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It's always an exciting time when new players get into the lineup, and tonight's Lightning debuts for defenseman Noah Welch and right wing Martins Karsums
will be no exception. Welch, acquired from Florida, is another talented, young defenseman just in need of the right opportunity. Starting tonight he should have plenty of chances to show the Lightning brass he can play on a regular basis and deserves a spot in the team's top six next season.
Karsums, to me, is even more exciting of a prospect. A proven scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the stocky Latvian had just begun to break into the Boston Bruins lineup when he was acquired by Tampa Bay. With the flu forcing Ryan Malone
to miss tonight's game, Karsums will get the chance to skate alongside Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal. Not a bad situation for a guy trying to make an impression.
While Welch and Karsums had the chance to skate with their new teammates at practice yesterday, defenseman Matt Lashoff - also acquired from Boston - made his first appearance in the locker room today. Lashoff, who I predict will be the most valuable of Wednesday's acquisitions, is out with a leg injury and spent the morning in the weight room. He should be cleared in a week or two but will likely play in Norfolk before making his Tampa Bay debut.
Right wing Brandon Segal, sent back to Norfolk yesterday, was back in Tampa this morning and will play tonight in Malone's place. Paul Szczechura is banged up and had to leave practice early yesterday, and Interim Head Coach Rick Tocchet said he will be a gametime decision tonight. And while it would've made a nice story if Mike McKenna had faced his hometown team tonight, Karri Ramo will start once again.