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Calm Before the... Calm?

Right after word came down that goaltender Karri Ramo was bolting for Russia and that Gary Bettman had to have an emergency meeting with the ownership group, stoking speculation about a trade of Vincent Lecavalier, things seem to have settled down, at least on the hockey operations front. Speculation is that part owner Len Barrie would have to sign off on a Lecavalier trade, and he apparently won't, and GM Brian Lawton, who is allegedly an ally of part owner Oren Koules, sent out an e-mail reasserting he is the sole point of contact for any hockey operations decisions for the Lightning. My interpretation is that, as far as any big moves go, the two sides are at a stalemate, which might be the best Lightning fans can hope for in the short term from this three ring circus situation.

The Lightning seem on track to draft Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, according to Damian Crisdotero of the Times, presuming everything goes to plan and the Islanders take John Tavares with the first overall pick. If that goes down, we'll have a lot more on Hedman up on the site tomorrow night after the selection is made. Suffice it to say the scouting community generally has a glowing opinion of Hedman, and he might be the best prospect to come out since Sid Crosby was drafted. Yes, he might be better than Stamkos. The Lightning have the resources to move up into the late first round if there's a player they have an eye on, but Crisdotero speculated in a recent live chat that he doesn't expect the Lightning to make many moves. Personally, if Ryan Ellis or David Rundblad were to slip to about pick 22, I would try to pull the trigger to move up from 32, but if Crisdotero is be believed, that's not in the cards. Chances are those two d-men won't slip, so the point may be moot, but there's something compelling to me about getting an offensive minded righty shot partner for Hedman capable of racking up 50-60 point seasons. It's not often you get the chance to build your top pairing for a generation.

My guess is nothing earth shaking will happen over the weekend. Lecavalier will probably stay in Tampa one more season, and I suspect his level of play will determine whether Oren Koules, who looks destined to eventually win the power struggle, decides to keep him or jettison him. That's good news for Steven Stamkos, because Lecavalier will keep a lot of attention off Stammer's line, which makes a potential 40 goal sophomore campaign possible, in my opinion. I expect the Islanders to take Tavares, because their fan base would revolt otherwise, leaving the Lightning to again luck into drafting the perfect fit for their needs in Hedman. I expect the Lightning to keep their two second round picks, at which point we'll get to see what this new scouting staff is made of. At 32, there should be some good offensive defensemen available, which is a big organizational need. However, there will also be a handful of very interesting forwards on the board too like, perhaps, Morin or Budish who might attract the scouts' attention. At 52, you're hoping a sleeper slips through, or someone more highly ranked drops. One thing we do know: Tyson Barrie's probably not getting his name called at 52. Beyond that, I think Ramo's defection might cause the Lightning to grab a goaltender somewhere along the line, but it's a goalie poor year. If they take one, it'll probably be a late round flyer on a project, in my opinion.

The sad thing is, the ownership squabbles really seem to have sapped the energy out of the Lightning's draft. I doubt Lawton is really prepared to be as aggressive as he could have been given everything that has happened. It's also pretty awful that the ownership squabbles will overshadow the young draft picks the Lightning make on Friday and Saturday. A guy like Hedman will still get his ink, but the other six or so prospects the Lightning select will have to compete with the soap opera for column space, and they'll probably lose. That's a shame, because they've worked all their lives to get to this point too. One day we'll look back on all this and laugh, I hope. Just not today.

Draft Day Resources
The Lightning are tweeting their draft weekend on Twitter. I'm not cool enough to know how to do Twitter myself, but I do get amusement from imagining Lawton, Tocchet, and Koules all passing the same Blackberry/iPhone around furiously thumb typing about the quality of their breakfast at the hotel in Montreal. I'm sure it doesn't work that way, but it's a funny image none the less.

Erik Erlendsson of the Trib also knows how to tweet.

As of right now the Lightning hold seven picks, according to NHL.com's official draft pick page. The page also links to the CSS rankings.

TSN's Bob MacKenzie always does a solid write up on the top-60 draft prospects. It's probably the best free draft content on the web if you're looking for a general overview of the top players.

Last but not least, you can join Bolt Prospects in our virtual "Barnacles in Brandon" for a Lightning draft party that will start Friday night and end on Saturday at question marks. The flash chat will work for anyone who has a Bolt Prospects message board registration, so if you don't have one feel free to sign up. It's free to register, and you get to see the Bolt Prospects staff do a collaborative, feverish information dump on the prospects the Lightning select in real time, which is a sight to behold that was just too incredibly haphazard and funny to be confined to private instant messages any longer.

Lightning 2009 NHL Entry Draft Preview

Here’s a bold statement: the Tampa Bay Lightning are fully capable of becoming Stanley Cup champions within the next five seasons. With two legitimate franchise centers in longtime stalwart Vincent Lecavalier and star wunderkind Steven Stamkos and a bevy of young goaltenders headlined by the ultra-competitive Mike Smith, the Lightning actually have many of the key components necessary to become an elite NHL team. That may seem like an insane statement coming off of a year that the Lightning finished second-to-last in the league, but between their core pieces and a bevy of other young complimentary players like Paul Ranger, Andrej Meszaros, and Matt Lashoff, the future in Tampa Bay is brighter than anyone is giving the team credit for. However, for the Lightning to reach their full potential, they must keep Lecavalier and they must capitalize on their draft position in the deep 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Make no mistake about it: this is the most important draft for the Lightning in 11 years. The 1998 draft was critical for the 2004 Stanley Cup team in supplying two core players (Lecavalier and Richards) and four players (including Dimitry Afanasenkov and Martin Cibak) overall to that championship roster. That draft seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime talent grab for the team, but with three picks in the top-60 in a talent rich year for youth, the new Lightning scouting staff might be set up to bring in an equally impressive fistfull of NHL talent. If they do, the Lightning may be just a few years away from reclimbing the ladder into the ranks of the NHL elite.

Hedman selected #83 at the KHL draft

Today the KHL entry draft took place. The rules of the KHL draft could be found here http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/6/1/13673.html
The list of drafted players http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/6/1/13671.html
Viktor Hedman was drafted # 83 overall (of 91 picks) by the Spartak Moscow. So, if Hedman decide to play in KHL he could sign only with Spartak untill he turn 28 (if his right wouldn't be traded). Taking into account that Spartak is one of the poorest KHL clubs, I doubt that it could happen.
John Tavares went undrafted.

Crisdotero: Seems Like the Lightning Will Keep the Pick

Damian Crisdotero speculates on his blog that the Lightning seem to be inclined to keep their second overall pick even if Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman goes off the board to the Islanders with the first overall pick. I somehow doubt the 300 percent increase in calls the Islanders are receiving for tickets is because of Hedman rather than John Tavares. Best of luck to Garth Snow trying to explain to the angry villagers with the tar and feathers why he didn't take a guy who scored 215 goals and 433 points in 247 career junior games for a team that finished second to last in the league in goals scored. Not that I'm trying to steer your decision, Garth. Crisdotero also cites the affordability of a capped entry level contract as one of the central reasons. I would cite Brian Burke's unwillingness to deal off Luke Schenn in a package for the pick.

He also includes the first full list of the Lightning's picks in this draft that I've seen with the overall pick numbers: Round 1 (No. 2 overall): Round 2 (32 and 52); Round 3 (75); Round 4 (93); Round 6 (161); Round 7 (182).

Organizational Draft History

2018
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 59 F Gabriel Fortier Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
3 90 D Dmitri Semykin Stupino (RUS-Jr) 0 0-0-0
4 121 D Alex Green Cornell (ECAC) 0 0-0-0
5 152 G Magnus Chrona Nacka HK J20 0 0-0-0
6 183 F Cole Koepke Sioux City (USHL) 0 0-0-0
7 206 D Radim Salda Saint John (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
7 214 G Ty Taylor Vernon (BCHL) 0 0-0-0
2017
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 14 D Cal Foote Kelowna (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2 48 F Alexander Volkov SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) 0 0-0-0
3 75 F Alexey Lipanov Dynamo (VHL) 0 0-0-0
6 169 D Nick Perbix Elk River (USHS) 0 0-0-0
6 180 F Cole Guttman Dubuque (USHL) 0 0-0-0
7 200 F Sammy Walker Edina High (USHS) 0 0-0-0
2016
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 27 F Brett Howden Moose Jaw (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2 37 D Libor Hajek Saskatoon (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2 44 F Boris Katchouk Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
2 58 F Taylor Raddysh Erie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
3 88 G Connor Ingram Kamloops (WHL) 0 0-0-0
4 118 F Ross Colton Cedar Rapids (USHL) 0 0-0-0
5 148 F Christopher Paquette Niagra (OHL) 0 0-0-0
6 178 D Oleg Sosunov Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl (MHL B) 0 0-0-0
7 206 F Otto Somppi Halifax (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
7 208 F Ryan Lohin Waterloo (USHL) 0 0-0-0
2015
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 33 F Mitchell Stephens Saginaw (OHL) 0 0-0-0
2 44 D Matthew Spencer Peterborough (OHL) 0 0-0-0
3 64 F Dennis Yan Shawinigan (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
3 72 F Anthony Cirelli Oshawa (OHL) 35 7-7-14
4 118 F Jonne Tammela KalPa (FIN) 0 0-0-0
4 120 F Mathieu Joseph Saint John (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
5 150 D Ryan Zuhlsdorf Sioux City (USHL) 0 0-0-0
6 153 G Kris Oldham Omaha (USHL) 0 0-0-0
6 180 F Bokondji Imama Saint John (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
2014
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 19 D Anthony DeAngelo Sarnia (OHL) 39 5-9-14
2 35 D Dominik Masin HC Slavia Jr (CZE) 0 0-0-0
2 57 D Johnathan MacLeod USA U18 (USHL) 0 0-0-0
3 79 F Brayden Point Moose Jaw (WHL) 167 57-65-122
4 119 D Ben Thomas Calgary (WHL) 0 0-0-0
6 170 F Cristiano DiGiacinto Windsor (OHL) 0 0-0-0
7 185 F Cameron Darcy Cape Breton (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
2013
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 3 F Jonathan Drouin Halifax (QMJHL) 187 34-75-109
2 33 F Adam Erne Quebec (QMJHL) 33 4-0-4
5 124 G Kristers Gudlevskis HK Riga (MHL) 3 1-0-1
6 154 F Henri Ikonen Kingston (OHL) 0 0-0-0
7 184 F Saku Salminen Kiekko-Vantaa (FIN-Jr) 0 0-0-0
7 186 F Joel Vermin Bern (NLA) 24 0-4-4
2012
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 10 D Slater Koekkoek Peterborough (OHL) 86 4-10-14
1 19 G Andrei Vasilevskiy Ufa (RUS-Jr) 184 100-60-11
2 40 D Dylan Blujus Brampton (OHL) 0 0-0-0
2 53 F Brian Hart Exeter (USHS) 0 0-0-0
3 71 F Tanner Richard Guelph (OHL) 3 0-0-0
4 101 F Cedric Paquette Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL) 298 31-27-58
6 161 D Jake Dotchin Owen Sound (OHL) 83 3-19-22
7 202 F Nikita Gusev CSKA-2 (RUS-Jr) 0 0-0-0
2011
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 27 F Vladislav Namestnikov London (OHL) 290 53-72-125
2 58 F Nikita Kucherov CSKA-2 (RUS-Jr) 427 176-217-393
5 148 D Nikita Nesterov Chelyabinsk-2 (RUS-Jr) 160 11-29-40
6 178 G Adam Wilcox Green Bay (USHL) 0 0-0-0
7 201 F Matthew Peca Pembroke (CJHL) 20 3-4-7
7 208 F Ondrej Palat Drummondville (QMJHL) 426 105-189-294
2010
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 6 F Brett Connolly Prince George (WHL) 279 42-40-82
3 63 D Brock Beukeboom Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
3 66 D Radko Gudas Everett (WHL) 278 18-52-70
3 72 D Adam Janosik Gatineau (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
4 96 D Geoffrey Schemitsch Owen Sound (OHL) 0 0-0-0
4 118 F Jimmy Mullin Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS) 0 0-0-0
6 156 F Brendan O'Donnell Winnipeg South (MJHL) 0 0-0-0
7 186 D Teigan Zahn Saskatoon (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2009
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 2 D Victor Hedman MoDo (SWE) 708 89-323-412
1 29 F Carter Ashton Lethbridge (WHL) 54 0-3-3
2 52 F Richard Panik Trinec (CZE) 274 47-48-95
4 93 F Alex Hutchings Barrie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
5 148 G Michael Zador Oshawa (OHL) 0 0-0-0
6 162 G Jaroslav Janus Erie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
7 183 D Kirill Gotovets Shattuck-St.Mary's (USHS) 0 0-0-0
2008
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 1 F Steven Stamkos Sarnia (OHL) 730 370-349-719
4 117 F James Wright Vancouver (WHL) 146 4-8-12
5 122 G Dustin Tokarski Spokane (WHL) 34 10-12-5
5 147 F Kyle DeCoste Brampton (OHL) 0 0-0-0
6 153 D Mark Barberio Moncton (QMJHL) 196 10-30-40
6 160 D Luke Witkowski Ohio (USHL) 56 0-4-4
7 182 F Matias Sointu Ilves Jr. A (FIN) 0 0-0-0
7 203 D David Carle Shattuck-St.Mary's (USHS) 0 0-0-0
2007
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 47 F Dana Tyrell Prince George (WHL) 142 7-17-24
3 75 F Luca Cunti GCK (SUI-2) 0 0-0-0
3 77 F Alex Killorn Deerfield Academy (USHS) 499 107-154-261
4 107 F Mitch Fadden Lethbridge (WHL) 0 0-0-0
5 150 F Matt Marshall Noble & Greenough (USHS) 0 0-0-0
6 167 F Johan Harju Lulea (SWE) 10 1-2-3
7 183 G Torrie Jung Kelowna (WHL) 0 0-0-0
7 197 D Michael Ward Lewiston (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
7 210 F Justin Courtnall Burnaby (BCHL) 0 0-0-0
2006
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 15 G Riku Helenius Ilves Jr. A (FIN) 1 0-0-0
3 78 D Kevin Quick Salisbury Prep (USHS) 6 0-1-1
6 168 D Dane Crowley Swift Current (WHL) 0 0-0-0
7 198 F Denis Kazionov Tver (RUS) 0 0-0-0
2005
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 30 D Vladimir Mihalik Presov (SVK-2) 15 0-3-3
3 73 F Radek Smolenak Kingston (OHL) 7 0-1-1
3 89 F Chris Lawrence Marie (OHL) 0 0-0-0
4 92 F Marek Bartanus HC Kosice (SVK Jr.) 0 0-0-0
4 102 F Blair Jones Moose Jaw (WHL) 132 7-10-17
5 133 F Stanislav Lascek Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
6 163 F Marek Kvapil Saginaw (OHL) 0 0-0-0
6 165 G Kevin Beech Sudbury (OHL) 0 0-0-0
7 225 D John Wessbecker Blake (USHS) 0 0-0-0
2004
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 30 Andy Rogers Calgary (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2 65 Mark Tobin Rimouski (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
4 102 D Mike Lundin Maine (HEAST) 252 4-32-36
5 158 Brandon Elliott Mississauga (OHL) 0 0-0-0
5 163 Dustin Collins Northern Michigan (CCHA) 0 0-0-0
6 188 D Jan Zapletal HC Vsetin (CZE Jr.) 0 0-0-0
6 191 G Karri Ramo Pelicans Lahti (FIN Jr.) 130 35-41-15
8 245 Justin Keller Kelowna (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2003
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 34 Mike Egener Calgary (WHL) 0 0-0-0
2 41 D Matt Smaby Shattuck-St.Mary's (USHS) 122 0-6-6
3 96 Jonathan Boutin Halifax (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
6 192 Doug O'Brien Hull (QJMHL) 5 0-0-0
7 224 Gerald Coleman London (OHL) 2 0-0-1
7 227 F Jay Rosehill Ohio (USHL) 117 5-3-8
8 255 Raimonds Danilics Stalkers (LAT Jr.) 0 0-0-0
8 256 Brady Greco Chicago (USHL) 0 0-0-0
8 273 F Albert Vishnyakov Kazan (RUS) 0 0-0-0
9 286 Zbynek Hrdel Rimouski (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
9 287 F Nick Tarnasky Lethbridge (WHL) 245 13-17-30
2002
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 60 Adam Henrich Brampton (OHL) 0 0-0-0
4 100 F Dmitri Kazionov Lada Togliatti 2 (RUS-3) 0 0-0-0
5 135 Joseph Pearce New Hampshire (HEAST) 0 0-0-0
5 162 Gerard Dicaire Koontenay (WHL) 0 0-0-0
6 170 P.J. Atherton Cedar Rapids (USHL) 0 0-0-0
6 174 Karri Akkanen Ilves Jr. A (FIN) 0 0-0-0
6 183 D Paul Ranger Oshawa (OHL) 323 24-82-106
7 213 Fredrik Norrena TPS Turku (FIN) 100 35-45-11
8 233 G Vasily Koshechkin Lada Togliatti 2 (RUS-3) 0 0-0-0
8 255 F Ryan Craig Brandon (WHL) 196 32-31-63
8 256 Darren Reid Medicine Hat (WHL) 21 0-1-1
9 286 F Alexei Glukhov Voskresensk 2 (RUS-3) 0 0-0-0
9 287 John Toffey Ohio State (CCHA) 0 0-0-0
2001
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 3 Alexander Svitov Omsk (RUS) 179 13-24-37
2 47 F Alexander Polushin Tver (RUS-2) 0 0-0-0
2 61 Andreas Holmqvist Hammarby IF (SWE-2) 0 0-0-0
3 94 F Evgeny Artyukhin Podolsk (RUS) 199 19-30-49
4 123 Aaron Lobb London (OHL) 0 0-0-0
5 138 Paul Lynch Valley (WJHL) 0 0-0-0
6 188 Art Femenella Sioux City (USHL) 0 0-0-0
7 219 Dennis Packard Harvard (ECAC) 0 0-0-0
7 222 Jeremy Van Hoof Ottawa (OHL) 0 0-0-0
8 252 Jean-Francois Soucy Montreal (QMJHL) 0 0-0-0
8 259 F Dmitri Bezrukov Nizhnekamsk (RUS) 0 0-0-0
8 263 F Vitali Smolianinov Nizhnekamsk Jr. (RUS) 0 0-0-0
9 281 F Ilya Solarev Perm (RUS) 0 0-0-0
9 289 Henrik Bergfors Sodertalje (SWE) 0 0-0-0
2000
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 8 Nikita Alexeev Erie (OHL) 159 20-17-37
2 34 Ruslan Zainullin Kazan (RUS) 0 0-0-0
3 81 Alexander Kharitonov Moscow (RUS) 71 7-15-22
4 126 Johan Hagglund Modo (SWE) 0 0-0-0
5 161 F Pavel Sedov Voskresensk (RUS) 0 0-0-0
6 191 Aaron Gionet Kamloops (WHL) 0 0-0-0
7 222 Marek Priechodsky Trnava (SVK Jr.) 0 0-0-0
7 226 Brian Eklund Brown University (ECAC) 1 0-1-0
8 233 Alexander Polukeyev St. Petersburg-2 (RUS-3) 0 0-0-0
9 263 Thomas Ziegler Ambri-Piotta (SWI-A) 5 0-0-0
1999
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
2 47 Sheldon Keefe Barrie (OHL) 125 12-12-24
3 67 Evgeny Konstantinov Kazan (RUS) 1 0-0-0
3 75 Brent Scheffelmaier Medicine Hat (WHL) 0 0-0-0
3 88 Jimmie Olvestad Djurgardens (SEL) 111 3-14-17
5 127 Kaspars Astashenko Riga (LAT) 23 1-2-3
5 148 Michal Lanicek Slavia Praha U20 (CZE) 0 0-0-0
6 182 Fedor Fedorov Port Huron (UHL) 18 0-2-2
7 187 Ivan Rachunek Zlin (CZE) 0 0-0-0
8 216 Erkki Rajamaki Helsinki (FNL) 0 0-0-0
9 244 Mikko Kuparinen Grand Rapids (IHL) 0 0-0-0
1998
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 1 F Vincent Lecavalier Rimouski (QMJHL) 1131 410-513-923
3 64 F Brad Richards Rimouski (QMJHL) 1018 284-604-888
3 72 Dmitry Afanasenkov Yaroslavl (RUS-2) 227 27-27-54
4 92 Eric Beaudoin Guelph (OHL) 53 3-8-11
5 121 Curtis Rich Calgary (WHL) 0 0-0-0
6 146 Sergei Kuznetsov Yaroslavl (RUS-2) 0 0-0-0
7 174 Brett Allan Swift Current (WHL) 0 0-0-0
1996
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
7 179 D Pavel Kubina Vitkovice HC (CZE) 970 110-276-386
1993
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME DRAFT TEAM GP STATS
1 3 Chris Gratton Kingston (OHL) 1092 214-354-568

One Week Out of Ottawa

It's amazing how much can change in the span of a week. This was supposed to be simply a draft review follow up on my previous blog entry "Five Days Before Ottawa." But, as I mentioned in that article, with the new ownership shoes have been falling fast and furious in Tampa Bay. Since that time the Lightning not only conducted their first draft under the Oren Koules regime, but they also named Barry Melrose Head Coach, locked up Vaclav Prospal to a long term deal, and acquired the negotiating rights for Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts who are expected to ink deals tomorrow with the team. And there's still July 1st to look forward to on Tuesday.

How will these deals work out? Hard to say. Am I enthusiastic about having Vaclav Prospal signed to a contract that will end when he's 38 years old (and having to see his skating at that age)? Not really. Do I have any idea what Barry Melrose's system will look like after 13 years away from hockey? I'd be lying if I said I did (and I'd be lying if I said I was really enthusiastic about Assistant Coach Rick Tocchet's off-ice baggage coming with him). Does Gary Roberts still have any gas in the tank? If he does it'll probably be worth $5 a gallon by the end of this coming season. And, am I really stoked about potentially signing Ryan Malone to a 7 year contract worth nearly $4.5 million dollars a year after a 51 point season that was just 3 points better than Michel Ouellet's last campaign in a Pens uniform? The new ownership is definitely rolling the dice with all of these moves.

Now, that said, it's nice to be shopping for groceries at the Whole Foods rather than the Super Wal-Mart for a change. The thing about a guy like Malone is that he does have the potential to be a second liner, whereas bargain bin players like Jan Hlavac the Lightning signed in previous years due to PS&E's budget constraints had little chance of being legitimate NHL scoring line threats. And while I won't back off my statement that OK Hockey projects the image that the circus is coming to town, I would like to praise them on very professionally handling the draft. There's some temptation for new ownership groups to make gigantic splashes at the draft, and Koules certainly could've tried to climb the ladder to get another first round pick. That wouldn't have been wise for the Lightning given the assets they had on hand, however, so discretion was the better part of valor. Koules polished off his first draft by making a nice PR move selecting David Carle as well, which sends a nice message throughout the hockey community that this organization does have a pretty big heart. So, altogether, it was a pretty good weekend in Ottawa. I thought the Lightning's draft last year was deeper and more on point with what needs to be done to rebuild the forward depth in the organization with it's emphasis on smaller speed-oriented players, but the team did get a franchise player in Stamkos and some nice depth players at the goaltending and defenseman positions in this draft. No complaints there. Next year's draft, now that the Lightning will have a pair of second round picks, will be a bigger opportunity for the organization to replenish depth.

Anyway, on to the players:

"Less Than a 1 Percent Chance" Carle Will Play Hockey Again

Damian Crisdotero of the times has a more detailed story up today on defenseman prospect David Carle's condition. The Carle family still holds out hope that the young blueliner's condition may be a less serious problem known as "athlete's heart", which is a thickening of the lining of the heart caused by exercising. According to the article, it will be six to eight weeks before test results will confirm whether his condition is indeed "athlete's heart." If it is, Carle will be off the ice another three months hoping that the lining of his heart reduces in size so he can resume his career.

"But it's almost a false hope," Carle said. "It's less than a 1 percent chance, so unless there's a miracle, I don't see it changing."

Carle, via Crisdotero's blog, urged all athletes to be safe and get themselves tested to make sure they catch any potential conditions like his in time.

NHL.com: "Lightning Gives David Carle a Gift"

NHL.com has a new notebook up featuring the Lightning's decision to draft D David Carle with their final pick in the seventh round today.

Sure doesn't sound like there is a lot of hope Carle can come back and play. That's a shame for Carle and the Lightning alike.

2008 Entry Draft

[h2]2008 Entry Draft[/h2]
RND PICK POS PLAYER NAME
CLUB NHL GP

D David Carle, Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS)

Seventh Round, Two-Hundred Third Overall
D David Carle, 5'11" 180 lbs, Shattuck-St. Mary's (USHS-MN)
Rankings: #60 North American CSS, #68 Overall Red Line Report, #70 Overall THN

55 GP, 10-34-44, 59 PIM

According to the Anchorage Daily News today (June 21), Carle, a University of Denver commitment and the younger brother of San Jose Sharks' defenseman Matt Carle, will have his hockey career put on hold – or most likely ended – by a heart condition. Carle told the newspaper on Friday he will no longer play the game after doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., diagnosed a heart condition that puts him at risk for sudden cardiac death if he exerts himself too strenuously. The newspaper states Carle said Mayo Clinic doctors on Thursday diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart that has been cited in the sudden death of young athletes.

The Daily News reports the abnormality was first detected in Carle's heart by doctors at the NHL's scouting combine in Toronto last month, prompting this week's visit to the Mayo Clinic.

On the Ice: Carle is an undersized puck-moving defenseman comparable to Colorado's Brett Clark. According to Red Line Report, Carle is a great skater with strong acceleration, good mobility, and good hockey sense. His shooting and passing skills are above average and he endears himself to coaches with his consistent play and willingness to do the little things. Denver is expected to honor his scholarship and make him a part of the Pioneer’s hockey program. Should Carle pull through his condition and resume his hockey career, the Lightning will hold his signing rights. However, this appears to be more of a reward pick of sorts to Carle by the Bolts.

Update:
Damian Crisdotero of the Times has the scoop on his blog.

"But general manager Jay Feaster said prospective new owner Oren Koules knows the family and the diagnosis might not be as severe as first believed. Besides Koules said, "The kid worked his whole life to be drafted in the NHL, and I don't see a reason he shouldn't be."

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