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Lightning in Talks with Shane Willis

Tom Jones of the [i]St. Pete Times[/i] is reporting the Lightning are in contract negotiations with former Springfield Falcons captain Shane Willis. Willis spent last season in Switzerland with HC Davos where he had 5 goals and 15 assists in 32 games before moving to Sweden. There, Willis played with recently signed (Tampa) goaltender Fredrik Norrena and Linkopings HC, getting one assist in six regular season games, then exploding for 6 goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games. He captained Springfield in 2004-2005 and scored 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games. Willis is known for his fine rookie season in Carolina where he registered 20 goals and 44 points to earn him an all-rookie team selection. His career was knocked off course when he suffered a concussion in a playoff game after a hit from the Devil's Scott Stevens. Willis was traded to the Lightning on March 5, 2002, in Tampa GM Jay Feaster's first trade, coming to the Bolts with Chris Dingman for goaltender Kevin Weekes. In 33 games with Tampa, Willis has 4 goals and 9 assists, though is regarded as just needing an extended opportunity to make his mark. With rumors of Tampa dealing a scoring line player for a goaltender, that opportunity could be in front of him.

Lightning Bring Back Perrin

According to a Springfield Falcons press release, the Lightning have signed center Eric Perrin to a one-year deal. Perrin, a 5-foot-9, 176-pound native of Laval, Quebec last played in the Lightning uniform in Game 4 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. He played in 12 total playoff games in 2004 and recorded an assist, his first in the NHL, during Game 1 of the ECF. Perrin also recorded nine shots on goal en route to winning the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in his first NHL season. He appeared in four regular season games and logged a season-high 11:49 of ice time in the season finale on April 3. “As we have stated many times, losing Eric Perrin to Europe last season as a result of the re-entry waiver rules in the new CBA was a major blow to our organizational depth,” Feaster said. “Eric performed very well for us during his late-season recall and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2004. We are very pleased that he has chosen to re-sign with us now and we look forward to seeing him competing for a spot on our roster in camp.”

Report: Russian Hockey Federation Agrees to IIHF-NHL Transfer Pact

According to Russian Hockey Digest, President Vladislav Tretiak and the Russian Hockey Federation have agreed to the IIHF-NHL Transfer Agreement. TSN in Canada is also reporting a signing will come on June 16. Such a signing would pave the way for prospects such as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin to come to North America this summer. The Lightning currently have 10 prospects in Russia:

Redline Report Mock Draft

Although my copy of Redline's 2006 Draft Guide has yet to show up on my front stoop, Redline [url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/columnist/woodlief/2006-mock-draft.htm]has released their mock draft online for USAToday.[/url] Redline has the Lightning selecting goaltender Jonathan Bernier out of Lewiston of the QMJHL. Bolt Prospects will have more on Bernier and all the potential 2006 picks in the coming weeks.

Bolt Prospects 2005-2006 Final Rankings: 5-1

Today, we finally reach the big finale of our ongoing series revealing Bolt Prospects Final Rankings for the 2005-2006 season. For the sake of tradition, we'll begin with the customary disclaimers. Bolt Prospects considers a prospect to be any player under 24 years of age on opening night 2005 who has played less than 82 career NHL games and has not played 41 or more games in any single NHL season. By those criteria, [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] and [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] have graduated from prospect status and have been moved on our prospects page to a section entitled "Bolt Prospects Alumni". Now, on to the top 5 spots on our final rankings which feature a left winger, a goaltender and three towering stay-at-home defensemen.
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