Lightning prospect followers expected one high profile Tampa Bay draftee to be selected in today's Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, but not two.
Andrei Vasilevski, the Lightning's second first round selection (19th overall) in last week's NHL Entry Draft, is reportedly trying to buy out his contract with Ufa of the KHL to play Canadian junior hockey. As of early Wednesday morning, the Lightning said there was no news regarding Vasilevski, and after several teams took goaltenders in the first round, it appeared his situation with Ufa was far from settled.
While the Valisevski watch was in full effect, Nikita Kucherov, last year's second round pick out of CSKA in Russia, was taken by Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts. The Remparts may lose former Kucherov linemate and Sabres 2012 first round pick Mikhail Grigorenko to the NHL next year and Kucherov would provide instant offense for Roy's roster. There is also a possibility they are reunited in Quebec City. Roy said Tuesday that the Sabres were non-committal to Grigorenko's immediate NHL future, so it is still possible he could return to Quebec.
Kucherov spent most of last year with CSKA's junior team, where he racked up 24 goals and 41 points in just 23 games. He also had seven points in seven games at the World Junior Championships. He was able to get in 18 games at the professional level with CSKA's KHL side, but only managed a goal and five points in limited action. His selection was surprising to many prospect followers as Kucherov is expected to challenge for more games in the KHL this year. However, initial reports on Twitter from a sports.ru reporter said Kucherov was coming to North America. Roy, who has to secure Kucherov's release from CSKA, is already talking about where Kucherov could fit in his lineup.
Should Kucherov join the wide-open QMJHL, he could very well top 120 points next season.
Quebec chose Kucherov with the 43rd pick in the Import Draft, near the bottom of the first of the two round draft.
Vasilevski ended up a second round selection as the newly-renamed Mississauga Steelheads took him with pick number 69.
Mississauga lost last year's No.1 goalie and Vasilevski could make his path to the NHL a lot clearer by joining the Steelheads in the Ontario Hockey League. It's worth a shot for Mississauga, who is no doubt hoping the off-the-ice situation can be settled shortly.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forward Benoit Pouliot from the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Michel Ouellet and their fifth round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Despite not being qualified by Montreal after the 2010-11 season and signed by the Bruins on July 1, 2011 as an unrestricted free agent, Pouliot reverts back to pending restricted free agent status since he doesn't meet the age threshold for permanent unrestricted status. Pouliot does hold arbitration rights should he choose to exercise them this summer.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Anders Lindback (AHN-dehrs LIND-bahck), forward Kyle Wilson and a seventh-round draft selection in 2012 from the Nashville Predators in exchange for goaltender Sebastien Caron, Minnesotaâ€™s second-round and Philadelphiaâ€™s second-round selections in 2012, and Tampa Bayâ€™s third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Lindback, 24, played in 16 games this past season with the Predators, compiling a record of 5-8-0 to go along with a 2.42 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The 6-foot-6, 203-pound goaltender has appeared in 38 career NHL games, all with Nashville, registering a 16-13-2 record, with a 2.53 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. One of the leagueâ€™s tallest goaltenders, Lindback made his NHL debut on October 9, 2010 against the Anaheim Ducks in a relief effort. He made seven consecutive starts from December 4-17 during the 2010-11 season, posting a 6-0-1 record with a 1.43 goals against average and a .949 save percentage.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Brian Lee from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Matt Gilroy today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Lee, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, has played in 167 career NHL games, all with the Senators. He has amassed five goals and 28 points after making his NHL debut during the 2007-08 season. In 2008-09 he ranked sixth among all rookie NHL defensemen in points with 13 and shots with 51. Lee also ranked ninth among rookie blue liners in average ice time with 18:53. He also played a career high of 53 games that season.
A native of Moorhead, Minnesota, Lee has played in 123 career AHL games with the Binghamton Senators, recording eight goals and 52 points. He played NCAA hockey for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, playing in 82 games in two seasons. He was named to the WCHA all-rookie team in 2005-06. Lee also represented the United States at the World Junior Championships on two occasions.
Lee was drafted by the Senators in the first round, ninth overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Keith Aulie from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Carter Ashton, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Aulie, 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, has played in 17 games with the Maple Leafs this season, collecting two assists and 16 penalty minutes. Heâ€™s also skated in 23 games with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, recording one assist and 30 penalty minutes.
The Regina, Saskatchewan native has played in 57 career NHL games, recording two goals and four points to go along with 48 penalty minutes. Aulie scored his first career NHL goal last season on March 8 against the NY Islanders.
The 22 year-old has skated in 107 career AHL games with the Marlies and Abbotsford Heat, posting five goals and 16 points. He represented the Marlies at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey, PA last season.
He was originally selected by the Calgary Flames at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round, 116th overall.