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Lightning Solidify Future Written by Laci Bloomers - November 30th, -0001

Given an opportunity to strenghten their blue-line for future years, the Tampa Bay Lightning management did just that last night.  Doing something that is seldom done in hockey, the Lightning completed a major trade with their Division rival Atlanta Thrashers.


The keystone in the trade for the Lightning was 20 year old Junior and Olympic star Karl Alzner.  Long coveted by Bolts' GM Dave Normoyle, Alzner looks to join Paul Ranger as the future 1-2 punch for this club.

Joining Alzner in the trade were Defensemen Kurt Sauer and Dan McGillis, along with forward Fernando Pisani.  WJH Gold Medalist Karl AlznerHeaded to Atlanta are Top 6 forwards Radek Bonk and Richard Zednik.

Sauer is 27 years old and adds a scoring touch to the blueline.  The club has been missing a strong power play quarterback, and are hoping that Saurer will provide that.

McGillis is a veteran blueliner likely in his last season in the CMHL.  The Lightning are hoping that he can provide that type of support and depth that Chris Therien did for them last season.  McGillis can still play the game, and will fit in with a group that will include Sauer, Mike Rathje, Mike Commodore, Denis Gauthier, Matt Walker and Danny Markov.

Pisani is a decent 2-way forward.  At 31, the left winger is better known for his defensive play but does have an offensive touch given the chance.  He will man the left side, as the trading of Bonk will allow Rod Brind 'Amour to move back to his natural center position.

Trading Bonk and Zednik in theory will hurt the club on the scoresheet, however Bonk only had 3 goals and 9 points in 12 games, including no power play goals, while Zednik had 1 goal and 3 assists, with a -6, for the Bolts prior to the trade.

With 2 goals and 4 assists, Pisani looks to be a bargain as Zednik's replacement, especially considering that Brind 'Amour will have more opportunity to use his offensive skills playing center.

While the trade leaves a hole on the wing, recent aquisitions have the club with some depth in the organization.  With an extra defenseman on the roster, and some terrific depth on the back end in the system, the club is presently shopping for another winger who can step into the top two lines for them.  Should their search not be successful at the moment, Dustin Boyd and David Moss, recently acquired from Minnesota, have both played some CMHL minutes this season and did not look out of place.  Eric Nystrom and Zach Stortini are both ready as well, although the knock on Stortini is his knack for taking untimely penalties.

And of course the future of the blueline looks fantastic, as the team presently touts Alzner, Ranger, Nik Kronwall, Sheldon Brookbank, Mike Weber, Jordan Leopold, Adam Pardy, Mark Giordano, Casey Borer and Kyle Cumiskey under contract.  All except Alzner have NHL experience, and a half dozen play important roles in their real life careers.

With Mr. Alzner now under wraps, the future continues to look great in Tampa Bay.

- Laci Bloomers reporting -


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