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.

Polushin Starts Strong for Severstal

Alexander Polushin is already starting to answer his critics with strong play in his tryout with Severstal Cherepovets after he was let go by CSKA a month ago. Alex Beleshenko of [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/article.php?article_id=329&anchor=Main]Russianprospects.com reports that Severstal Cherepovets won the LenVo Superleague preseason tournament[/url] last week going 4-0-1 in five contests to secure top on the table. Coach Plyuschev, who coached Alex Polushin to World Junior Championship gold is following a proven formula reuniting Polushin with former Team Russia linemate and Calgary Flames prospect Yuri Trubachev. Polushin started the tournament with a goal and two assists in it's first three games and he and Trubachev's three points in five tournament games put them one off the tournament best pace of four points set by three other players including Detroit prospect Igor Grigorienko. The LenVo tournament this year featured Severstal Cherepovets, SKA St. Petersburg, Moscow Dynamo and Sibir Novosibirsk of the Russian Superleague as well as Finnish SM-liiga club Espoo Blues.

Lightning Invite Boisclair to Traverse City

Boltprospects has received confirmation from the Tampa Bay Lightning that Maxime Boisclair of the Chicoutimi Sangueneens of the QMJHL has signed a tryout contract with the team for the Traverse City prospect tournament. Boisclair, who turned 20 in February, finished 4th in the QMJHL in scoring this season tallying 51 goals, 57 assists and 108 points. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Boisclair has always been known as a fiesty agitator who plays a very physical game along the wall and isn't afraid to drop the gloves when called upon. This year, however, he showed he possesses some skill as well by eclipsing his previous best season point total by 72 points while leading Chicoutimi into the QMJHL finals with 17 points in 17 playoff games. A good Traverse City camp by Boisclair could propel him into becoming this year's Andre Deveaux and earn him a contract and a spot with the Springfield Falcons.

Lightning Sign Four Prospects

The Lightning today [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?category=3&pressreleaseID=1111]announced the signings of D Timo Helbling, D Brady Greco, D/W Brandon Elliot and LW Mitch Fritz.[/url]
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