Opinion: Why Springfield Matters More Than Ever

Today the Tampa Bay Lightning completed a trifecta of sorts [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1126&category=3]signing RW Martin St. Louis to a six year deal. [/url] Over the past two seasons, the core of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been, in my opinion, Dan Boyle, Nikolai Khabibulin, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis. The unfortunate reality of the new CBA was that GM Jay Feaster was forced to try and re-sign 4 of his 5 core players under restrictive circumstances. Given the difficulties Feaster managed to sign Boyle, Lecavalier and St. Louis, and 3 out of 4 ain't bad. This is especially true considering the Lightning locked up one of it's two most important components (the other being Brad Richards) [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1122&category=3]Vincent Lecavalier to a 4 year deal.[/url] Lecavalier's [url=http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story.asp?id=133790]reported $27.5 million dollar contract[/url] seemed to spark a lot of controversy within the Lightning fan base, however. Lightning fans asked how the team could be held together with Vinny making so much money. They wondered if the deal would force out St. Louis or possibly Pavel Kubina or Brad Richards next season. And, above all, they cursed teams like Boston and Calgary for raising the contracts of young superstars like Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla to the stratospheric heights of over $6 million dollars a season. Indeed, it's sometimes hard for me to believe a penny conscious team like Bill Davidson's Tampa Bay Lightning just committed roughly $50 million dollars to two players in the span of just a week. Is this the shape of the new NHL?

Larman Not in Lightning's Plans

Contrary to an August 23 [url=http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/Sports/2005/08/23/1184225-sun.html]report[/url] in the London Free Press, the Tampa Bay Lightning will not be inviting London Knights center Drew Larman to its Traverse City, Michigan prospects camp. Lightning Head Scout Jake Goertzen, who is compiling the roster for the camp and tournament, said the report was false. Goertzen did confirm, however, that newly signed University of Massachusetts-Amherst center John Toffey will be added to the camp roster. Goertzen also indicated that tryout forward and QMJHL scoring star Maxime Boisclair is a good candidate to earn a pro contract out of camp, citing his statistical success and work ethic, although he remains a "longshot" to play in the NHL.

Bergfors Released From Tryout

Defenseman [url=http://www.eurohockey.net/transfers/transfers.html?nationality=&country=&lastname=B&days=31]Henrik Bergfors has been released from his tryout by Brynas of the Swedish Elitserien[/url] according to eurohockey.net. In the summer of 2003 the Lightning attempted to sign the mammoth 2001 9th round pick, but contract talks failed and Bergfors soon signed with Wichita of the CHL where he had a season ending shoulder injury after just one preseason game. Bergfors spent last season with Adirondack of the UHL where he had 4 assists in 62 games.

Willis Signs With HC Davos

The Swiss website eishockey.ch is reporting [url=http://www.eishockey.ch/news/detail.asp?ID=219935]Shane Willis has signed to play with HC Davos of the Swiss NLA. [/url] Willis joins Eric Perrin (Bern) and Eero Somervuori (Ambri Piotta) in the Swiss league this year.

Falcons Sign Pair of Forwards

The Springfield Falcons [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2732.shtml]have signed C Justin Kelly and LW Randy Rowe.[/url]

Kvapil and Toffey Signed

Sportsnet Canada is reporting the Lightning [url=http://www2.sportsnet.ca/nhl/free_agent_tracker.html]have signed RW Marek Kvapil and C John Toffey to entry-level contracts.[/url]

Possible Late Addition to Traverse City Roster

Red Wings Central [url=http://www.allsports.com/nhl/redwings/stories/2005_08/RosterTampaBay.html]has posted the same roster Bolt Prospects broke here as an exclusive a week ago.[/url] However, the London Free Press [url=http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/Sports/2005/08/23/1184225-sun.html]is reporting Drew Larman is also slated to join the Lightning camp[/url]. The 6'3" 188 lb. center played for the London Knights' Memorial Cup championship team posting 13 goals and 23 points in 70 games between Sarnia and London of the OHL. The native of Canton, Michigan's career year came in '03-'04 when he posted 9 goals and 27 points in 68 games for Sarnia. Larman turned 20 in May and would be elligible to play pro should the Lightning sign him out of camp. Bolt Prospects is currently seeking confirmation from the Lightning on the late addition.

Holmqvist to Appear For Sweden In Opening Leg of Euro Tour

Sweden has released its roster for the Ceske Pojistovna Cup in September, the first leg in the annual Euro Tour tournaments featuring national teams from Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic and Russia comprised of the best club hockey players in Europe. Team Sweden [url=http://www.swehockey.se/files/{82736D90-0AFE-4404-8EA7-969920EF13E9}.pdf]will feature Lightning defenseman prospect Andreas Holmqvist of Linkopings as well as former Lightning left winger Jimmie Olvestad of Djurgardens.[/url]

Lightning Attempting to Sign Norrena

In what has become in some ways an annual tradition, reports from Sweden indicate[url=http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/sport/story/0,2789,687898,00.html] the Lightning are attempting to sign veteran Finnish netminder Fredrik Norrena.[/url] Norrena, who turns 32 in November, was selected in the 7th round by the Lightning in the 2002 Entry Draft.

Perrin Signs With Swiss Club

The Springfield Falcons will be without the services of veteran center Eric Perrin next season. Perrin, who spent last year playing for the Hershey Bears, [url=http://www.pennlive.com/sports/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/sports/1124529644225430.xml&coll=1]has opted to leave North America to play for Bern in the Swiss NLA.[/url] Veteran Falcons winger Shane Willis is also reportedly considering an offer to play in Switzerland this season. Perrin joins Lightning property Eero Somervuori in Switzerland. Somervuori left SM-liiga club Karpat for Ambri-Piotta at the end of the Finnish leagues season.
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