Lightning N.A. Junior Report

By Chad Schnarr


W Evgeni ArtukhinGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Podolsk (Rus 1)491572294NA
2002-2003 Moncton 307152292+7

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 20GP, 2G-11A-13P, 72PIM, (+4)

After starting strong in his North American hockey debut, Artukhin has leveled off. He is still getting scoring line and power play time, but is sinking back into his old habits of spending too much time in the penalty box. He is third on the Wildcats in penalty minutes. His effort has been questioned, but he continues to show flashes of NHL ability, which has many Wildcat fans hopeful he can put his game together in time for a playoff run. Artukhin was a surprise selection to the 2003 Russian World Juniors squad. After four games in the tournament, Artukhin has yet to hit the scoreboard, though he has six penalty minutes and a minus-one rating while playing a banger role on the fourth line. He remains a strong candidate for a pro contract and AHL time next year.

2001-2002 Montreal498132194NA
2002-2003 Montreal34161834110E

Stock: Still Rising
Since Last Update: 26GP, 12G-13A-25P, 96PIM, (-6)

Soucy is continuing his strong year by maintaining a point-per-game pace, which is great to see considering he only managed 21 points in 49 games last season. He has become Mr. Clutch for the Rocket, leading the team with four game winning goals – two more than anyone else on the club. That figure is good enough for sixth in the league, also. Montreal continues to struggle, despite Soucy’s emergence, as they are still at the bottom of their conference. Soucy is playing himself into a pro contract at the end of the year and should be with Tampa’s AHL affiliate next fall.

Ontario Hockey League

W Aaron LobbGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 London/Guelph17281018NA
2002-2003 Guelph 30681460+3

Stock: Falling
Since Last Update: 19GP, 4G-4A-8P, 33PIM, (+3)

Lobb recently played himself out of Guelph’s lineup and was a healthy scratch for a handful of games. According to a source in Guelph, Lobb was apprehensive about playing in traffic and that was the main reason for him being a scratch. Guelph was also enduring the problem of having too many healthy and able bodies for spots (more than normal) and some talented players had to be scratched. Guelph has since created more room through trades, but Lobb continues to fight for quality ice time. He also continues to fight, both by dropping the gloves and fighting to regain strength after last year’s serious knee injury. Two years ago Lobb scored 23 goals in 67 games, but his development has been derailed by the knee and some underachieving. He is battling for a contract this spring and does have a decent training camp showing in his back pocket Tampa GM Jay Feaster will no doubt have to look at before making any financial commitment on Lobb. Lobb doesn’t have the speed that fellow big-men Soucy and Artukhin have, so without showing superior offensive ability and a tenacious work ethic, Lobb will be an underdog to receive a contract if Feaster is stingy as to which youngsters he spends the Lightning’s money on this spring.

W Adam HenrichGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Brampton6633306392-4
2002-2003 Brampton2912152744+16

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 21GP, 5G-12A-17P, 28PIM, (+11)

Henrich has stepped up his game in the absence of teammate Jay McClement (WJC – Canada) and has notched two goals and three assists in his last two games with more responsibility. This has been the norm for Henrich this season—scoring in bunches. After scoring 33 goals last season, he’s barely on pace to reach 25 goals this year. He had high expectations on him entering the year, but his offensive numbers have not met that pace as of yet. That said, after finishing –4 last season, Henrich’s +16 rating is currently good for second on the team and twentieth in the OHL. Henrich remains a bright part of the Lightning’s future, despite the oversight of Henrich being listed as “Heinrich” in a recent Hockey News “Top Pick Spotlight.” If Henrich finds some consistency to his game, look out.

D Paul RangerGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Oshawa6209949NA
2001-2002 Osh. (Playoffs)50004NA
2002-2003 Oshawa365141930+10

Stock: Still Rising
Since Last Update: 27GP, 3G-11A-14P, 24PIM, (+4)

In half as many games, Ranger has more than doubled (19) his 2001-02 point output (9). He is one of the defensive leaders for the Generals, who are second in the East Division and playing solid hockey. Ranger is a regular on the Oshawa power play and is playing with a lot more maturity and tenacity.

Western Hockey League

D Gerard DicaireGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Sea/Kty676465234NA
2001-2002 Kty (Playoffs)221131424+7
2002-2003 Kootenay399223153+10

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 25GP, 5G-14A-19P, 26PIM, (+7)

Dicaire’s +10 rating is tops on his team. He is the Ice’s power play quarterback and his seven power play goals are second on the club. He is among WHL leaders for points by a defenseman. Barring contractual problems, Dicaire should be with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate this time next season.

W Darren ReidGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Medicine Hat37891770+8
2001-2002 D.V. (AJHL)3191221195NA
2002-2003 Medicine Hat337172488-4

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 21GP, 5G-12A-17P, 48PIM, (-1)

Reid is averaging nearly a point per game since returning from a concussion. He leads the Tigers in penalty minutes and is a gritty leader for the club.

LW Ryan CraigGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Brandon5229356452NA
2001-2002 Bdn (Playoffs)1911102113+7
2002-2003 Brandon2719173640+13

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 25GP, 17G-16A-33P, 38PIM, (+14)

Craig is turning out to be a fantastic late-round pick-up for Jake Goertzen, Feaster and the Bolts. The Wheat King’s captain is now third on the club in points, second in +/- and is tied with his Canadian celebrity teammate Jordin Tootoo for the team lead in power play goals with nine. His five game winning goals are second in the league and his 19 goals thirteenth. Craig was named captain of the WHL East All-Stars for the Hershey Cup and notched two goals and an assist in a 5-2 victory of the QMJHL’s Lebel Conference All-Stars. Craig is due for a contract this spring and is making the decision easy for Jay Feaster.


D Arthur FemenellaGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Sioux City5611011215NA
2001-2002 Sioux City (Playoffs)1201132NA
2002-2003 Sioux City 25156103+5

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 20GP, 1G-3A-4P, 78PIM, (+6)

The six-foot-seven Femenella will be following in the mite-sized footsteps of five-foot-six and current Lightning forward Martin St. Louis when he attends the University of Vermont next fall. Femenella has verbally committed to the Catamounts, fulfilling a highly prioritized goal he set for himself coming out of high school. Drafted by Peterborough in the OHL, Femenella spurned the Petes and went to the USHL instead to maintain NCAA eligibility in hopes of landing a college scholarship. It took a little longer than he expected, but he will now be getting a degree and playing hockey at a well-respected school. It will be interesting to see how Femenella, one of the USHL’s most feared fighters, will cope in the fight-free NCAA.

G Joseph PearceW-L-TGAASv%SO
2001-2002 Manchester (EJHL)NA2.16.9330
2001-2002 Man. (Playoffs)NA1.82.938NA
2002-2002 Chicago 7-6 (2 OTL)3.23.8891

Stock: Steady
Last Update: 2-2-0, 2.25, .911%, 1 S.O.

Pearce is currently part of a goaltending duo in Chicago, though his numbers are better than his partner’s. Pearce will attend Boston College in the fall.

Eastern Junior Hockey League

W John ToffeyGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Ohio State242354NA
2002-2003 Walpole82684NA

Stock: Steady

Toffey stopped attending The Ohio State University in the summer, thereby being released from his hockey and baseball scholarships. He is still listed on Ohio State’s website as being on the hockey roster, though we received word from the athletic department he is no longer with the team. He played minor-pro baseball this summer for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League, posting below-average numbers as a relief pitcher. He joined the Walpole Junior Stars in the fall, in which he will keep his NCAA eligibility. The EJHL is the same league Joe Pearce played in last season. Toffey’s EJHL stats are as of 12-01-02.

NCAA Hockey


D PJ AthertonGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Cedar Rapids (USHL)5472229101NA
2002-2003 U of Minnesota81017E

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 7GP, 1G-0A-1P, 7PIM, (E)

Atherton scored his first career collegiate goal when he fired home a shot at the 2:31 mark of the first period to open the scoring of what would be a 7-4 Gopher win over Minnesota State. He also racked up four penalty minutes in the game. Atherton has seen limited playing time as a freshman this season. When he does play, he’s being brought along slowly on the third pair. Minnesota is ranked seventh in both the USA Today and USCHO national polls. Atherton is from the same hometown as the Lightning’s Ben Clymer.

D Paul LynchGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 U of Maine 2224624NA
2002-2003 U of Maine30000+2

Stock: Dropping Slightly
Since Last Update: 1GP, 0G-0A-0P, 0PIM, (+1)

Lynch, a sophomore, has not played since mid-fall as he has been a habitual healthy scratch. Recruited as a defenseman, and possibly due to the large number of defensemen on the roster (nine, five of which are underclassmen), Maine has been experimenting by moving Lynch to forward during practices. Maine is currently ranked number one in the USA Today poll, and is number two in the USCHO poll. The Black Bears just won the Everblades Holiday Classic in Estero, Florida, by whipping the University of Massachusetts 9-3. Maine is currently 15-1-2.

W Dennis PackardGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Harvard 329101934NA
2002-2003 Harvard1333618NA

Stock: Steady

Ranked 12th in both polls, the Crimson were recently downed 4-2 in a key game against Maine. Packard did not hit the scoresheet that game, nor has he hit it as frequently as expected this year. A a junior, Packard is being counted on to be a key offensive contributor to the club, but he will have to elevate his game just to match last year’s numbers. He still has 2/3 of the year to do so, so his stock remains steady.

Note: All statistics as of 12-30-2002.