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Commentary: Veteran Mentorship

Let me start this commentary by throwing out some Lightning trivia. Did you know the maximum number of appearances made in an NHL season by a goaltender the Lightning drafted is 16 by Zac Bierk? Did you know that in total goaltenders drafted by the Lightning have made 94 total appearances, 382 less than Nikolai Khabibulin alone? In fact, did you know John Grahame has played in more NHL games (122) than every goaltender drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning combined? This week the Lightning signed goaltenders Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman to entry-level deals in hopes of turning the tide on 13 seasons worth of draft futility between the pipes. Both could have talented careers as pros, but something troubled me this week that I want to talk about. The team has been floating the trial balloon that both goaltenders may split time in the team's ECHL affiliate in Johnstown. Let me explain why I think that trial ballon should be shot down, flogged, lit on fire and then buried.

Draft Order Settled

The NHL has announced that [url=http://www.bostonbruins.com/pressbox/pressreleases.asp?id=1473]the Tampa Bay Lightning will receive an additional 5th round pick as compensation for losing unrestricted free agent Jassen Cullimore to the Chicago Blackhawks[/url]. With that settled, the Lightning hold six picks going into tomorrow's draft which will commence at 12 pm Eastern:

Lightning Acquire Jaspers

The Lightning have announced [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBVPG9TPBE.html]the team has traded veteran center Jarrod Skalde to the Phoenix Coyotes for center Jason Jaspers.[/url] Skalde was one of the free agent flops for the Falcons last season and played just 15 games in a Falcons jersey before being loaned to Phoenix's farm team the Utah Grizzlies in echange for Jason Jaspers being loaned to the Falcons. Yesterday's trade now formalizes each players' place in their respective organizations.

Boutin/Hrdel Sign

As expected, [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1099&category=3]the Lightning have announced the signing of G Jonathan Boutin and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel to three year standard entry level deals.[/url] Boutin will now battle with [url=http://www.boltprospects.com/node/145]yesterday's signee Gerald Coleman[/url] to see which prospect be next in line behind Brian Eklund. Hrdel adds some desperately needed potential scoring punch to a Lightning organization which is extremely threadbare for skill at the forward position at the minor and junior level.

McKeen's Mock and Small Player Slippage

[url=http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/draft.asp?Draft=52]McKeen's hockey has released their mock draft[/url] and has Swedish winger [url=http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=2045] Nicklas Bergfors[/url] falling to the Lightning's pick at #30. A tip of the hat to Johan Nilsson of [url=http://www.eliteprospects.com/]Eliteprospects.com[/url]. Bergfors, the brother of Lightning prospect Henrik Bergfors, is slated to come to North America as an import to play in the QMJHL next season. While I don't necessarily see Bergfors, the top Swedish born prospect in this draft, falling all the way to 30 this mock is far more realistic with regard to the Lightning's pick than [url=http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/3821944]FoxSport's[/url], [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=7795]Hockeysfuture's[/url] and even [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/draft/feature.asp?fid=7065]TSN's [/url]which have the Lightning selecting D Risto Korhonen, G Alexandre Vincent and G Ondrej Pavelec respectively.
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