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This article is copyright 2007 by the Fort Myers News Press and is used for informational purposes only.

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Blades expecting firepower

Lehun will be team's top returning scorer

By Chris Umpierre
Fort Myers News Press

With forwards Reggie Berg, Brent McDonald, Vince Bellissimo and Dustin Johner not re-signing with the team, some Florida Everblades fans might have a hard time answering this question:

Who is the Blades' top returning scorer?

The answer is Jon Lehun, who arrived at training camp Tuesday after finalizing his immigration papers. The 23-year-old from Toronto recorded 53 points (25 goals) in 53 games with Florida last season.

Lehun has been a role player through his first two years with the club, but will be asked to produce more this season.

"Jonny is going to be one of our top goal-scorers, top point-getters," Blades forward Ernie Hartlieb said. "We look to him for scoring, same with (Brad) Zancanaro and Derek Damon, and now (J.B.) Bittner. We have a lot of offensive power up front."

Lehun is on an ECHL-only contract with the Blades after being on a two-way contract with the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans last season.

"He's on an ECHL contract, which makes him a free agent to any American Hockey League team that wants to give him an opportunity," Florida coach Gerry Fleming said. "So he looks at it as an opportunity to come here and show every American Hockey League team that he's capable of playing at that level."

Lehun could be one of the team's first players to get an AHL call-up.

"I'm sure once we start playing and once he does what he's capable of doing, he'll attract (AHL) attention," Fleming said.

ICE CHIPS

Defenseman Bret Nasby, a Florida Panthers prospect in his second professional season, worked out at wing Tuesday.

Fleming said he might try the 6-foot-3, 188-pounder at forward in games.

"He's a big body. He skates well and he goes to the net hard," Fleming said. "I think at this level the more you can bring to the table as far as having the ability to play both forward and defense is a tremendous asset to have."

PRESEASON GAME

Who: Florida Everblades vs. the Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Germain Arena, Estero
Tickets: 239-948-PUCK

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