2006 NHL Entry Draft Preview: Lightning Strengths, Weaknesses, Tendencies and Philosophies

[i][b]Update 6/21:[/b] I'm going to sticky this at the top of the site until draft day so it doesn't get lost. I'm also going to provide the links to our draft capsules on this page: [url=http://www.forecaster.ca/tbo/hockey/draft-team.cgi?TB&DraftID=13]Lightning Picks[/url] 1st Rd, 15th Overall: G Riku Helenius, 6'3" 202 lbs, Ilves Jr. (FIN Jr.) 3rd Round, 78th Overall: D Kevin Quick, 6'0" 175 lbs, Salisbury (USHS) 6th Round, 168th Overall: D Dane Crowley, 6'2" 210 lbs, Swift Current (WHL) 7th Round, 198th Overall: LW Denis Kazionov, 6'3" 187 lbs, Tver (RUS2) [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1143]Goaltenders[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1144]Defensemen[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1145]Forwards Pt. 1[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1147]Forwards Pt. 2[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1150]Forwards Pt. 3[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1153]Forwards Pt. 4[/url] [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/1162]Pete's Mock Draft[/url] For those who don't have the time to read the whole article, scroll down to the summary at the end.[/i]

Report: Russian Hockey Federation Agrees to IIHF-NHL Transfer Pact

According to Russian Hockey Digest, President Vladislav Tretiak and the Russian Hockey Federation have agreed to the IIHF-NHL Transfer Agreement. TSN in Canada is also reporting a signing will come on June 16. Such a signing would pave the way for prospects such as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin to come to North America this summer. The Lightning currently have 10 prospects in Russia:

Redline Report Mock Draft

Although my copy of Redline's 2006 Draft Guide has yet to show up on my front stoop, Redline [url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/columnist/woodlief/2006-mock-draft.htm]has released their mock draft online for USAToday.[/url] Redline has the Lightning selecting goaltender Jonathan Bernier out of Lewiston of the QMJHL. Bolt Prospects will have more on Bernier and all the potential 2006 picks in the coming weeks.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 5-1

Today, we finally reach the big finale of our ongoing series revealing Bolt Prospects Final Rankings for the 2005-2006 season. For the sake of tradition, we'll begin with the customary disclaimers. Bolt Prospects considers a prospect to be any player under 24 years of age on opening night 2005 who has played less than 82 career NHL games and has not played 41 or more games in any single NHL season. By those criteria, [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] have graduated from prospect status and have been moved on our prospects page to a section entitled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". Now, on to the top 5 spots on our final rankings which feature a left winger, a goaltender and three towering stay-at-home defensemen.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2005 Final Rankings: 10-6

Today, we break into the top ten of Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings. Keep in mind that at the conclusion of the announcement of the Final Rankings, Bolt Prospects will begin its 2005-2006 NHL Entry Draft Coverage by profiling a number of prospects who might be of interest to the Lightning at their first round pick, number 15 overall. Back to the rankings, a quick reiteration of the Bolt Prospects criteria. We consider a prospect to be any player under the age of 24 on opening night 2005 who has played less than 82 career games in the NHL and less than 41 games in any single NHL season. Paul Ranger, Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Craig have graduated under our criteria and are now listed on our prospects page under a new section entitled "Bolt Prospects Alumni." Now, on to spots 10-6 which feature 4 forwards and 1 defenseman:

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 15-11

Today's batch of prospects will bring us to the edge of the top ten of Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings. Prospects 16-11 features 2 goaltenders, 2 forwards and a defenseman. Just a reminder, Bolt Prospects criteria deems a prospect in any Lightning property who was under 24 years of age on opening night 2005 who has less than 82 games of career NHL experience and has not played 41 or more games in any single NHL season. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] graduated last season under those criteria and are now featured on our prospects page under a section titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, with the disclaimer out of the way, let's begin:

Koshechkin Was Almost No.8

Erik Erlendsson of the [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] reports the Lightning nearly signed Russian goaltender Vasily Koshechkin recently. The 6-6 behemoth spent the 2005-2006 season at the top of the goaltending leaders board in Russia for GAA, save percentage, and shutouts. Instead of signing with the Lightning this summer, the 23 year-old signed with Khimik. Had he signed, Koshechkin would have been the eighth goaltender under contract for Tampa, joining Sean Burke, Johan Holmqvist, Fredrik Norrena, Karri Ramo, Gerald Coleman, Jonathan Boutin, and Morgan Cey.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 20-16

Two goaltenders and three forwards comprise slots 16 through 25 on Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings. As always a reminder: our prospect criteria deems a prospect as any player 24 years or younger on opening night 2005 who has played less than 82 NHL games in their career and has not played 41 or more games in any individual NHL season. Paul Ranger, Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Craig graduated under these criteria and are no longer listed in our ranking. Instead, we have moved them to a new section on our prospects page titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, lets begin with number 20:

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 25-21

Today is the day. With the Lightning's Top Five Overage Prospects and Honorable Mentions already posted, we will now begin to unveil our Top Twenty Five Prospects in the Lightning organization five at a time in reverse order beginning with 25-21. Just a reminder, Bolt Prospects criteria deems that a prospect in any player 24 years or younger on opening night 2005 who has less than 82 games total career NHL experience and less than 41 NHL games in any one season. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] have already graduated under these criteria and have been moved to a new section on our prospects page titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, without any further adieu:

More from the NHL Scouting Combine

TSN [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=167745&hubname=nhl]has more from the NHL Combine[/url] being held througout this week in Toronto. Of particular interest: W Jiri Tlusty, who has drawn comparisons to Martin Havlat, reportedly was disappointing in both conditioning and strength exercises and appeared "soft." C Peter Mueller scores above average in all events. LW Chris Stewart, brother of Panthers 1st round pick Anthony Stewart, showed up to the combine overweight and out of shape. Surprisingly, despite his brother being and avid weightlifter in juniors, Chris' performance in strength tests were mediocre. C Bryan Little of Barrie, a Bolt Prospects favorite, reportedly showed up with nary an ounce of body fat and was good in strength drills but underperformed in the aerobic drills. D Bobby Sanguinetti of Owen Sound, another Bolt Prospects favorite, appeared lean and cut and performed well in the strength tests.
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