Atherton, P.J.

Mea Culpa: Atherton, Collins, Femenella, and Pearce

It has been brought to my attention in the last couple of days by BP reader Freadrich43 that my understanding of the August 15th signing deadline for NCAA players has been incorrect. I had been operating under the impression that NCAA players leaving school did not have to be signed until August 15th of the year after they graduated. This, as it turns out, was incorrect and I thank Freadrich43 for bringing it to my attention. An NCAA prospect must be signed by August 15th of the summer following their graduation for their rights to be retained by the NHL club.

Site rules are that only players whose rights are held by the Lightning can be included on the Prospects page. That means that for the last year PJ Atherton was incorrectly included on the page. While this wasn't necessarily a catastrophic oversight considering Atherton played last season inside the organization under a minor league contract, we still strive for 100% accuracy. So, I apologize. The fault was mine.

The rule also will effect three other prospects who have been included on the Prospects page: Dustin Collins, Arthur Femenella, and Joseph Pearce. With Collins and Femenella both slated to appear for the Lightning in Traverse City at the start of September and likely to attend Norfolk Admirals camp later on in the Fall, I have been forced to decide what to do with them until their participation in those events are complete. The decision I've reached is to remove Pearce, who was not invited to Traverse City, from the page immediately and leave Collins and Femenella on until Bolt Prospects releases its Preliminary Rankings in early October. If neither receives an NHL contract by that time, they will be removed from the page as well.

Just to reiterate, I'm sorry. While it's not a huge mistake in the grand scheme of things, I know that our readers expect and deserve nothing less than complete accuracy. For the future, now that we have clarification on how the rule works, we will be sure to promptly and correctly update the Prospects page after an NCAA player graduates.

Thanks,
Pete

Lightning Choose Not to Sign Atherton

August 15th came and went quietly, and the Lightning did not sign prospect defenseman PJ Atherton. Despite scoring 5 goals and 29 points in 57 games as a rookie with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL, Atherton was a casualty of the Lightning's overwhelming defensive depth in the minor league system signed over the course of the summer.

With the Lightning losing Atherton's rights, he will be removed from the Top-20 on the prospect page. In his place, enforcer Brandon Elliot will be temporarily moved into the Top-20. Just a note to those wondering when the '07 draftees will be added to the rankings: Bolt Prospects policy is to wait until after the Traverse City prospect tournament and Lightning training camp before placing new draftees into the rankings. This allows new players to prove themselves in a competitive environment against their peers in the organization and allows for a more accurate set of rankings to be generated. Typically, Bolt Prospects has released its Preliminary Rankings around the first or second week of October, so expect an update containing the 2007 draftees to be published then.

ECHL Game Night 4/6: Royals at Chiefs

Johnstown's season finale in Reading will be with a playoff spot on the line.

REA-4
JHN-3

Morgan Cey allowed 4 goals on 32 shots in the loss. Gus Katsuras had 1 goal and 1 assist for the Chiefs while Marek Kvapil and PJ Atherton added third period goals during a failed comeback bid. Maxime Boisclair, Dimitri Tarabrin, Bryan Nathe, Grant Jacobsen and Radek Smolenak added individual assists.

Wheeling's loss to Trenton tonight eliminates them from the playoffs. Reading leapfrogs Johnstown into the final North Division playoff spot with the win tonight with the Royals sitting at 71 points and the Chiefs at 70 points. Both teams are tied with 32 wins in the win column. So it comes down to tomorrow at 7:05 pm in Reading. Winner moves on. Loser hits the links.

First Period
REA Hogeboom, (30) (Zappala, Smith), 1:56
JHN Katsuras, (11) (Boisclair, Tarabrin), 16:53 (PP)

Second Period
REA Becker, (10) (Werner, Hogeboom), 5:49 (PP)
REA Collymore, (15) (Zappala, Hogeboom), 10:31
REA Collymore, (16) (Saurette, Bala), 13:30

Third Period
JHN Kvapil, (3) (Katsuras, Nathe), 10:13
JHN Atherton, (5) (Jacobsen, Smolenak), 18:54 (PP)

Game sheet from ECHL.com.

ECHL Game Night 3/30: Storm at Chiefs

All of a sudden, with Special K as the spark, the playoff math is starting to favor the Chiefs.

TOL-1
JHN-6

Ryan Munce made 24 stops for the win. The former Kings draft pick has won 3 of his last 4 starts. Radek Smolenak posted a 1 goal and 3 assist night to pace the Chiefs. Marek Kvapil added 3 assists and Gus Katsuras chipped in a pair of goals. Zbynek Hrdel had 1 goal and 1 assist and PJ Atherton had 2 assists to complete the list of 5 Chiefs players who posted multi-point nights. Defensemen John Adams and Ian MacLean had the team's other goals. Maxime Boisclair and Andrew Martens added individual helpers. Smolenak, Katsuras and Kvapil were named the game's three stars.

And just like that Johnstown is just 1 point out of a playoff spot with 2 games in hand on the Reading Royals.

First Period
JHN Katsuras, (8) (Boisclair, Hrdel), 2:10
TOL Martin, (11) (Walsh, Blight), 6:40
JHN Hrdel, (11) (Kvapil, Smolenak), 14:46 (PP)
JHN Adams, (3) (Kvapil, Smolenak), 18:22 (PP)

Second Period
JHN MacLean, (3) (Smolenak, Kvapil), 5:07
JHN Smolenak, (15) (Atherton, Martens), 8:20
JHN Katsuras, (9) (Atherton), 19:10 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Game sheet from ECHL.com.

Atherton Up, Kvapil Down

The Springfield Falcons have announced the promotion of defenseman PJ Atherton from Johnstown of the ECHL. In addition, the Falcons demoted right winger Marek Kvapil to Johnstown. Kvapil had been considered a potential NHL callup heading into the 2006-2007 season, but a disasterous year in the AHL has seen Kvapil busted down to Springfield's checking lines. After failing to score in some weeks, Kvapil's demotion is the final thud in an unremarkable campaign.

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