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Cunti on College, the CHL, and Possibly Turning Pro (Updated)

In a USCHO feature yesterday, Lightning third round pick Luca Cunti gave his thoughts on where in North America he could possibly be playing next year.

As of right now, most signs point to college.

"I need some education," Cunti told USCHO. "I am talking to St. Cloud and Clarkson and a few others, but these two are now the most important. I just want to have some school, so I am thinking of school now."

Unless, of course, he's offered a pro deal.

Cunti said he'd know within two weeks which way he'll go, because "It depends on what [Tampa Bay] will offer me."

In and Out

Erik Erlendsson blogs on who the Lightning will and won't qualify before July 1st according to Jay Feaster. Note: this isn't a complete list.

IN: Paul Ranger, Ryan Craig, Karl Stewart, Mike Egener, Mitch Fritz

OUT: Doug Janik, Brady Greco, John Toffey, Morgan Cey, Adam Henrich

Analysis on the flip.

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Complete

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Picks

First Round
NONE

Second Round
#47 Overall
C/RW Dana Tyrell, 5'10" 185 lbs, Prince George (WHL)

Third Round
#75 Overall
LW Luca Cunti, 6'0" 185 lbs, GCK (SUI NLB)

#77 Overall
C Alexander Killorn, 6'0" 161 lbs, Deerfield (USHS)

Fourth Round
#107 Overall
C Mitch Fadden, 6'0" 174 lbs, Lethbridge (WHL)

Fifth Round
#150 Overall*
C/RW Matt Marshall, 6'1" 175 lbs, Nobles (USHS)

Sixth Round
#167 Overall
LW/C Johan Harju, 6'3" 205 lbs, Lulea (SWE)

Seventh Round
#183 Overall*
G Torrie Jung, 6'1" 170 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)

#197 Overall
D Michael Ward, 6'2" 180 lbs, Lewiston (QMJHL)

#210 Overall*
LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)

*=Lightning trade Dallas' 4th round pick (acquired in the Darryl Sydor trade) to Ottawa in exchange for picks #150, #183 and #210.

For Head Scout Jake Goertzen's comments on each pick, see the Tampa Tribune review.

7th Round, #210 Overall, Justin Courtnall

With their final selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the 7th round, #210 overall, acquired from Ottawa, the Lightning select:

LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)
53 GP, 5-9-14, 69 PIM

Justin is the son of former NHL player Geoff Courtnall and nephew of former NHLer Russ Courtnall. Was drafted by Kelowna in the 11th round of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft but has elected to stay in high school and pursue the college route. He was loaned to Burnaby by Victoria last season where he put up modest numbers. Is considered to be a good skater with good hands, but his numbers don't reflect it. Will play for Victoria in the BCHL next season. No word on his college options at this time.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #181 (North American Skaters)

7th Round, #197 Overall, Michael Ward

With their 7th round pick, #197 overall, the Lightning select:

D Michael Ward, 6'2" 180 lbs, Lewiston (QMJHL)
58 GP, 0-7-7, 39 PIM

Ward is a mobile stay-at-home defenseman who was picked by Lewiston at the top of the second round in the 2006 QMJHL entry draft. Lewiston traded its second and third round pick to move up to take him at No.22 overall. Ward hasn't exhibited much offensive game to this point in his career, but neither had Paul Ranger at this age. Lewiston won the QMJHL championship this year, losing only one game in the QMJHL playoffs. The MAINEiacs went 1-3 at the Memorial Cup. Ward played in three Memorial Cup games, going scoreless.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #156 (North American Skaters)

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