Falcons Add Offense, Bring Back Blatny

The Springfield Falcons have signed winger Zdenek Blatny to a standard AHL contract. Blatny was property of the Lightning last year and appeared in 31 games for the Falcons during the 2005-06 season collecting 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points. “Zdenek is another player that provides us with some scoring depth at the forward position,” said Falcons President and General Manager Bruce Landon in a team release (article not on web site at this time). “Zdenek displayed a strong scoring touch down the stretch last year and has proven he can be a solid point producer for us heading into the 2006-07 campaign.”

Chiefs Sign Andress

The Johnstown Chiefs have signed defenseman Doug Andress. A former Ohio State Buckeye, Andress appeared in 64 regular season games with the Chiefs in 2005-06, scoring 37 points (6g, 31a) and earning one assist in five Kelly Cup Playoff games. The Iroquois Falls, Ont.-native also appeared in one game with the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights of the American Hockey League, and in three games with the Springfield Falcons, the Chiefs' AHL affiliate, Andress registered his first career AHL goal. "Doug is an experienced player," said Chiefs head coach Frank Anzalone in a press release. "He's strong on the power play and he enjoys playing in Johnstown. He's going into his third pro season, and with the interest in him show by Tampa Bay and Springfield, we're expecting him to perform at a high level this season." [b]8/22 Note:[/b] Today's Johnstown [i]Tribune-Democrat[/i] story of the Andress signing suggests 10-12 parent club prospects could be with the Chiefs this year. The Lightning's Ryan Belec, the new Chiefs vice president of hockey operations and assistant to Tampa Bay Lightning GM Jay Feaster, says several of the young players participating in the Traverse City tournament could end up in Johnstown.

Hockey's Future Releases Revised Top-20 Prospects

Today Hockey's Future [url=http://hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=9008&mode=threaded&order=0]released their top-20 rankings for prospects in the Lightning organization.[/url] Consider this post an open thread for discussion of the article. Personally, while I have some quarrels with one or two of the rankings, it must be said that the improvement between HF's last stab at the rankings, when they left [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] and [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] off their list altogether, and this article by Phil Laugher is tremendous. Unlike previous attempts, this list has all the major players in the Lightning organization, sans perhaps [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], in the field of discussion, and that alone is light years ahead of what HF put out in the past. It's good to see the pressure Lightning fans brought to bear on HF management had positive results and that perhaps their product is on the road back to respectability. For those wondering when Bolt Prospects' Preliminary 2006-2007 Rankings will be released, those are scheduled to be published in October at the conclusion of training camp and the exhibition season. We've learned over the years that Traverse City, and training camp, and the exhibition games rarely follow conventional wisdom and that the only true gauge of where one prospect grades out relative to another is to see them go head to head in a competitive environment. Fortunately, we're only just a shade more than two weeks away from the first practice in Traverse City when it all begins.

Lightning Add Waugh to Traverse City Roster

The final roster for the Lightning's Traverse City team [url=http://www.redwingscentral.com/camps/2006-07/rosters/TampaBay.html]has been released on redwingscentral.com and the Lightning have added Northern Michigan defenseman Geoff Waugh to their team.[/url] The 6'4" 215 lb. native of Winnipeg, Manitoba was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2002 Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars but was not signed after four years with the Wildcats. A teammate of Lightning draft pick Dusty Collins for the past three seasons, Waugh's best season came in 2003-2004 when he scored 2 goals and 14 points in 41 games. The Traverse City prospect tournament begins September 8th when the Lightning prospects face the New York Rangers prospects. Hat tip to Bolt Prospects reader Abbey.

Kevin Croxton on Blues Traverse City Roster

Kevin Croxton, an unsigned forward who participated in the Lightning's tryout camp last month, has been invited as a tryout prospect by the Blues to the Traverse City tournament. Croxton, who had one goal and one assist in scrimmages, was extended an offer to attend Springfield's camp upon completion of the tryout. The 6'3", 200 lb. right wing competed collegiately at RPI last season, posting a 14-25-39 line with 28 PIM in 31 games. He then received tryout contract (PTO) with Springfield. He posted 2-2-4 in 10 games with 0 PIM.

Lada Cup Completed

Host Lada Togliatti won the Lada Cup today defeating Nizhnekamsk 2-1. Mike Fountain was in net for Lada and received best goaltender honors for the tournament. In the other game of the day, Kazan defeated Ufa 3-1. Dimitri Kazionov was held scoreless. In the Tampere Cup, Tuukka Rask guided Ilves to a 3-1 win over cross town rival Tappara.

Back to School

Bolt Prospects has learned defenseman Kevin Quick, who made such a strong impression on Lightning management at last month's prospect camp, appears to be going back to Salisbury Prep School in Connecticut rather than join a junior team in the USHL. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said that Quick, a 2006 Fourth Round pick, also has an eye toward attending an Ivy League school in 2007, where he will play hockey. Rumors from around the internet had suggested Quick was/is being recruited by powerhouses such as North Dakota and Minnesota of the WCHA to name a few. Feaster indicated the family's decision is not final at this point, but returning to school is the likely choice. He said the organization will continue to be "persistent, but patient" with Quick as he begins his young career. The club is excited about about Quick's ultimate future, and is taking a "good things come to those who wait" attitude toward the present situation.

Lada Cup/Tampere Cup

In the third leg of the Lada Cup, [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] and Lada Togliatti were bested 4-3 in overtime today by Ak Bars Kazan. Despite the defeat, Togliatti moves on to the championship game of the tournament. Dimitri Kazionov was held scoreless for the first time in the tournament for Kazan. In Tampere Cup action, Tuukka Rask returned to action for Ilves and was beaten 5-2 by Metallurg Magnitogorsk. [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url] watched from the bench.

Tampere Cup Underway

The education of young [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url] at the elite level of European hockey continued today. Despite allowing 6 goals in his team's opening match of the Tampere Cup today against Swiss team SC Bern, Helenius got the W in penalty shots 7-6. Former Kelowna Rocket Lauris Darzins had the winning goal in the shootout. It should be noted SC Bern has several former NHLers on their roster including Sebastien Bordeleau, Christian Berglund and Simon Gamache. Ilves faces its toughest test of the tournament tomorrow against Russian Superleague power Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The third stage of the Lada Cup will also take place Thursday.

Cibak to Sweden

Former Lightning center Martin Cibak has signed with Vastra Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. Cibak, who was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Lightning this summer, had two goals and six assists in 65 games for Tampa Bay this past season. He had one assist in six games for Tampa in their Stanley Cup run of 2004. Cibak essentially lost his job with the Lightning when management decided they wanted more physical play and offense from the fourth line next season.
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