At the end of one period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals, Pittsburgh has Philadelphia on the brink of elimination leading 2-0 in the game and 3-1 in the series. If this is the Flyers' final game of the season, Bolt Prospects would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lightning's long time rivals. Part of the Vaclav Prospal for Alexandre Picard swap made at the deadline was a conditional pick with the Lightning receiving a 2nd round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft if the Flyers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. So Flyers fans, don't look at the beat down you're catching from the Pens as a total loss. At least you're helping the Lightning's cause. Tampa Bay will have multiple second round picks for the first time since the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the very real possibility of having three top-60 picks for the first time since the 1995 NHL Entry Draft (when there were only 26 teams in the league). So, while Steve Stamkos' impending selection at #1 overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft may be the Lightning's most important single draft pick in a decade, next year's 2009 NHL Entry Draft is shaping up to potentially be its most important draft overall since 1998 in terms of organizational depth and strength.
Note that, as Bolt Prospects pointed out at the All-Star Break, about 7 in 10 NHL players who have made the league from the 2002 NHL Entry Draft forward came from the top-60 picks. The Lightning had the third least top-60 picks over the same time period with just 7. So, for the Lightning, 2009 appears to be a golden opportunity to replenish the system and augment the successes the Lightning have already had in the later rounds of the draft beyond pick 100.
The Norfolk Admirals have signed defenseman Daryl Boyle to a one-year American Hockey League Standard Playerâ€™s Contract, Admirals General Manager Claude Loiselle announced today.
Boyle, a 6-foot-1, 191-pound defenseman, made his professional debut with the Admirals on April 2 at Philadelphia. The 21-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alberta, played the final six games of Norfolkâ€™s 2007-08 season under an Amateur Tryout Contract, registering a +3 rating with two penalty minutes.
Game 4: (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 4 @ (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 1
Spokane wins Best of 7 series 4-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM (holding)
Playoffs: 19 GP, 5-15-20, -3, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Spokane completed the four game sweep of Lethbridge with a 4-1 win in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday) to win the 2008 WHL championship. Fadden was scoreless in all four games and finished the series with a minus-6 rating. He finishes the playoffs with 20 points in 19 games, good enough for fourth (tie) in the league.
Whatâ€™s Next for Fadden: The Lightning are starved for offensive production on the farm and Fadden is one of the first of a new wave of forward draftees expected to help in that area. Fadden and his representatives will sit down with Claude Loiselle and Jay Feaster of the Lightning over the next weeks to hash out Faddenâ€™s first professional contract. Once signed, Fadden will likely end up on Norfolk next season. Faddenâ€™s first step toward playing in the NHL â€“ after signing a contract â€“ will be to earn a spot in the Lightningâ€™s training camp.
Note: With the completion of Fadden's season, there are no Lightning prospects left playing this year.
The Tampa Tribuneâ€™s Erik Erlendsson is reporting Jeff Halpern's knee injury he sustained in the USA's 5-4 loss to Canada Tuesday at the World Championships is a ruptured ACL of his right knee in addition to a Grade III sprain to his MCL and a slight tear to the lateral meniscus.
Erlendsson reports the USA captain will wait 4-6 weeks to allow the MCL injury to heal before undergoing reconstructive surgery on the ACL tendon. He is expected to miss 5-6 months of action from the time of the surgery on the ACL, which means the earliest Halpern could return to action would be late December or early January.
Game 3: (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 2 @ (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 1
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 3-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 18 GP, 5-15-20, -1, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Lethbridge is one game away from being eliminated after Spokaneâ€™s Tyler Johnson (1990) scored on the Chiefsâ€™ third shot of overtime to take Game 3. Fadden, who hit a post in overtime, is scoreless and minus-4 in the series thus far. Game 4 is tonight (Wednesday) in Lethbridge.
Game 2: (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 5
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 2-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 17 GP, 5-15-20, E, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Lethbridge came within 2-1 and 3-2 of Spokane in Game 2 of the WHL Finals, but couldnâ€™t find the tying goal as Spokane put the game out of reach in the third period to take a 2-0 series lead on the Hurricanes. Mitch Fadden was scoreless for the second straight game and is now minus-3 in the series. Games 3-5 are in Lethbridge starting Tuesday.
Game 1: (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 1 @ (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 4
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 1-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (hooking)
Playoffs: 16 GP, 5-15-20, +2, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Spokane posted a Game 1 win in the WHL championship series by jumping out to 1-0 and 3-0 end-of-period leads and cruising to a 4-1 victory. The Chiefs were coming off a tough seven game series with Tri-City and Lethbridge hadnâ€™t played in nine days after sweeping Calgary. The teams meet again tonight (Saturday) in Spokane for Game 2.
Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden earned some praise this week checking in at number ten on The Hockey News' hot list for his performance thus far in the playoffs for Lethbridge of the WHL. The talented centerman is likely to be signed this summer and start his professional career next season in the Lightning organization.
For those pundits in hockey land who were suggesting that perhaps the Lightning should trade their number one pick to pursue a defenseman, or a goaltender, or some other patently stupid idea that would neglect the giant, gaping hole the team has at the second line center position, the Lightning have launched seenstamkos.com as part of an overall marketing campaign heading into next season.
Hmmmm, I wonder what Tampa Bay is going to do on draft day?
It's the most suspenseful #1 pick in a major sport since Jake Long.
After disposing of the Calgary Hitmen rather easily in the minimum of four games, the wait is over for Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden and the Lethbridge Hurricanes for their next opponent.
The Western Conference's No.3 seeded Spokane Chiefs won Game 7 in Tri-City Tuesday night 4-1 to close out one of the closest series ever played. Five of the 7 games went to overtime, with 3 going to 2 overtimes. In Game 7, Dustin Tokarski (2008 eligible) stopped 31 shots and the Chiefs scored 3 times in the third period (one empty netter) for the win. Former Traverse City Lightning Colton Yellow Horn had the Americans' goal, and the WHL MVP candidate finished the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points in 16 games.
On their way to the Western Conference championship, Spokane defeated Dane Crowley and No.6 Everett 4-0, No.2 Vancouver 4-2, and No.1 Tri-City 4-3.
Lethbridge topped No.6 Brandon 4-2, No.5 Kootenay 4-1, and No.1 Calgary 4-0.
The WHL championship series between the two No.3 seeds will begin Friday, May 2 in Spokane, with Games 3-5 played in Lethbridge before returning to Spokane for 6 and 7 if necessary.
The clubs played just once during the regular season, with the Hurricanes winning 2-1 in Lethbridge. Fadden was scoreless in the game.
Fadden is the only Lightning prospect left playing this season.