Prospect photos from the 2007-2008 Tampa Bay Lightning Training Camp. Photos courtesy of Kathy Cauwels.
Lightning fans who know me know that when it comes to this team's prospects I've been a big booster of the concept of Karri Ramo making it to the NHL sooner rather than later. However, for Ramo to make the team out of camp would be an improbable event because the business side of the game all but precludes it. The Lightning have invested roughly $4 million dollars in the tandem of Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis heading into the 2007-2008 season, and the team learned this summer that Denis is virtually untradable at this point in time after such a poor campaign last season. I won't even attempt to argue for Ramo's promotion to the bigs from a business standpoint, because it doesn't make sense.
But from a hockey standpoint it makes all the sense in the world, and it makes sense on two levels...
Different day, same results. Sunday's scrimmage ended in yet another 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White, duplicating Saturday's result. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Team Black's goal came from the prospective fourth line with Nick Tarnasky getting the goal off an Andre Roy feed. Team White's goal was scored by free agent signing Michel Ouellet off a pass by Brad Richards.
Erlendsson calls out overage prospect David Schneider for a couple of positive plays in today's game. Schneider spent the past four seasons in Finland playing in the SM-liiga for TPS and HPK and was a teammate of Karri Ramo when the two won a championship in 2005-2006. Schneider was signed to anchor the Norfolk Admirals' power play and should provide some offensive spark to the Ads' attack.
Also on the positive side, today was another strong outing for the Lightning's goaltenders particularly Ramo and veteran Marc Denis. Erlendsson had Denis stopping 17 of 17 shots faced while Ramo stopped 16 of 17 including a 3-on-1 chance by Dan Jancevski.
According to Tampabaylightning.com, day one of camp scrimmages ended in a 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White. Team White's goal was scored by winger Kyle Wanvig off assists from Brad Richards and Doug Janik while Team Black's goal was scored by Vincent Lecavalier off assists from Vaclav Prospal and Paul Ranger.
Wanvig and Janik continue to make a strong impression after good showings in camp during physical testing on Thursday and Friday. Erik Erlendsson also notes in his blog that Wanvig was displaying a strong physical presence throughout the game to go with his goal. The Lightning's top-12 forwards appeared to be set going into training camp, but Wanvig appears to be playing his way into the discussion of who will be the first forward called up at the very least.
Erlendsson notes none of the defensemen vying for the team's #6 and #7 defenseman jobs separated from the pack, and that all three goaltenders played well with wunderkind Karri Ramo stopping 16 of 16 shots faced including a penalty shot by rookie pro Mike Lundin.
NHL.com has a couple of articles out today regarding the Lightning's prospects. First up, John McGourty interviews General Manager Jay Feaster on the top prospects in the Lightning organization. Feaster gives his opinions on defensemen Matt Smaby, Andy Rogers, and Vladimir Mihalik, forward Blair Jones, and goaltenders Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius.
Next up Shawn P. Roarke interviews Helenius from the Team USA Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Helenius talks about leaving Finland behind to join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.
As some of you might know, the Falcons just completed E-baying practically their full rosters worth of black road jerseys and practice jerseys tonight. How Mitch Fritz and Daniel Corso's jerseys fetched more than Karri Ramo's, I'll never know.
In any event, yours truly just plunked down a couple hundie on young Matt Smaby's #27. No pressure Matt, but you better make the team now.