Published: October 2, 2008
Lightning scouts and management spent time evaluating more than just Tampa Bay players in the final preseason game against HC Slovan Bratislava.
While the Lightning brass looked with a keen eye at their own players as they attempt to pare down the roster to 24 by Friday's deadline, they liked what they saw in Slovan defenseman Michal Sersen. So much so that Tampa Bay acquired the rights to the 22-year-old former fifth-round pick from the Penguins on Wednesday in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2009 draft.
"We had him red flagged as a guy to see - from our scouts," Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said via e-mail. "He played well."
Sersen was drafted by Pittsburgh in 2004 and spent three seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, helping lead Quebec to the Memorial Cup in 2006 with 22 goals and 79 points in 63 games playing for former Vezina Trophy-winner Patrick Roy.
But Sersen never signed with the Penguins, instead returning to his native Slovakia, where he is in his third season with HC Slovan. Lawton said the team intends to speak to Sersen to see if he has interest in coming back to North America next season. "He's made huge strides in his game," Lawton said.
OUELLET REASSIGNED: The team is expected to announce today that RW Michel Ouellet has been reassigned to the team's minor-league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals. Ouellet has one year remaining on his contract that will pay him $1.3 million this season. The team could place Ouellet on re-entry waivers, where Tampa Bay would only be responsible for half his salary if a team claims him.
WATCH PARTIES: The team will be hosting watch parties for both games being played this weekend in Prague, Czech Republic, against the Rangers.
Barnacles at 926 Providence Road in Brandon will host a watch party for both games. Ker's Wing House at 34900 U.S. 19 N. in Pinellas Park will host Saturday, while Ker's Wing House at 8001 W. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa will host festivities Sunday. Both games are scheduled to begin at noon.
Reporter Erik Erlendsson can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 259-7835.