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San Jose likely won't complain about Lightning's early contact

The Lightning drafted James Wright with one of the two picks acquired from the Sharks for a third-round pick.

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The Lightning drafted James Wright with one of the two picks acquired from the Sharks for a third-round pick.

OTTAWA — Sharks general manager Doug Wilson confirmed concerns the Lightning, or someone associated with the team, might have contacted San Jose scout Cap Raeder about a possible assistant coaching job.

Wilson, though, sounded as if he would not formally complain to the NHL, which would close the matter.

"We were made aware of the situation by other sources," Wilson said Saturday. "Just keep an eye on it. We have great respect for Cap. We want him to do well and pursue his career, but I think there are procedures that should be followed for all of us."

Raeder, whose contract is up at the end of the month, was an assistant with the Kings under incoming Lightning coach Barry Melrose.

NO. 62: Tampa Bay wanted to use the pick to find a player who, like Brad Richards, No. 64 in 1998, quickly would progress to the NHL. But with little to trade, the Lightning could not move up, and GM Jay Feaster said players targeted, such as 6-foot-5, 196-pound defenseman Eric Mestery (taken 57th by the Capitals) were already gone.

So the pick was sent to the Sharks for the 117th and 147th picks (center James Wright and right wing Kyle De Coste) and a third-round pick in 2009.

"The determination was made there was nothing that fit the bill of the next Brad Richards," Feaster said. "So we decided to pick up the extra pick and a pick for next year."

THE CALL: As promised, Vinny Lecavalier contacted No. 1 pick Steve Stamkos, but the star center had to text instead of call because Stamkos' phone had reception problems inside Scotiabank Place.

"He said congratulations and would give me a call when everything settles down," said Stamkos, who likely will visit Tampa on Thursday. "It was unbelievable. He's a guy I really looked up to."

ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman and Montreal native Mark Barberio, No. 152 overall, said he went to the same high school as Lecavalier but met him only once, when Barberio was 13 or 14. "You see this 6-foot-4 guy walking in, I was like, 'Oh, my God,' " he said. "He has such a presence about him. It's unbelievable to be wearing a jersey he puts on every day." … Next year's draft is in Montreal. … Of 211 drafted players, 119 were born in Canada. The United States was next with 46. … Defensemen (78) were drafted most.

Gretzky endorses Melrose as coach

Wayne Gretzky gave Barry Melrose, his coach while with the Kings, a thumbs-up, saying the Lightning's new coach "has won at every level and knows what he's doing. He's one of those guys players enjoy playing for because he treats his players like men."

With OK Hockey finalizing its $200-million deal to buy the team, Melrose's hiring might be announced this week.

The entire ownership group could be introduced as soon as Monday after a weekend in which primary investors Oren Koules and Len Barrie were very visible.

Damian Cristodero,

Times staff writer

San Jose likely won't complain about Lightning's early contact 06/21/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 10:12am]
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