The Tampa Bay Lightning will host 41 prospects at the St. Pete Times Forum Tuesday, July 25 through Saturday, July 29 for the 2006 Conditioning and Tryout Camp. The event is open and free to the public.
The players will be broken down into two squads and will rotate on the ice from 8:15 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. before joining each other for scrimmages from 3:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Fans will be able to see a total of 21 Lightning prospects and 20 invitees. Fans attending should enter the St. Pete Times Forum through Gate A.
Highlights of the players invited to the camp include Finnish goaltender Karri Ramo, defensemen Vladimir Mihalik, Andy Rogers and Matt Smaby, and forwards Marek Kvapil, Justin Keller, Blair Jones and Stanislav Lascek.
Ramo, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound native of Asikkala, Finland aided HPK Hameenlinna to the Finnish Elite League Championship in 2005-06 in his first year with the club. He appeared in 24 games during the regular season and posted a 2.16 goals-against average with a .929 save percentage. He ranked first on the team in save percentage and was second in goals-against average. He was signed by the Lightning on May 31 and will play in their system this season.
Mihalik was selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 30th overall, at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and made his North American Debut in 2005-06. He scored three goals and added nine assists in 62 games with the Red Deer Rebels. He also attended Lightning Training Camp in 2005.
Rogers was selected in the first round, 30th overall, at the 2004 Draft. He appeared in 21 games with the Prince George Cougars in 2005-06 and recorded three assists. His season was shortened due to injury. He was signed by the Lighting on October 3, 2005 following Training Camp.
Smaby captained the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux that reached the NCAA Frozen Four for the second consecutive season in 2005-06. Smaby skated in 45 games with the Sioux this past season, scoring four goals and dishing out 15 assists. He was tied for third on the team in plus/minus rating with a plus-20 rating. Smaby was also one of three Sioux to be named to the All-WCHA Third Team.
Kvapil was tied for fourth on the Springfield Falcon in goals and was fifth in points with 45 in his first professional season. He was the third leading scorer among OHL rookies, and was named OHL Rookie of the Month twice in 2004-05. Kvapil was chosen by the Lightning in the sixth round, 163rd overall, at the 2005 Draft.
Keller was signed by the Lightning on May 23, 2006. He led the Western Hockey League with 51 goals in 72 games for Kelowna, which finished with a 46-22-1-3 record in 2005-06. In 12 WHL playoff games, Keller recorded nine points. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Summerland, British Columbia is best remembered for scoring the goal that won the 2004 Memorial Cup for the Rockets. Keller was selected by the Lightning in the eighth round, 245th overall, at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Jones played in 72 games for the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2005-06. He finished the season third on the team in points with 85 and goals with 35. His 14 power play goals led the team and he ranked second in assists with 50 as he helped his team to the Western Hockey League's East Division title. Jones also ranked sixth in the league in points, one place behind Keller, and tied for fifth in assists. He also appeared in 22 playoff games with Moose Jaw and led the team with 21 points.
Lascek recorded 47 goals and 135 points in 64 games for Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league in 2005-06, finishing as the second leading scorer in the league and third overall in the Canadian Hockey League (including the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League). He was selected by the Lightning in the fifth round, 133rd overall, at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The 2006 QMJHL Second Team All-Star lit up score sheets all season long, winning Offensive Player of the Week honors in September, Offensive Player of the Month honors in November and recording a seven-point game (two goals, five assists).
This is the first time in franchise history the Lightning will host a Conditioning and Tryout Camp during the summer.