"The only thing that's for sure is nothing's for sure."
For fans and followers of the Lightning farm system, there's a very telling article in the St. Pete Times today by Damian Cristodero detailing the condition of the Lightning's prospects, in particular the forwards, as the club approaches the 2007 draft.
The story includes honest and objective opinions from Lightning GM Jay Feaster and Head Scout Jake Goertzen. Cristodero also includes the opinions of Barry Trapp, former head scout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
According to the St. Pete Times today, disgruntled winger Evgeny Artyukhin and his agent, Mark Gandler, have turned down a three year offer from the Lightning. The Times reported the deal was the same contract recently signed by Nick Tarnasky.
"We were told, " Feaster said, "that they are not the same player."
The Lightning's offer, which would have paid $500, 000, $525, 000 and $550, 000, was a bump from its previously refused offer of one-year, $475, 000.
"I thought it was a fair offer on our part and something that would be attractive to the player, but it appears that's not the case, " Feaster said. "I thought this might be a way to move off the position of a one-year contract and show the player we are serious and we do like him."
The Tampa Bay Lightning has released a report confirming the club has signed left wing Jan Hlavac to a one year contract. Hlavac has spent the last three season playing in Europe, most recently with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Hlavac helped Sparta Praha to the Czech Extraliga championship this year with 8 goals and 2 assists in 16 playoff games.
TSN.ca is reporting the Lightning have traded a 2nd round pick in either 2007 or 2008 to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Chris Gratton. Gratton, who was the Lightning's 1st round pick in 1993, will be making his third tour of duty with the Lightning. In 1008 career NHL games he has scored 204 goals and 544 points. In 81 games last season Gratton scored 13 goals and 35 points in 81 games with 94 penalty minutes. His career season came in 1996-1997 with the Lightning when he had 30 goals and 62 points in 82 games to go along with 201 penalty minutes. Gratton signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers the subsequent offseason and left Tampa with the infamous Phil Esposito smudged fax fiasco. Gratton returned in 1999 from Philadelphia and served as the Lightning's captain during the 1999-2000 season before being dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in a multi-player deal that included then-rookie defenseman Cory Sarich. Gratton will assume the Lightning's third line center role next season.