August 15th came and went quietly, and the Lightning did not sign prospect defenseman PJ Atherton. Despite scoring 5 goals and 29 points in 57 games as a rookie with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL, Atherton was a casualty of the Lightning's overwhelming defensive depth in the minor league system signed over the course of the summer.
With the Lightning losing Atherton's rights, he will be removed from the Top-20 on the prospect page. In his place, enforcer Brandon Elliot will be temporarily moved into the Top-20. Just a note to those wondering when the '07 draftees will be added to the rankings: Bolt Prospects policy is to wait until after the Traverse City prospect tournament and Lightning training camp before placing new draftees into the rankings. This allows new players to prove themselves in a competitive environment against their peers in the organization and allows for a more accurate set of rankings to be generated. Typically, Bolt Prospects has released its Preliminary Rankings around the first or second week of October, so expect an update containing the 2007 draftees to be published then.
NHL.com has a couple of articles out today regarding the Lightning's prospects. First up, John McGourty interviews General Manager Jay Feaster on the top prospects in the Lightning organization. Feaster gives his opinions on defensemen Matt Smaby, Andy Rogers, and Vladimir Mihalik, forward Blair Jones, and goaltenders Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius.
Next up Shawn P. Roarke interviews Helenius from the Team USA Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Helenius talks about leaving Finland behind to join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.
Lost in the shuffle of today's surprise sale announcement, the AHL released its 2007-2008 schedule. The Lightning's new farm team, the Norfolk Admirals, will start its season on the road against the Philadelphia Phantoms on October 5th. The Phantoms matchup kicks off the first of four games on the road which concludes with a fascinating October 14th matinee in Springfield against the Falcons. Norfolk's first home game is scheduled for October 19th when Binghamton comes to Norfolk for the first of back to back matchups at the Scope.
The full schedule can be found at TheAHL.com.
According to 620 WDAE the Tampa Bay Lightning will hold a press conference at 11 am this morning to announce the sale of the team, the lease rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and the surrounding properties.
New owners Absolute Hockey Enterprises, which includes as many as 10 principle owners, is led by former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean, Coral Springs real estated developer Jeff Sherrin and TV and movie producer Oren Koules.
The group has zero intention of moving the team and while MacLean will be CEO, Jay Feaster will remain general manager and John Tortorella coach.
For more, including news from today's press conference, see the Tampa Tribune.
Kevin Quick had one assist in the first of two intrasquad scrimmage games on Sunday at USA Hockeyâ€™s 2007 National Junior Evalation Camp in Lake Placid. Quick played on the USA Blue team which lost a squeaker to the USA White team 7-6 on Sunday.
USA Blue played USA White again Monday as a warmup prior to games with Finland and Sweden starting Tuesday. Team White beat Team Blue 4-3. The Game Boxscore hasn't been posted yet for the Monday game but you can check out a blog about the game at NHL.com.