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WDAE: Lightning Sign Ramo and Smolenak

What a difference 24 hours makes. 620 WDAE is reporting the Lightning [url=http://620wdae.com/cc-common/mainheadlines2.html?feed=122843&article=388031]have signed prospects Karri Ramo and Radek Smolenak.[/url] Just a day ago talks between the Lightning and Ramo appeared to be stalled with both sides far apart on the financial particulars of a new deal. However, with the IIHF deadline looming, it appears progress was made quickly today in some heavy eleventh hour negotiations. [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] is rated by Bolt Prospects as the best goaltending prospect in the Lightning organization. This season, at age 19, he was a tandem starter for SM-liiga club HPK and helped his team capture championship gold in Finland's top league. He was fifth in the SM-liiga amongst goaltenders with 20 or more appearances in save percentage at .929 and his 2.18 GAA was 8th in the league. Ramo also served as backup on Finland's U20 World Junior Championships team. [url=radek-smolenak]Radek Smolenak[/url] will join fellow sniper prospect [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] in Springfield next season. He scored 42 goals and 84 points in 65 games this season with Kingston in the OHL to go along with 109 penalty minutes. One of the best pure finishers in the Lightning pipeline, he was amongst the final cuts for the Czech Republic's U20 World Junior Championships team.

"Goaltending Makeover is NOT Finished!"

The Lightning organization has made clear to Bolt Prospects that [url=fredrik-norrena]Fredrik Norrena's[/url] signing is just the first step in a series of offseason moves the team intends to make between the pipes. The Lightning are unsure what the 32 year old Norrena will be able to bring to the table for the team right out of the gates but they expect him to be a legitimate contender for the team's number one job in camp. The team also has indicated it is still looking for a veteran goaltender to play in Springfield next season and intends to place just one prospect netminder with the Falcons and two with the Johnstown Chiefs. On the contract front, negotiations with goaltending prospect [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] and center [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] continue to move at a painfully slow pace. The Lightning hold Ramo's rights until the summer of 2008, but with Ramo establishing himself at the SM-liiga level and able to earn elite league money in Finland, the situation appears to be at a stalement. The situation looks similarly deadlocked with Jones, who appears to be headed back to Moose Jaw for another year of junior unless progress can be made in negotiations over the summer. The Lightning will hold Jones' rights until the summer of 2007.

Lightning Announce Norrena Signing

The Tampa Bay Lightning have officially announced the signing of goaltender Fredrik Norrena. Norrena will make the trek across the Atlantic and participate in the Lightning's NHL camp this fall. Had the Lightning not signed Norrena by Thursday, he would have become an unrestricted free agent. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported yesterday that Norrena signed a one-year deal at $525,000 with a $225,000 signing bonus. Norrena and Sean Burke are currently the leaders for the Lightning's No.1 goaltending job, but that is highly likely to change in the coming summer months. The goaltending makeover in Tampa Bay is officially underway, however.

Aftonbladet: Norrena Deal Done

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is reporting Finland Olympic goaltender Fredrik Norrena has agreed to a one year deal with the Lightning. No confirmation or announcement has been made by Tampa Bay. More information to follow.

Finnish Newspaper: Norrena Deal Almost Done

Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat [url=http://www.turunsanomat.fi/urheilu/?ts=1,3:1006:0:0,4:6:0:1:2006-05-27,104:6:381474,1:0:0:0:0:0:]is reporting a deal between the Lightning and goaltending prospect Fredrik Norrena may be imminent.[/url] In the report Norrena is quoted as saying the Lightning have raised their offer to a level Norrena and his agent are comfortable and that a deal appears to be just a signature away. Norrena, 32, has long been recognized as one of the finest goaltenders on the European club hockey scene. He has won championships both in the SM-liiga in Finland with TPS Turku and in the Elitserien with Vastra Frolunda where he tandemed with New York Rangers star netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Norrena has been a fixture for Finland on their Euro Tour teams and this year he won silver as backup on the Finnish Olympic team and bronze as their starter at the World Championships. With his club team, Linkopings, Norrena had a down year posting a subpar, by his lofty standards, .914 save percentage and 2.16 GAA with 4 shutouts. In his career year of 2003-2004 Norrena set the single season Elitserien record with 9 shutouts. That year he also had a .939 save percentage and 1.69 GAA which led the Elitserien in all three categories ahead of Henrik Lundqvist. During the lockout season of 2004-2005, Norrena finished second in the Elitserien with a 1.86 GAA, .935 save percentage and 5 shutouts (tied), numbers that combined bested NHL starters (present and former) Martin Gerber, Mikka Kiprusoff, Tommy Salo and Pasi Nurminen. Norrena was bested by only Lundqvist in all three categories during the 2004-2005 season. If he does indeed sign, the Lightning's interest in signing Brynas netminder Johan Holmqvist is expected to wane.
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