Lighting lose Bierk, sign Konstantinov

By pbadmin

Bolts lose Bierk, may replace him in Weekes

Just hours after the Lightning lost goalie of the future Zac Bierk, the
Bolts have reportedly replaced him and added a defenseman in the process.
The Tampa Tribune is reporting that a deal has been completed between the Lightning and Islanders. The Lightning would give the Islanders the number 5
selection in today’s draft, while the Islanders would send goaltender Kevin
Weekes and a prospect (reportedly monster 6’9” 255lbs. defenseman Zdeno
Chara).

Weekes played outstanding following his trade to the Islanders from
the Canucks a season ago, posting a .902 save percentage on the island.
Coach Steve Ludzik is very familiar with Weekes after coaching him with the
Detroit Vipers in the 1998-99 season where he posted 19 victories. Chara
brings the Lightning what they severely lack on defense, size. However it
also just creates a larger logjam on the Bolts blueline. This will lead to
trade speculation involving some of the younger defensemen in the Lightning
cupboard, especially if they add a veteran D-man.

The deal will also leave the Bolts with the number 8 selection,
which they should use, on a scoring forward. Alexei Smirnov, Martin
Samuelsson, and Nikita Alexeev are just a few of the prospects that should be
available. But GM Rick Dudley’s wheeling and dealing may not be over. There
is a good chance that he may trade his number 8 selection to move further
down in the first round or to acquire a scoring forward.

The deal now gives the Islanders 2 selections in the top 5 and the
ability to take highly touted goaltender Rick DiPietro with their top choice.
Speculation was that the Islanders, already with top prospect G Roberto
Luongo in their system, were looking to trade down and draft a prospect at
forward. Now that they own two picks they will be able to add a high forward
prospect (Raffi Torres, Scott Hartnell, or Pavel Vorobiev) or defenseman
Brooks Orpik.

Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Goaltending Prospect Evgeny Konstantinov

With only three goaltenders remaining in their system: Darren Puppa, Dieter Kochan and Dan Cloutier, the Lightning made a move to replenish it’s depleted goaltending depth, by signing prospect Evgeny Konstantinov to a three-year deal on Thursday. Puppa’s contract runs out in July and Kochan is an unknown at 25 who has spent his career bouncing around 8 different leagues. With Zac Bierk being selected in the NHL expansion draft it leaves the Lightning in desperate need of a goaltending prospect.
Konstantinov was the Lightning’s 3rd round choices in the 1999 Entry draft. He has remained in Russia playing with the Russian Elite League. Konstantinov made himself known in the 1999 World Juniors, where he was said to have been the best goaltender in the tournament. Konstantinov is often compared to Phoenix Coyotes Goaltender, Nikolai Khabibulin.
It is unknown whether Konstantinov will make Tampa’s roster next season, but he will attend the Lightning’s Rookie Camp in Hull, Quebec in the first week of September.