Lightning Sign Four for Springfield

Milley
The Tampa Bay Lightning signed four players August 18 that will likely spend the majority of the 2005-06 season with AHL Springfield. Returning to the Falcons are 2004-05 Springfield MVP goalie Brian Eklund, center Jason Jaspers, and late-season acquisition right wing Jim Campbell. Also joining the Falcons is former OHL scoring star Norm Milley (pictured), a right winger who hails from the Buffalo Sabres organization.

Lightning Pull Offer to Alexeev

Tom Jones of the St. Pete Times reports [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2005/08/17/Lightning/275M_for_Vinny.shtml]the Lightning have pulled their contract offer to prospect winger Nikita Alexeev off the table.[/url] Alexeev, who reportedly just signed a deal to play for Superleague club Avangard Omsk, is expected to play in his native Russia this season.

Lightning to Carry Roster of 20

Jay Feaster announced during today's press conference to mark the signing of Vincent Lecavalier's four year deal with the club that the team intends to carry a roster of the minimum 20 players. For the Lightning's prospects this likely means only the #6 defenseman spot will be available for Lightning youth looking to make the team. It also will likely squeeze center Eric Perrin out of a roster spot, perhaps fueling rumors he is planning to return to Europe this season.

Ramo in Lake Placid

Saturday brought to a close [url=http://www.usahockey.com/international/main_site/main/home/05eval_scorers_goal///]USA Hockey's U-20 junior evaluation camp[/url] and it's four team round robin featuring a split squad of American juniors going up against U-20 teams from Finland and Sweden. Finland's team happened to feature Lightning goaltending prospect Karri Ramo, who lost what essentially amounted to two one goal games. In the opening game of the tournament Ramo stopped 32 of 36 shots before USA Blue tacked on an empty net goal to skate away with a 5-3 win. In the final game of the tournament, Ramo stopped 31 of 34 shots losing a tight 3-2 decision to USA White. Ramo's tandem mate Aleksis Ahlqvist started the other two games of the tournament falling 4-0 to USA White and 5-0 to USA Blue. Finland finished last in the tournament with the most anemic offensive attack of the round robin managing to scratch out only 5 goals of support in 4 games for their netminders. Ramo will now return to SM-liiga club HPK where he is expected to backup Miika Wiikman this season. He should also be considered a strong favorite to make Team Finland for this year's World Junior Championships behind Ilves' Tuukka Rask.

Lightning Traverse City Camp Roster

Boltprospects exclusive! Correspondant Chad Schnarr has managed to get a copy of the Lightning's Traverse City camp roster from Head Scout Jake Goertzen:

Did Alexeev Sign a Contract Without an Agent?

Boltprospects staff member Chad Schnarr has learned from the Tampa Bay Lightning that neither they nor Nikita Alexeev's agent knows about his reported signing with Avangard Omsk. Both parties are awaiting official confirmation of the signing. The question now becomes: Did Nikita Alexeev sign a contract with Omsk without an agent? Also, Boltprospects has learned that despite overtures from the Lightning Matt Smaby has decided to stay in school at North Dakota.

But/Kazionov Make Initial Team Russia Roster for Ceske Pojistovna Tournament

Team Russia [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/tournament.php?tour_id=2006014&anchor=Main]has announced it's initial roster for the Czech leg of the EuroTour[/url] and it features two Tampa Bay Lightning prospects: LW Anton But and C Dimitry Kazionov.

Erlendsson Speculates Lightning May Go With Rookies On D

In his Friday column Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBD8PES9CE.html]speculated the team's cap situation may force the Lightning to carry one or two rookie defensemen on the roster on opening night.[/url] That's a pretty fair expectation and at the very minimum I suspected the Lightning would put one of the rookies into the #7 defenseman slot at the league minimum for economic reasons. Erlendsson lists several prospects as potential options and, in particular, highlights Swiss stay-at-home defenseman Timo Helbling. Helbling, you might remember, checked in at #5 on my personal list of overage Lightning prospects. Here's my handicapping of the situation:

Alexeev Signs... With Avangard Omsk

Russianprospects.com is reporting [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/tournament.php?tour_id=2006011&anchor=Main]Nikita Alexeev has signed a one-year deal with Russian Superleague club Avangard Omsk.[/url] Alexeev had been training with Omsk under a tryout contract for the last month but the Lightning have extended a qualifying offer to Nikita and it appeared he would be returning to North America this season. However, with Alexeev signing a deal in Russia it may be fair to speculate if Alexeev doesn't win an NHL spot out of camp he may bolt North America rather than play another season in the AHL. Story developing.

Lightning Name Corey Schwab Associate Goaltending Coach and Scout

Lost in the shuffle of the signings of Dimitry Afanasenkov, Dan Boyle, Sean Burke and Rob DiMaio yesterday is some of the [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1115&category=3]reshuffling that occured in the front office on Channelside today.[/url] Dave Heitz who primarily scouted the US prep school and NCAA ranks for the Lightning is being moved to Full Time Professional Scout to compensate for the loss of Rick Patterson to Anaheim. Also impacting the scouting and development ranks is the hiring of former Lightning goaltender Corey Schwab as Associate Goaltending Coach and Scout. The move makes strategic sense for a Lightning team that just signed two raw rookie prospects in Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman who will need hands on guidance Jeff Reese probably won't have time to provide while attending to John Grahame as he assumes the full-time starting role for the first time in Tampa.
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