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LECAVALIER GETTING ANTSY ABOUT LINEMATE'S IDENTITY

Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier said he wants to get to know his right wing, and "the sooner the better."

The captain, who is playing with LW Alex Tanguay, said he isn't complaining and understands about finding the best fit. Still, "You want to learn to play with your two wingers; not just me and Alex learning from him, but him learning what we're doing on the ice.

"I think when you have one guy you can really work with, you can get the line going, for sure."

Carter Ashton, 18, the No. 29 overall pick of the June draft who has played with Lecavalier and Tanguay the past two days, likely gets the start tonight against the Thrashers.

"It's pretty amazing to even practice with them," Ashton said. "I've learned a lot. If I get a chance (to play), it would be something to remember."

Coach Rick Tocchet admitted the position is "kind of a revolving door." Steve Downie was there during Monday's scrimmage, and Tocchet said others, including Marty St. Louis, Stephane Veilleux and Richard Panik, drafted 52nd in June, could get turns.

Tocchet said he is looking for a player "who goes to the net, mucks it up and takes the body."

That, he said, is the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Ashton: "I really like this kid. He takes the puck down low. He goes right to the net. He's got good enough hands to score."

Lecavalier called Ashton "a very smart player" and "really good with the puck."

TRACKING HEDMAN:Victor Hedman's 27 minutes, 15 seconds of ice time Wednesday against the Stars was four seconds more than Florida's Bryan Allen averaged last season as the league leader among defensemen.

"(Hedman) is a strong competitor," said Lightning associate coach Rick Wilson, who handles the defense. "He sees the ice well. He sees options. He looks like he's willing to get in any area of the ice, tough areas."

But Wilson also said it's too early to pass judgment on June's No. 2 overall pick.

"It's almost like you have to guard your enthusiasm," he said. "We all know the league has four or five more gears. You've just got to be careful you don't get too far ahead of yourself."

CUTS: Defensemen Kevin Quick and Scott Jackson and centers Mitch Fadden and Chris Lawrence were reassigned to AHL Norfolk, reducing the camp roster to 43.

ODDS AND ENDS: Today's workout is the last that's open to the public. Those set to play tonight will skate at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum followed by the rest of the squad at 1. ... Former Lightning D Pavel Kubina will not play tonight for the Thrashers.

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