Long time readers of the website know that the staff here at Bolt Prospects has a bit of a chequered past with that other hockey prospects website, Hockeysfuture. Without getting to deep into the specifics, after years of myself, Chad and Tim working the Lightning page on that website we as a group had a falling out with management over what seemed to us to be obvious bias in their decision making process against us and the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't something that happened overnight and we didn't leave all at once but eventually Tim had the idea to start a blog and we seized on it and started making plans. The rest, as they say, is history.
Long time readers of this website also know that we've never been afraid to call out Hockeysfuture for what we've seen as continuing bias in the product over at that website. One of the most obvious points of contention we had with HF was their refusal for almost two years to assign a writer to cover the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't until shortly after the Lightning internet community responded strongly to an incident in which a high ranking HF writer called prospects Blair Jones and Justin Keller trash and Bolt Prospects' subsequent smackdown of said writer that HF finally conceded and assigned longtime writer and all around standup guy Phil Laugher to cover the team's prospects. Laugher earned his street cred with the Lightning fan base when he apologized publicly to Lightning fans about a year prior when HF released a set of rankings that had NHL regular Paul Ranger 9th in the organization, soon-to-be NHL regular Nick Tarnasky 19th in the organization, and Keller and Russian superprospect Vasily Koshechkin out of the rankings altogether.
Under Laugher, it has been our website's opinion that the product on HF has improved by leaps and bounds. Considering he's been struggling upstream against an online editor who clearly has ulterior motives, their site has actually become tolerable over the last year. As such, we've had an unofficial truce with HockeysFuture over the past 14 or so months. Unfortunately, Phil didn't write the horribly divorced from reality draft review HF just put out for the Lightning, a piece so bad I got multiple e-mails from the Bolt Prospects staff within moments of their reading it. Considering their strong negative reaction to the article, I'm afraid we as a site have to respond.
Now, admittedly I have no idea who Elisa Hatch is. And let me just say ahead of time, it's not her fault Hockeysfuture's editors and management decided to put her in a difficult situation and its not her fault they offered her so little editorial support in the course of writing this article. Nearest as I can tell this is Hatch's first solo article at HF and unfortunately, without knowledgable editors who actually care about the subject matter, the quality of the work suffered.
Bottom line: several of the contentions of the article are diametrically opposed to the professional opinions of several reputable scouting outlets including the Lightning's scouting staff, THN, Red Line Report and the NHL Central Scouting Service. You don't have to take it from us that the article is flawed. Take it from those other professionals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Paul Ranger to a three-year contract, Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced. Ranger, 22, appeared in 72 games for the Lightning in 2006-07, recording four goals, 24 assists and 42 penalty minutes. He ranked third among Lightning defensemen in goals and points.
â€œPaul Ranger is a very good young hockey player who should only continue to develop and get better,â€ Feaster said. â€œHe has played some important minutes for us over the past two seasons and we expect he will be called on even more in the upcoming campaign. Now that he has become a regular NHL player, we look forward to him continuing to develop all aspects of his game, including contributing more to the team's offense. We are thrilled to have him under contract for the next three years.â€
According to Chris Heisenberg's 2007 NCAA Hockey Recruiting Page, Lightning 2007 3rd round pick Luca Cunti has pledged his commitment to the St. Cloud State University Huskies of the WCHA for next season.
The St. Cloud Times reported on Saturday that Cunti did indeed commit to the Huskies. However, this is presuming Cunti can negotiate all the paperwork for the NCAA Clearinghouse in time.
In the event he doesnâ€™t join the Huskies this fall, he remains on the protected list for the USHLâ€™s Chicago Steel.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mike Lundin to a two-year, entry level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Lundin, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, spent the 2006-07 season with the University of Maine Black Bears. During his senior year he played in all 40 games and scored six goals with a total of 20 points. He tied for the team lead in goals by a defenseman and ranked second in points by defensemen. Lundin scored five goals on the power play and ranked first on the team among defensemen, tied for sixth overall. He set career highs for goals, points and power-play goals.
Despite an attempt by the Lightning to sign 2007 sixth round pick Johan Harju and bring him North America this summer, Bolt Prospects has learned that the forward has elected to stay in the Swedish Elite League for another year.
Harju, an overage draftee at 21 years of age, was thought to be a strong possibility for the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Harju had 12 goals, 10 assists and 22 points in 55 games for Lulea of the SEL last season. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said the forward was extended a contract offer, but Harju wants to stay in Sweden for at least one more year.
Three players drafted by the Lightning last month have been placed on protected lists for USHL clubs.
Sunday, July 1 was a USA Hockey roster cut down date and USHL teams, which had been carrying 30-man active rosters at the time, had to cut down to 25 players. USHL teams will be allowed to carry 25 players until the final reduction date of September 30 when they have to drop down to their 23-man active roster.
Russian Hockey Digest's Yura Zyuzin has released his site's Top-20 Most NHL Ready Russian Prospects. Checking in at 9th on the list is Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin while in 18th is hulking winger Evgeny Artyukhin.
Kudos to Zyuzin for using Artyukhin's Bolt Prospects administered "R2" nickname in his report.
The Burlington Free Press is reporting Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis has been named part of the University of Vermont's 2007 Athletic Hall of Fame class. The ceremony will be held October 6.
Among the seven named were former Bolt Eric Perrin and Boston Bruin Tim Thomas.
St. Louis, Perrin and Thomas were the cornerstones of UVM's most successful men's hockey teams. They led the Catamounts to UVM's onle ECAC Division I regular season title and to the Frozen Four of the NCAA Division I tournament, where they lost a controversial double-overtime game to Colorado College.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Dan Jancevski to a one-year, two-way contract and have re-signed defenseman Mike Egener to a one-year, two-way contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Jancevski, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound native of Windsor, Ontario, played in all 80 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2006-07 and helped them to the 2007 Calder Cup championship. He recorded seven goals (five power-play), 31 points, and a plus-22 rating during the regular season. He ranked first among defensemen and second on the team in plus/minus rating. He played in 22 games for the Bulldogs during their championship playoff run, ranking second on the team in scoring with three goals and 14 points. He also scored twice on the power play.
Sad news out of Johnstown, PA today as Jim Weber, operator of the Johnstown Chiefs franchise, announced today he is pulling out of his role as part-owner. Johnstown, which dissolved its relationship with the Lightning at the end of last season, has been in dangerous financial straits for the past few seasons as dwindling attendance coupled with an unfavorable concessions agreement with the small and aging Cambria County War Memorial Arena. Weber, who owns a 40% minority stake in the team, cited recent losses in his own personal financial fortune as the reason for his abrupt decision to pull out as operator.
A 50% stake in the team is held by former Rangers GM Neil Smith, who announced he intends to do everything in his power to keep the Chiefs in Johnstown. Still, it is looking more and more like Johnstown's 20th anniversary season may be its last.
The Lightning, who have already sold the small stake in the Chiefs they owned the past couple of years, have moved their affiliation to Mississippi of the ECHL which suspended operations for the past two seasons in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's effect on the Biloxi area.