You have no idea how hard it is for me to compliment a division rival but the Hurricanes, but they are due a lot of respect for what they've accomplished in winning the Stanley Cup tonight. In many ways their season and their run to the Cup was very similar to the Lightning's two years ago. So, congratulations Carolina and in particular Cory Stillman, whom I respect as a hockey player more than 99% of the players in this league. And condolences to Edmonton, who for the past ten or so years has been a gritty heart and soul franchise that has been nothing but a credit to this league.
All that said, next season the Lightning need to take their trophy back.
Eurohockey.net is reporting Alexander Polushin has transferred from Severstal Cherepovets to Vityaz Podolsk Chekhov. The move is the second transfer for Polushin in less than a year. With the NHL agreeing with the Russian Federation on a new IIHF transfer agreement the team will have until June 1st 2007 to decide whether or not to sign the former 2001 2nd round pick. At this juncture, such a signing seems unlikely.
TSN.ca has posted a mock draft of the top-14 picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft on June 24th in Vancouver. The only real surprise in the bunch was Artem Ansimov at 14 to the Canucks. It will be interesting to see how the Russians are selected in this draft. On the one hand, the new IIHF agreement makes it easier to get a Russian to North America. On the other, only having a two year window to sign a prospect seems to be terribly risky given how hard it can be to sign Russians who are paid handsomely in the Superleague.
In this scenario the Lightning would choose from, amongst others, Mike Forney, Niklas Berglund and Riku Helenius.
Tonight brings the final installment of our 2006 Entry Draft Preview for the June 24th draft in Vancouver. To date we've chronicled 14 players who might be of interest to the Lightning on draft day and tonight we will add two more potential prospects from the Czech Republic to bring the total to 16 players.
D Nigel Williams of the USNTDP from the NHL Combine.