Bolt Prospects Alumnus Paul Ranger Re-Signs

Lightninig Press Release:

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.

“Paul Ranger is a very good young hockey player who should only continue to develop and get better,” Feaster said. “He 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.”

Cunti to St. Cloud State

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 doesn’t join the Huskies this fall, he remains on the protected list for the USHL’s Chicago Steel.

Lightning Sign Lundin

Lightning Press Release:

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.

Harju Staying in Sweden

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 '07s Protected by USHL Clubs

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.

Koshechkin/Artyukhin Make Russian Hockey Digest's Top-20 List

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.

Martin St. Louis Named to UVM Hall of Fame

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.

Lightning Sign Another Defenseman; Re-Sign Egener

Lightning press release:

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.

Last Stand For Johnstown Chiefs?

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.

The AHL Veteran Rule and the Stockpiling Admirals

Update 7/5:
According to Randy from in the comments, the AHL and PHPA have ratified the sixth veteran rule. Randy also clarifies the rule noting the 6th veteran will have less than 320 games of experience, not greater than. Karl Stewart and Bryce Lampman would both fit in under this sixth veteran rule.

Thanks to everyone for being patient with me while I get schooled up on these rules.

With the flurry of free agent signings and trades aimed toward stocking up the Norfolk Admirals roster over the last week, I think we've all had some questions about how the Lightning/Admirals will navigate around the AHL's veteran rule. I, admittedly, still didn't know the ins and outs of the rule as early as about a week ago. Thankfully, several of the Admirals fans have pointed out some of the intricacies of the rules and how the Admirals are indeed going to be able ice all this new talent they've accumlated recently.

First, here is how the rule was in effect last season. According to, teams were allowed to use up to five players with 260 or more games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level at the start of the season. Goaltenders are exempt from the veteran rule. ECHL games do not count against the veteran rule.

For this season, according to rumors, the AHL/PHPA are expected to expand the AHL's veteran rule to include a sixth veteran with less than 320 games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level.

So where do the Lightning's recent signings fall in terms of games played? The following players will count against the Lightning's six veteran slots:

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