Prospect Rankings Update

BoltProspects have updated our prospects rankings lists incorporating the new prospects in the system following the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Also, prospects exiting the system because they were not qualified or otherwise not offered contracts have been removed.

The Staff will be publishing our analysis of the Lightning's 2008 Draft in the near future.

Bolts Acquire Rights to Malone, Roberts

TSN is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired exclusive negotiating rights to forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts by sending a 2009 4th round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both Malone and Roberts are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. If the Lightning sign Malone, the 4th round pick would be upgraded to a 3rd round pick.
Prior to the NHL draft, Malone had said that it would be foolish for a team to trade for his rights as he intended to explore his market value when the free agency period opens on July 1. Roberts had quelled retirement rumors by stating that he intend to continue to play, but that he would not be returning to the Penguins organization.

#91

At today's season ticket holders event, the Times got a shot of Stamkos sporting his new jersey and number. As expected, he's going with #91, which he wore for Sarnia in junior. Get yours soon, because they'll be going fast.

Cunti Selected by Rimouski

Taken at No.17 of today's Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, Lightning prospect Luca Cunti will be joining the junior club that brought the NHL Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, and Sidney Crosby -- the Rimouski Oceanic.

At first glance, this is a great situation for Cunti, who tried to play last year at St. Cloud State University before the NCAA denied his amateur eligibility status. Cunti later joined the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League.

With Rimouski, Cunti will play on a stocked roster as Rimouski is the host team for the 2009 Memorial Cup.

Three Tampa Bay Picks Invited to Canada's WJC Camp

Three Lightning draft picks - tied for the second most of any NHL team after the New York Islanders - are listed on Hockey Canada's invitation list for Canada's World Junior Championship Team Development Camp July 25-29 in Ottawa. The 2009 WJCs will be begin December 28 in Ottawa.

Representing the Lightning will be WJC gold medal holder and 2008 first round pick Steven Stamkos, 2007 second rounder Dana Tyrell, and 2008 fifth rounder and reigning Memorial Cup MVP, goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

If Stamkos makes the Lightning as expected, it is highly unlikely he'll participate in the tournament - which he should be a lock to make. Tyrell represented Canada in the Summit Series last summer, but did not end up on Canada's WJC club last winter. He should be considered a favorite to make the team because of his combination of work ethic, skill, and the fact he can play a variety of positions and roles. Finally, Tokarski is one of four goalies (three from the WHL) in camp. He joins Nashville first rounder (2008) Chet Pickard, St. Louis second rounder (2008) Jake Allen, and San Jose seventh rounder (2007) Tyson Sexsmith.

The New York Islanders have the most representatives in the 45-player camp with 5.

Canada's Full Camp Roster

Boutin, Egener, Others Not Qualified

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning has tendered qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Craig, Justin Fletcher, and Jay Rosehill, thus retaining the club's rights on these players.

Qualifying offers were not tendered to former second round pick Mike Egener, goaltender and former third rounder Jonathan Boutin, Zbynek Hrdel, Marek Kvapil, Ryan Munce, and recently acquired defenseman Mario Scalzo Jr., making them unrestricted free agents. Kvapil and Scalzo, along with Stanislav Lascek, had already signed contracts to play with European teams next season.

For more information, including news of a possible new contract for Vincent Lecavalier and Marc Denis' buyout, click here.

Lawton Named VP of Hockey Operations

TSN is reporting former NHL player and player agent Brian Lawton has been named the new vice president of hockey operations for the Lightning. Citing sources, TSN states Lawton will oversee all aspects of Tampa Bay's hockey operations for new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

General Manager Jay Feaster will reportedly remain with the club as part of the management team.

Bill Barber Resigns

Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting on his blog that Lightning Player Personnel Director Bill Barber has resigned. Barber vacates the role after six years with the club.

Shoes keep dropping.

Report: Rumble To Be Named Head Coach of Admirals

The Springfield Republican is reporting that former Lightning defenseman and Norfolk Admirals assistant coach Darren Rumble will be named the head coach of the Norfolk Admirals this week. Rumble had been told earlier this summer his contract with the Lightning would not be renewed, but after an interview in Los Angeles with new owner Oren Koules it appears Rumble is now the front runner to become Norfolk's new bench boss.

Melrose Introduced as Lightning Head Coach

Today the Tampa Bay Lightning announced Barry Melrose as the sixth head coach of the club. The announcement was made by new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

“We are very pleased that Barry signed on to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning,” Barrie and Koules said in a joint statement. “We believe Barry offers just what this team needs and it starts with his ability to get all 20 players pushing in the same direction and playing at 100 percent night-in, night out. We like his enthusiasm and passion for the game and we know the fans of Tampa Bay will take a liking to him.”

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