Sportsnet is reporting that Leafs GM Brian Burke has confirmed that the Lightning have asked for defensemen Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle as well as the 7th overall pick in exchange for the Lightning's 2nd overall pick in the June draft. Burke says that Schenn is the deal breaker for the Leafs.
Burke's interest in the #2 pick stems from his desire to draft London Knights center John Tavares, who may or may not be available depending on what the New York Islanders will do with the draft's top pick. Tavares was considered the top prospect in this draft going into the draft lottery, but a mediocre playoff performance by Tavares may have pushed behemoth Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman into the top slot. There also is at least one organization (Red Line Report) that believes that Tavares has been passed by speedy Brampton center Matt Duchene as well.
Where does this leave the Lightning? The ideal scenario has Hedman available at the #2 pick giving the Lightning the future #1 defenseman they so desperately need. If that doesn't come to pass, the Lightning must decide between drafting Tavares (or Duchene, who Lightning GM Brian Lawton recently scouted), or trading out of the pick. As long as the Lightning remember that they don't have to make a trade, the team should come out well ahead on draft day.
Selecting Tavares gives the Lightning a smaller, and arguably more talented version of Ottawa scorer Jason Spezza. It also gives them a one-two punch at forward only rivaled by Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh. That's not a bad situation to be in, and I suspect that with the Lightning scoring 4-5 goals a game it would certainly put people in the stands even if the team still struggles with keeping the puck out of the back of its own net.
A trade down can, and should, result in a king's ransom similar to the kind of deal the Lightning have reportedly demanded from Toronto. Personally, I think that asking for Schenn and Kaberle plus the 7th overall pick is a little too steep, but kudos to the Lightning for starting high in the negotation. If the Lightning could negotiate down to something along the lines of Luke Schenn and the 7th overall pick along with some other sweetener for the 2nd overall pick and a toss-in like Lukas Krajicek, it would be worth considering. That would give the Lightning a future shut-down defender in the mold of Adam Foote and the opportunity to choose between another shut-down defender like Jared Cowen, a Mike Richards-lite center like Luke's younger brother Brayden, the draft's best speedster in Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, or some other talented players like Minnesota's diminuitive playmaker Jordan Schroeder or Drummondville's top-notch offensive defenseman Dimitri Kulikov.
Now that's a rumor I could live with.
(Tampabaylightning.com) The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Rick Tocchet to a multi-year contract to serve as the seventh head coach in team history, executive vice president and general manager Brian Lawton announced Monday. Tocchet becomes the teamâ€™s head coach after serving 66 games as interim coach during 2008-09. The job marks Tocchetâ€™s first in the NHL as a permanent head coach.
A source told The Sporting News the deal was 2 years in length, not the standard 3 year deal as expected.
According to posters right here on the BoltProspects Message Boards (namely Donnie D), Lightning GM Brian Lawton confirmed tonight at a Q&A session with fans that Lightning forward prospect Mitch Fadden has been signed to an entry level contract and that an official announcement would follow in a day or so. June 1 is the deadline for Fadden and fellow CHL prospects Michael Ward and Torrie Jung to be signed or return to the NHL draft. There was no word from Lawton on if Ward and Jung were also to be signed. It is also unclear whether or not Rimouski forward Luca Cunti's rights expire on June 1st along with Ward and Jung's.
Johan Harju had three shots on goal in 13:27 as Sweden defeated Team USA 4-2 to capture World Championships bronze. Harju finishes the tournament with 2 goals and 4 points in 9 games with 4 penalty minutes and a +4 rating. Harju averaged 14:26 of ice time per game.
Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were scoreless as Canada fell to Russia 2-1 in the World Championships gold medal match. Stamkos and St. Louis will take home silver medals for their efforts in Switzerland. Canada outshot the Russians 38-17 but could not solve Ilya Bryzlagov to get the tying marker. Stamkos had 5 shots on goal in 14:56 for the Canadians. St. Louis had 2 shots in 21:05.
Both St. Louis and Stamkos were named by the media to the Tournament All-Star team. Martin St. Louis also was selected as one of Canada's three best players in the tournament by the tournament's coaches.
In the final ranking, Russia finished 1st (Koshechkin), Canada finished 2nd (St. Louis and Stamkos), Sweden 3rd (Harju), Finland 5th (Niskala and Ramo), and Latvia 7th (Karsums).
Vasily Koshechkin did not dress as a late third period power play goal by Konstantin Gorovikov propelled Russia over Team USA 3-2.
Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis each had helpers on Canada's opening goal as the Canadians defeated Sweden 3-1. Stamkos was +1, but did not register a shot on goal in 13:28. St. Louis also failed to register a shot on goal in 15:39. Johan Harju had 1 shot on goal in 15:00 of ice time for the Swedes.
Sunday, Sweden will face USA in the bronze medal match before Canada and Russia square off in the championship game.
Steven Stamkos had 1 goal and 1 assist with 2 shots on goal in 8:33 as Canada defeated Latvia 4-2. Martin St. Louis was scoreless and -1 for the Canadians with 4 shots on goal. Martins Karsums did not suit up for Latvia.
Johan Harju had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal in 13:12 as Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 3-1.
Tomorrow's semifinal matchups set up as follows: Vasily Koshechkin's Russian squad will take on Team USA and Canada will face Sweden. Martin St. Louis leads the tournament in scoring with 4 goals and 14 points in 7 games. Steven Stamkos is tied for the tournament lead in goals with Finland's Niko Kapanen with 7 in 7 games.
N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 5/6
Justin Courtnall scored his first goals of the RBC tournament to help Len Barrie's Grizzlies advance to the Final 4 ... Fargo needs a Game 4 win to keep Indiana from hoisting the Cup on North Dakota ice.