helenius, Mitch Fadden, Alex Killorn, Scott Jackson, Justin Courtnall, and Norfolk blueliner Darryl Boyle.

Lynx Name John Marks Head Coach

The Augusta Lynx announced Thursday the hiring of John Marks as the team's new head coach. The 60 year old Marks is the all-time ECHL wins leader as a head coach with a 485-412-63-32 record in 990 career-regular season games over 13 seasons with Charlotte, Greenville and Pensacola.

“[We] are ecstatic to be able to bring in a coach of John Marks’ caliber. He certainly knows what it takes to win at this level,” co-owner Robert Burch said. “We feel he’s going to be a perfect fit with our organization and our new affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning.”

Marks was set to continue coaching in Pensacola this fall until the team folded earlier this off-season. He contacted the Lynx about the job on the same day former coach Bob Ferguson announced he was leaving. Ferguson, who was the coach of the Lynx for the past three seasons, left to take an assistant GM position with the American Hockey League's Iowa Chops.

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.

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