Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting that Bolt Prospects alumnus Evgeny Artyukhin has agreed in principle to a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. Artyukhin will sign the contract on July 1st once he is legally eligible to sign under the rules of the CBA. The hulking forward spent the past two seasons with Yaroslavl, Omsk, and CSKA of the Russian Superleague. He last played in North America in 2005-2006 when he appeared in 72 games for the Lightning and potted 4 goals to go along with 17 points and 90 penalty minutes.
After a couple of months of rumors indicating he might go back to Europe, Eurohockey.net is reporting that Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil has signed with Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga for next season. Kvapil, 23, struggled the past two seasons to reach the promise he showed as a rookie in 2005-2006 when he scored 18 goals and 45 points in 79 games with the Springfield Falcons. Plagued by inconsistent effort and turnovers in the neutral zone, Kvapil languished in the ECHL for half of last season with the Mississippi Sea Wolves. Kvapil's decision is the first of a string of prospect roster moves to come in the next couple of months. Bolt Prospects' Chad Schnarr will have more on Johan Harju, Mitch Fadden, and Dane Crowley in the coming week.
The golf cart had a dashboard like a Lexus, headlamps and a top speed of about 45 clicks, which was all right because it also had seatbelts. Best of all, it was equipped with satellite radio that softly filled the spring air with new rock.
Al Czervik would have been proud.
You remember Al? He was the plaid-panted, brash but likable real-estate tycoon in Caddyshack played by Rodney Dangerfield, whose golf bag had a built-in stereo that blasted Journey all over Bushwood Country Club.
At the end of one period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals, Pittsburgh has Philadelphia on the brink of elimination leading 2-0 in the game and 3-1 in the series. If this is the Flyers' final game of the season, Bolt Prospects would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lightning's long time rivals. Part of the Vaclav Prospal for Alexandre Picard swap made at the deadline was a conditional pick with the Lightning receiving a 2nd round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft if the Flyers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. So Flyers fans, don't look at the beat down you're catching from the Pens as a total loss. At least you're helping the Lightning's cause. Tampa Bay will have multiple second round picks for the first time since the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the very real possibility of having three top-60 picks for the first time since the 1995 NHL Entry Draft (when there were only 26 teams in the league). So, while Steve Stamkos' impending selection at #1 overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft may be the Lightning's most important single draft pick in a decade, next year's 2009 NHL Entry Draft is shaping up to potentially be its most important draft overall since 1998 in terms of organizational depth and strength.
Note that, as Bolt Prospects pointed out at the All-Star Break, about 7 in 10 NHL players who have made the league from the 2002 NHL Entry Draft forward came from the top-60 picks. The Lightning had the third least top-60 picks over the same time period with just 7. So, for the Lightning, 2009 appears to be a golden opportunity to replenish the system and augment the successes the Lightning have already had in the later rounds of the draft beyond pick 100.
The Norfolk Admirals have signed defenseman Daryl Boyle to a one-year American Hockey League Standard Playerâ€™s Contract, Admirals General Manager Claude Loiselle announced today.
Boyle, a 6-foot-1, 191-pound defenseman, made his professional debut with the Admirals on April 2 at Philadelphia. The 21-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alberta, played the final six games of Norfolkâ€™s 2007-08 season under an Amateur Tryout Contract, registering a +3 rating with two penalty minutes.
Game 4: (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 4 @ (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 1
Spokane wins Best of 7 series 4-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM (holding)
Playoffs: 19 GP, 5-15-20, -3, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Spokane completed the four game sweep of Lethbridge with a 4-1 win in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday) to win the 2008 WHL championship. Fadden was scoreless in all four games and finished the series with a minus-6 rating. He finishes the playoffs with 20 points in 19 games, good enough for fourth (tie) in the league.
Whatâ€™s Next for Fadden: The Lightning are starved for offensive production on the farm and Fadden is one of the first of a new wave of forward draftees expected to help in that area. Fadden and his representatives will sit down with Claude Loiselle and Jay Feaster of the Lightning over the next weeks to hash out Faddenâ€™s first professional contract. Once signed, Fadden will likely end up on Norfolk next season. Faddenâ€™s first step toward playing in the NHL â€“ after signing a contract â€“ will be to earn a spot in the Lightningâ€™s training camp.
Note: With the completion of Fadden's season, there are no Lightning prospects left playing this year.
The Tampa Tribuneâ€™s Erik Erlendsson is reporting Jeff Halpern's knee injury he sustained in the USA's 5-4 loss to Canada Tuesday at the World Championships is a ruptured ACL of his right knee in addition to a Grade III sprain to his MCL and a slight tear to the lateral meniscus.
Erlendsson reports the USA captain will wait 4-6 weeks to allow the MCL injury to heal before undergoing reconstructive surgery on the ACL tendon. He is expected to miss 5-6 months of action from the time of the surgery on the ACL, which means the earliest Halpern could return to action would be late December or early January.
Game 3: (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 2 @ (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 1
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 3-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 18 GP, 5-15-20, -1, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Lethbridge is one game away from being eliminated after Spokaneâ€™s Tyler Johnson (1990) scored on the Chiefsâ€™ third shot of overtime to take Game 3. Fadden, who hit a post in overtime, is scoreless and minus-4 in the series thus far. Game 4 is tonight (Wednesday) in Lethbridge.
Game 2: (E-3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ (W-3) Spokane Chiefs 5
Spokane leads Best of 7 series 2-0
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Playoffs: 17 GP, 5-15-20, E, 17 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Lethbridge came within 2-1 and 3-2 of Spokane in Game 2 of the WHL Finals, but couldnâ€™t find the tying goal as Spokane put the game out of reach in the third period to take a 2-0 series lead on the Hurricanes. Mitch Fadden was scoreless for the second straight game and is now minus-3 in the series. Games 3-5 are in Lethbridge starting Tuesday.