The Springfield Falcons have announced the recall of LW Radek Smolenak, G Jonathan Boutin and D Geoff Waugh from Johnstown of the ECHL. In addition, the team has reassigned LW David Spina to Johnstown of the ECHL.
Through 6 games in Johnstown this season Smolenak has 2 goals and 6 points with 6 penalty minutes and a -4 rating. A 3rd round pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Smolenak was rated the 9th best prospect in the organization in Bolt Prospects' Preliminary Rankings for 2006-2007. Boutin expectedly returns to the Falcons after going 0-2-0 in the last week with a 3.07 GAA and .919 save percentage. Waugh, who just recently cleared up work visa issues which had plagued him after strong showings at Lightning and Chiefs camps, was even in 2 games played with the Chiefs with 2 penalty minutes.
According to FalconsAHL.com, goaltender Jonathan Boutin and defenseman Geoff Waugh were reassigned to Johnstown of the ECHL following Springfield's victory tonight against Lowell. Boutin has not seen game action thus far in the regular season with Sean Burke in Springfield and Waugh has been struggling with work visa issues.
Let me start this commentary by throwing out some Lightning trivia. Did you know the maximum number of appearances made in an NHL season by a goaltender the Lightning drafted is 16 by Zac Bierk? Did you know that in total goaltenders drafted by the Lightning have made 94 total appearances, 382 less than Nikolai Khabibulin alone? In fact, did you know John Grahame has played in more NHL games (122) than every goaltender drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning combined?
This week the Lightning signed goaltenders Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman to entry-level deals in hopes of turning the tide on 13 seasons worth of draft futility between the pipes. Both could have talented careers as pros, but something troubled me this week that I want to talk about. The team has been floating the trial balloon that both goaltenders may split time in the team's ECHL affiliate in Johnstown. Let me explain why I think that trial ballon should be shot down, flogged, lit on fire and then buried.
Boutin will now battle with yesterday's signee Gerald Coleman to see which prospect be next in line behind Brian Eklund. Hrdel adds some desperately needed potential scoring punch to a Lightning organization which is extremely threadbare for skill at the forward position at the minor and junior level.
A quick blurb from the Sunday paper:
Jay Feaster intends to sign three of the team's 2003 draft picks by Thursday: G Jonathan Boutin, G Gerald Coleman and LW/C Zbynek Hrdel. All would be elligible to re-enter the draft if not signed by that time, although the new CBA will be less favorable economically for prospects if they choose to go that route.
Speaking about the goaltending prospect situation earlier this season, Feaster had hinted only one of the prospects might sign. But Boutin and Coleman both showed the ability to dominate their respective junior leagues at times last season and with the Lightning becoming part owners of the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL there should be plenty of room for new arrivals.