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Wow. I just looked at our referrers page and noticed we've had 2,850 non-staff hits in the last 72 hours. I am truly humbled and appreciative. About a month or two ago I was shooting off my mouth to one of the site's detractors we'd have over 3,000 hits on draft week. We've already blown through that and will probably have over 6,000 this week. We're still a long way from where I believe the site can go, but I'm thankful to all our readers for spreading the good word about us. I'm really excited to see how it all evolves and matures over the next year or two. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Bring on the draft. [b]Update: 6/16 3:24 PM[/b] Just in the last couple of hours we leap frogged the 3,000 non-staff hit mark for, to the best of my knowledge, the first time in the site's history. So, again, thank you all for your support.
Submitted by pete on June 15, 2006 - 20:05
In the first two parts of the forwards section of the 2006 Entry Draft preview we covered six potentially available centers of interest for the Lightning: Bryan Little, James Sheppard, Cory Emmerton, Ondrej Fiala, Ben Maxwell and Patrik Berglund. Bolt Prospects ranks center, and particularly playmaking center, one of the Lightning's primary organizational needs along with offensive defenseman. Goal scoring wingers are still a secondary need though, even after a very successful 2005 Entry Draft and today we'll begin to offer the profiles of a few wingers who might also be of interest when the Lightning pick at 15th overall in the first round on June 24th in Vancouver.
Submitted by pete on June 15, 2006 - 12:14
Make of it what you like, but defenseman PJ Atherton [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox3014.shtml]is appearing in a charity softball game for the Falcons today in Springfield.[/url] This could be an indication that he will be around next season with the Falcons. The Lightning hold Atherton's rights for one full year after his graduation date meaning that technically they could wait until the very end of the 2006-2007 season before making a contract decision on the defenseman. It should be noted goaltender JM Pelletier appeared in several Falcons charity events last summer but still bolted for Rochester of the AHL, so you cannot read too much into this development.
Submitted by chad on June 15, 2006 - 07:02
Tom Jones of the [i]St. Pete Times[/i] is reporting the Lightning are in contract negotiations with former Springfield Falcons captain Shane Willis. Willis spent last season in Switzerland with HC Davos where he had 5 goals and 15 assists in 32 games before moving to Sweden. There, Willis played with recently signed (Tampa) goaltender Fredrik Norrena and Linkopings HC, getting one assist in six regular season games, then exploding for 6 goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games. He captained Springfield in 2004-2005 and scored 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games. Willis is known for his fine rookie season in Carolina where he registered 20 goals and 44 points to earn him an all-rookie team selection. His career was knocked off course when he suffered a concussion in a playoff game after a hit from the Devil's Scott Stevens. Willis was traded to the Lightning on March 5, 2002, in Tampa GM Jay Feaster's first trade, coming to the Bolts with Chris Dingman for goaltender Kevin Weekes. In 33 games with Tampa, Willis has 4 goals and 9 assists, though is regarded as just needing an extended opportunity to make his mark. With rumors of Tampa dealing a scoring line player for a goaltender, that opportunity could be in front of him.
Submitted by pete on June 14, 2006 - 18:49
Bolt Prospects continues its draft preview with the profiles of three more centers who may be available at the Lightning's 15th pick in the NHL Entry Draft on June 24th in Vancouver: