Quick Strikes: Decision on John Tavares to Tampa Bay could come as early as today

and prospect news has been fast and furious during Development Camp

The Bolts

Happy anniversary of the time a Toronto-born hockey player reached unrestricted free agency, only to pick the sunny coastal city. Oh and two of the worst trades in Canadian NHL team history. Ahh, what a good day that was.

According to a report by Arthur Staple of The Athletic, not only will teams who are out of the John Tavares sweepstakes be made aware that they are no longer in consideration, but Tavares will tell the Islanders whether to start the paperwork for an extension or that he will be going elsewhere. The two teams in the running to nab J.T. should he leave the Island (Brooklyn?) are the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. [The Athletic]

The Bolts have hired fan-favorite formaer captain of the Syracuse Crunch, Mike Angelidis, as a professional scout of the team. [Raw Charge]

Angelidis has been hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a pro scout. He retired from hockey this past week after spending the season with Bolzano HC of the Austrian Hockey League, where he added another championship to his resume. According to Syracuse.com, Angelidis attended the Lightning’s pro scouting meeting this past month, and decided that he liked what he saw enough to make the transition.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman spoke to reporters after an on-ice session of development camp in Brandon about off-season things that have happened, that are happening, and what ccould happen.

Pups out, guns out!

The Prospects

Connor Ingram also had some things to say about new assistant head coach Jeff Halpern, especially how much he helped off the ice and what he will bring to the NHL on the bench.

Our next prospect profiles are the goalies! Who are Magnus Chrona and Ty Taylor, and what can they bring to the Lightning organization that already boasts two promising young goalies — one of whom is already the starter in the NHL. [Raw Charge]

Since it generally takes 4-6 years to get a goaltender up to the NHL, this was a good time for the Lightning to look for another one to get into the pipeline to come along behind Ingram. I originally said a CHL or NCAA goaltender would be nice here. Well, the Lightning went with an NCAA goaltender and a European goaltender. Going both routes on this need gives the Lightning some flexibility while not investing high draft picks into either pick.

Another player Bolts fans don’t know all too well is Alex Barré-Boulet. The best player in the QMJHL this past season is really showing the coaching staff and management what he can do at development camp. [NHL dot com]

“He had an unreal year in the Quebec league, and you can see out there in the skill drills and some shooting he’s got a good package,” Lightning director of player development Stacy Roest said following the first day of development camp.

ABB will also be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the Lightning Official Twitter acccount later today, so if you have any questions for the kid, now’s the time!

The Game

So, uhh, are there any OTHER free agents that teams could covet as early as July 1st? On The Forecheck looks at some UFA’s who could help a contending team (like the Bolts!). [On The Forecheck]

Heading into free agency, we already knew that the Predators landing John Tavares was a long shot. Now with Tavares down to his final six teams—with Nashville excluded—it seems we can finally move on. But there are plenty of other opportunities for improving this team during free agency. Here are six free agents—three defensemen and three forwards—that would be excellent options for the Predators this summer.

Rick Nash is considering retirement, despite being a very effective middle-six winger who will command a hefty salary this summer. [Sportsnet]

It’s a decision based entirely on health and family. The 34-year-old has been flip-flopping on whether he should return for a 16th NHL season – especially after suffering a concussion in March while playing for the Boston Bruins, one of several documented head injuries he’s dealt with over a 1,060-game career.

Apparently, Eugene Melnyk has received an offer to purchase the Ottawa Senators. The team denies anything like this happening, but news flows pretty easily out of that city so it could be a possibility. [Silver Seven Sens]

Things are getting interesting in Ottawa, and nobody knows if it’s good news or just another indication of the incredibly poor financial state of the Ottawa Senators. The team released an official statement yesterday that the club has completed a re-financing of $135M. Basically, this means that Melnyk took out a loan to re-pay older debt and have a bit extra cash to spend.

lastly, the Chicago Blackhawks have signed bad backup goalie (who is still in this league somehow) Cam Ward to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. [link] And the New York Rangers have interest in Maple Leafs winger (who everyone thought was going to the KHL because of his name) Leo Komarov. [link]