In Brandon today, The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their final day of camp scrimmages. Team Blue, which boasted the team's number one line of Fredrik Modin, Brad Richards
and Martin St. Louis
won the tournament with a 4-1 record.
Brad Richards [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/files/CampStats.pdf]won the tournament scoring title[/url] with 18 points in 5 scrimmage games. Richards also finished tied with his linemate St. Louis for the tournament high of 7 goals in 5 games.
In general the scrimmages separated the men from the boys, so to speak, in showing the wide disparity in ability between the camp's veterans and the Lightning's prospects. Failing to make their mark in Brandon, the Lightning's prospects will have to hope to have an opportunity in the exhibition games beginning Monday at Detroit.
Of the top eight Lightning prospect scorers, almost all were returning Falcons players from last season. Ryan Craig
and Adam Henrich
led the way with 8 and 7 points respectively which potentially bodes well for the upcoming Falcons season. Defensemen Paul Ranger
and Doug O'Brien
were also impressive with 5 and 4 points respectively from the backline position as they hope to make a positive impression vying for the open 6th defenseman spot in Tampa. Amongst the new signees out of junior, Marek Kvapil
and Zbynek Hrdel
turned in solid, workmanlike 4 point performances. The outlook was not so promising for junior invitees Vladamir Mihalik, Justin Keller
and Andy Rogers
who will likely now return to the WHL for their junior seasons.
Ryan Craig, 5GP, 3-5-8
Adam Henrich, 5GP, 3-4-7
Paul Ranger, 5GP, 2-3-5
, 5GP, 3-1-4
, 5GP, 2-2-4
Marek Kvapil, 5GP, 2-2-4
Zbynek Hrdel, 5GP, 1-3-4
Doug O'Brien, 5GP, 1-3-4
, 5GP, 2-1-3
J.F. Soucy, 5GP, 2-1-3
, 5GP, 2-1-3
, 5GP, 1-2-3
Andre Deveaux, 5GP, 1-1-2
*Vladamir Mihalik, 5GP, 0-2-2
, 5GP, 0-2-2
, 5GP, 0-1-1
Brandon Elliot, 5GP, 0-0-0
*Justin Keller, 5GP, 0-0-0
*Andy Rogers, 5GP, 0-0-0
, 5GP, 0-0-0
[i][*] junior invitees[/i]
Between the pipes, goaltender Morgan Cey likely improved his stock the most going a solid 2-0 for Team White while Gerald Coleman
salvaged a bad start to his camp by finishing strong to improve his save percentage to a tournament best .842 going 1-1 in both his games. Jonathan Boutin
, who was unceremoniously shelled in his only outing of the camp, now lags slightly behind the other two in the race to assume the role of Brian Eklund
's backup in Springfield.
In the quest to assume the #6 defenseman spot in Tampa, no player really stepped up in any significant way prompting concern from the Lightning brass. Statistically Harlan Pratt and Paul Ranger led the way with 5 points for Team White while Doug O'Brien chipped in 4 points for the Black Team. On the flip side, Gerard Dicaire
sat out the tournament due to a recently discovered neurological disorder while veteran Todd Rohloff missed 4 games with back spasms. With little settled, attention now turns to exhibition games where, in the past, Dicaire and Ranger have played well enough to catch the eye of the Lightning front office. The games will also be crucial for Swiss blueliner Timo Helbling who registered 2 points in the scrimmages.
From the Springfield Falcons' perspective, there are some definite positives to take away from the scrimmages as potential line combinations began to take shape. Veterand Jim Campbell and Jason Jaspers led Team Black in scoring with 7 and 6 points respectively including 6 goals for Jaspers. Given the way Jaspers clicked late in the season with Evgeny Artyukhin (who now prefers his name spelled with a "y") the three may form a solid line for the Falcons in the coming season. The previously mentioned Craig and Henrich finished among the team leaders for Team Red with veteran Norm Milley just off the pace with 5 points. These three may also form another line, although it is yet to be seen how Coach Dirk Graham will use recently signed center Ryan Vesce, a Falcons property who did not attend Lightning camp. Goaltender Brian Eklund finished 4-1 for the tournament for Team Blue with a .820 save percentage.
At 7:30 Monday night the Lightning will square off in Detroit against the Red Wings. The game will begin a 4 night 3 city road trip which will take the Lightning through Detroit, Montreal and Carolina before opening the home end of their exhibition schedule against the Florida Panthers on Saturday the 24th.