Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has announced the team has sent qualifying offers to 10 restricted free agent prospects. Those prospects whose rights were retained by the Bolts include forwards Blair Jones, Juraj Simek, Martins Karsums, Nate Thompson, Paul Szczechura, Steve Downie, and Teddy Purcell, along with defensemen Mike Lundin, Paul Ranger, and Vladimir Mihalik.
For Simek, Szczechura, and Mihalik this represents their first qualifying offers as their entry level contracts have expired.
Training camp is just around the corner for the Lightning, and in about a month they'll be dropping the puck on the 2009-2010 NHL season. But, for Lightning prospect followers the season starts Thursday, September 10, when Dimitri Kazionov and Kazan square off with Yaroslavl. It will be Bolt Prospects' fifth season of covering the team's prospects, and one of the most interesting in the past half decade. Here's a quick preview of the year ahead: