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Koshechkin Was Almost No.8

Erik Erlendsson of the [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] reports the Lightning nearly signed Russian goaltender Vasily Koshechkin recently. The 6-6 behemoth spent the 2005-2006 season at the top of the goaltending leaders board in Russia for GAA, save percentage, and shutouts. Instead of signing with the Lightning this summer, the 23 year-old signed with Khimik. Had he signed, Koshechkin would have been the eighth goaltender under contract for Tampa, joining Sean Burke, Johan Holmqvist, Fredrik Norrena, Karri Ramo, Gerald Coleman, Jonathan Boutin, and Morgan Cey.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 20-16

Two goaltenders and three forwards comprise slots 16 through 25 on Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings. As always a reminder: our prospect criteria deems a prospect as any player 24 years or younger on opening night 2005 who has played less than 82 NHL games in their career and has not played 41 or more games in any individual NHL season. Paul Ranger, Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Craig graduated under these criteria and are no longer listed in our ranking. Instead, we have moved them to a new section on our prospects page titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, lets begin with number 20:

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 25-21

Today is the day. With the Lightning's Top Five Overage Prospects and Honorable Mentions already posted, we will now begin to unveil our Top Twenty Five Prospects in the Lightning organization five at a time in reverse order beginning with 25-21. Just a reminder, Bolt Prospects criteria deems that a prospect in any player 24 years or younger on opening night 2005 who has less than 82 games total career NHL experience and less than 41 NHL games in any one season. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] have already graduated under these criteria and have been moved to a new section on our prospects page titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". So, without any further adieu:

More from the NHL Scouting Combine

TSN [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=167745&hubname=nhl]has more from the NHL Combine[/url] being held througout this week in Toronto. Of particular interest: W Jiri Tlusty, who has drawn comparisons to Martin Havlat, reportedly was disappointing in both conditioning and strength exercises and appeared "soft." C Peter Mueller scores above average in all events. LW Chris Stewart, brother of Panthers 1st round pick Anthony Stewart, showed up to the combine overweight and out of shape. Surprisingly, despite his brother being and avid weightlifter in juniors, Chris' performance in strength tests were mediocre. C Bryan Little of Barrie, a Bolt Prospects favorite, reportedly showed up with nary an ounce of body fat and was good in strength drills but underperformed in the aerobic drills. D Bobby Sanguinetti of Owen Sound, another Bolt Prospects favorite, appeared lean and cut and performed well in the strength tests.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: Honorable Mentions

Three times a season we post our rankings of who we feel are the top 25 prospects in the Lightning organization. A prospect, under our criteria, is any player who was 23 or under on opening night this season with less than 82 games of career experience in the NHL and has not played 41 or more games at the NHL level in any single season. Three prospects crossed the threshold for graduation last season: [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig.[/url] As a consequence, you'll note we've moved these three onto a new section on our prospects page titled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". With those three moved out of the pool of players elligible for consideration, the Bolt Prospects writers generated their own rankings and then combined them to generate our final top-25. The Honorable Mentions we are revealing today are two players whose names made the ballots at least once, but who did not have enough combined votes to make the top 25. We think they still deserve some recognition, however, so today we're posting our 2005-2006 Final Rankings Honorable Mentions in alphabetical order:
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