Prospal Signed to 4-year Deal

WDAE radio in Tampa is reporting the Lightning has signed unrestricted free agent winger Vaclav Prospal to a four year contract. Terms of the deal have not been announced, but the signing was revealed at this morning's press conference introducing new Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

Prospal's rights were recently acquired last week from Philadelphia for a 2008 seventh round pick, and what will now be a 2009 fourth rounder. Prospal had a career high 29 goals next to Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis last year with the Bolts before being sent to the Flyers for Alex Picard and what turned out to be a 2009 second rounder.

An official announcement will likely be released shortly by the Lightning.

"Less Than a 1 Percent Chance" Carle Will Play Hockey Again

Damian Crisdotero of the times has a more detailed story up today on defenseman prospect David Carle's condition. The Carle family still holds out hope that the young blueliner's condition may be a less serious problem known as "athlete's heart", which is a thickening of the lining of the heart caused by exercising. According to the article, it will be six to eight weeks before test results will confirm whether his condition is indeed "athlete's heart." If it is, Carle will be off the ice another three months hoping that the lining of his heart reduces in size so he can resume his career.

"But it's almost a false hope," Carle said. "It's less than a 1 percent chance, so unless there's a miracle, I don't see it changing."

Carle, via Crisdotero's blog, urged all athletes to be safe and get themselves tested to make sure they catch any potential conditions like his in time. "Lightning Gives David Carle a Gift" has a new notebook up featuring the Lightning's decision to draft D David Carle with their final pick in the seventh round today.

Sure doesn't sound like there is a lot of hope Carle can come back and play. That's a shame for Carle and the Lightning alike.

D David Carle, Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS)

Seventh Round, Two-Hundred Third Overall
D David Carle, 5'11" 180 lbs, Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS-MN)
Rankings: #60 North American CSS, #68 Overall Red Line Report, #70 Overall THN

55 GP, 10-34-44, 59 PIM

According to the Anchorage Daily News today (June 21), Carle, a University of Denver commitment and the younger brother of San Jose Sharks' defenseman Matt Carle, will have his hockey career put on hold – or most likely ended – by a heart condition. Carle told the newspaper on Friday he will no longer play the game after doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., diagnosed a heart condition that puts him at risk for sudden cardiac death if he exerts himself too strenuously. The newspaper states Carle said Mayo Clinic doctors on Thursday diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart that has been cited in the sudden death of young athletes.

The Daily News reports the abnormality was first detected in Carle's heart by doctors at the NHL's scouting combine in Toronto last month, prompting this week's visit to the Mayo Clinic.

On the Ice: Carle is an undersized puck-moving defenseman comparable to Colorado's Brett Clark. According to Red Line Report, Carle is a great skater with strong acceleration, good mobility, and good hockey sense. His shooting and passing skills are above average and he endears himself to coaches with his consistent play and willingness to do the little things. Denver is expected to honor his scholarship and make him a part of the Pioneer’s hockey program. Should Carle pull through his condition and resume his hockey career, the Lightning will hold his signing rights. However, this appears to be more of a reward pick of sorts to Carle by the Bolts.

Damian Crisdotero of the Times has the scoop on his blog.

"But general manager Jay Feaster said prospective new owner Oren Koules knows the family and the diagnosis might not be as severe as first believed. Besides Koules said, "The kid worked his whole life to be drafted in the NHL, and I don't see a reason he shouldn't be."

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.

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