RW Matias Sointu, Ilves Jr. A (FIN)

Seventh Round, One-Hundred Eighty-Second Overall
RW Matias Sointu, 5'10" 154 lbs, Ilves Jr. (FIN)
Rankings: #42 Europe CSS, Red Line NR, THN #93 Overall

41 GP, 21-19-40, 38 PIM

Sointu is a very undersized but very skilled Finnish forward who scored at nearly a point a game clip this season with Ilves' Junior A team and also scored 3 goals for Team Finland at the U18 World Junior Championships. Sointu fell 15 spots from his Midterm CSS ranking, but he still might be good value in the seventh round.

D Luke Witkowski, Ohio (USHL)

Sixth Round, One-Hundred Sixtieth Overall
D Luke Witkowski, 6'2" 180 lbs, Ohio (USHL)
Rankings: Unranked

58 GP, 3-10-13, 139 PIM

Unranked by the major scouting services, Witkowski, a Western Michigan University commitment for 2009, has only recently begun playing defense. The Ohio Junior Blue Jackets rearguard is known for his skating, physical play, and work ethic. Witkowski told McKeen's Hockey he projects as an offensive defenseman.

D Mark Barberio, Moncton (QMJHL)

Sixth Round, One-Hundred and Fifty-Second Overall
D Mark Barberio, 6'1" 200 lbs, Moncton (QMJHL)
Rankings: #134 North America CSS, #36 Overall Red Line Report, #59 Overall THN

70 GP, 11-35-46, 75 PIM

Perhaps a steal here for the Lightning who get a strong defender who logged nearly 30 minutes a night last season for Moncton. Barberio is a solid two-way defender who will take the body, but there's a knock on his skating ability. Red Line projects Barberio as a #4 or #5 defenseman in the mold of Craig Rivet. THN projects Barberio as more of an offensive defenseman and even suggests some organizations had Barberio ranked as a first round pick.

RW Kyle De Coste, Brampton (OHL)

Fifth Round, One-Hundred Forty-Seventh Overall
RW Kyle De Coste, 6'2" 178 lbs, Brampton (OHL)
Rankings: #115 North America CSS, #274 Overall Red Line, NR THN

66 GP, 10-12-22, 48 PIM

De Coste is one of the younger players in this draft, so he's more of a project pick who brings a decent sized frame to the table. More info to follow.

G Dustin Tokarski, Spokane (WHL)

Fifth Round, One-Hundred Twenty-Second Overall
G Dustin Tokarski, 5'11" 185 lbs, Spokane (WHL)
Rankings: #9 North American Goalie CSS, #129 Overall Red Line Report, THN #NR, McKeen's #90 Overall

45 GP, 30-10-3, 2.05 GAA, .922 sv%, 6 shutouts

Tokarski stole the show at the 2008 Memorial Cup, winning MVP honors for the Spokane Chiefs. A bit undersized, the positionally sound, mentally tough goaltender stopped 53 shots in the Finals to defeat the Kitchener Rangers. "The Tick" split duties in the regular season. The Watson, Saskatchewan, native finished among the top goalies through the regular Western Hockey League season and was named the Western Conference championship series MVP after the Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans in a memorable seven-game series that included five total overtime and three double-overtime games. He missed being eligible for the 2007 draft by one day. He went undrafted in the WHL Bantam Draft. He led his midget club to a championship, and considering Spokane has a young roster, he could put up huge numbers on his way to another Memorial Cup experience next year in Rimouski.

C James Wright, Vancouver (WHL)

Fourth Round, One-Hundred Seventeenth Overall
C James Wright, 6'3" 185 lbs, Vancouver (WHL)
Rankings: CSS 35 North America, Red Line #76 Overall, THN #48 Overall

60 GP, 13-23-36, 21 PIM

Wright had an up and down year battling mono for part of the season before finishing strong with a good playoff run. The consensus on Wright appears to be that he is a long term project. He has good size and strength, a good long stride, and decent hands. However, he doesn't have much burst and he's reluctant to use his size to his advantage. This is a boom or bust pick. Red Line projects him as a "2nd liner or never develops" and compares him to Kris Beech. THN pegs him as a "checking forward" with the potential to become a third or fourth line shut down center.

Lightning Trade Pick 62

The Lightning have traded the 62nd pick in the draft to the San Jose Sharks.

The Lightning received a 4th round pick (117), a 5th round pick (147), and a 3rd round pick in 2009.

Lightning Select Stamkos First Overall

First Round, First Overall
C Steven Stamkos, 6'1" 180 lbs, Sarnia (OHL)

Stamkos, who has been compared to former Red Wing great Steve Yzerman by multiple scouting outfits, scored 58 goals and 105 points in 61 games last season for Sarnia of the OHL to go along with 88 penalty minutes.

Bolts Re-acquire Rights to Prospal

According to, the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-acquired the rights to unrestricted free agent Vaclav Prospal from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2008 7th round draft pick and a conditional 2009 draft pick.  The 7th round pick (196th overall) traded to the Flyers was originally acquired from the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline for Jan Hlavac.  If the Lightning resigned Prospal this summer, the Flyers will obtain an additional 2009 4th round pick from Tampa Bay.  The Bolts had traded Prospal to the Philadelphia at the trade deadline for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2009 2nd round draft pick.

Walz, Raeder to Round Out Lightning Coaching Staff?

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting former Wild centerman Wes Walz has been contacted by the Lightning to gauge his interest in a possible assistant coach position with Tampa Bay. The newspaper, citing "a source," also states San Jose Sharks scout and former NHL assistant coach and goaltender Cap Raeder could also be added - along with Phoenix's Rick Tocchet - to the Lightning coaching staff, which is expected to be headed by ESPN's Barry Melrose.

No formal coaching announcements can take place until OK Hockey finalizes their ownership transfer this week.

Walz, who has no NHL coaching experience, confirmed to the Star-Tribune that indeed he would be interested in a Lightning coaching position. "Obviously I can't officially sign a contract until after June 18," Walz told the paper, "but if it makes sense financially and the term is right, I'm very interested."

Raeder was an assistant coach with the Kings from 1988-1995, which would make him a member of Melrose's staff in Los Angeles from 1992-1995. After leaving the Kings, Raeder served as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins from 1995-1997, then as a scout for San Jose from 1997-2000, when he was named assistant coach for the Sharks. He was a Sharks assistant coach through 2000-2001, then retained as a professional scout. Raeder served as an interim head coach with the Sharks for two games between the tenures of Darryl Sutter and Ron Wilson in 2002.

The Arizona Republic reported last week the Lightning requested permission to speak with Tocchet, who's contract with the Coyotes is up at the end of the month, about an assistant position on the coaching staff. Tocchet was on Melrose's 1994-1995 Kings squad, finishing second to Wayne Gretzky in points. Potential Lightning co-owner Len Barrie played one game with Tocchet's 1989-1990 Philadelphia Flyers club.

With Lightning Head Coach John Tortorella now out of a job and watching as the coaching vacancy list shrinks (Los Angeles is reportedly interested in hiring Kings assistant Mike Johnston), and current Associate Coach Mike Sullivan communicating with the Atlanta Thrashers, it appears much-maligned Goaltending Coach Jeff Reese will be the next Bolt coach under contract to be looking elsewhere for work.

If the Star-Tribune's source is correct, it looks as if Cap Raeder could be the next goaltending-focused coach in Tampa Bay, with Tocchet and Walz as assistants behind Barry Melrose's bench.

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