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Lawrence and Quick Lay Over in Norfolk

The St. Pete Times is reporting that defenseman Kevin Quick and forward Chris Lawrence were recalled to Norfolk in a statement confirmed by Lightning GM Brian Lawton. Quick and Lawrence had been assigned to the now defunct Augusta Lynx.

Lawton went on to say that the Bolts are in discussions with "several" ECHL teams who want Quick and Lawrence, and that when a destination is determined, the players perhaps along with goalie Riku Helenius, will be moved together and not to different teams.

Victoria Salmon Kings, anyone?

Szczechura, Smolenak Recalled to Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forwards Radek Smolenak and Paul Szczechura from the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. It is the first NHL call-up for both players.

Smolenak, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic, has appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, scoring eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He leads Norfolk and is tied for third in the American Hockey League with 93 penalty minutes. He is the only player among the top 50 of both penalty minutes and scoring in the AHL. Smolenak also has three power play and one game-winning goal to go along with a +3 rating. Smolenak was drafted in the third round (73rd overall) by the Lighnting in 2005.

Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center, has also appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points. Szczechura is tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and is tied for tenth in the league in goals. His +7 rating is best among Admirals forwards and he also has one power play, one shorthanded and one game-winning goal. Szczechura signed a two-year deal with the Lightning on April 24. Prior to that, he played under an AHL contract as a rookie in 2007-08, scoring 14 goals and 12 assists with the Admirals after being acquired from the Iowa Stars on January 15. Despite appearing in only 24 games with Norfolk last season, Szczechura led the team in scoring by a rookie and tied for the overall team lead in game-winning goals with three. He netted points in his first ten games with the Admirals – the longest scoring streak ever by a Norfolk rookie and tied for the fourth longest streak overall.

Helenius Recalled to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltender Riku Helenius to the Admirals from their ECHL affiliate, the Augusta Lynx, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced on Sunday.

Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, appeared in two preseason games for the Admirals, going 1-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .840 save percentage. He did not play in a regular season game with Norfolk prior to being reassigned to Augusta on October 16.

The 20-year-old went 3-4-1 in his first eight games of North American professional hockey with the Lynx this season, posting a 4.41 goals-against average and .874 save percentage. He recorded his first pro win in his pro debut, stopping 44 of 46 shots on October 21 at Gwinnett.

Helenius was originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Smaby Reassigned to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Matt Smaby to the Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton.

Smaby, a 6-5, 220-pound native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was recalled on November 27 and served as a healthy scratch November 28 at Minnesota. He has skated in 17 games with Norfolk this season, recording a goal, two assists and 22 penalty minutes. The 24-year-old has appeared in 141 career AHL games with Norfolk and Springfield, tallying four goals, 21 assists and 131 penalty minutes.

Lightning Recall Downie and Smaby

The Tampa Bay Lightning have annouced that they have recalled RW Steve Downie and D Matt Smaby from Norfolk of the AHL after injuries to W/D David Koci and D Marek Malik.

Downie, who was recently acquired in the Steve Eminger deal, has 1 goal and 13 points to go with 51 penalty minutes in 10 AHL games this season between Norfolk and Philadelphia. The forward also appeared in six scoreless games amassing 11 penalty minutes for the Flyers prior to being dealt to the Lightning. The pesky winger has appeared in 38 career NHL games with 6 goals, 12 points, and 84 penalty minutes.

Smaby has 1 goal and 3 points in 17 games with Norfolk this season to go along with 22 penalty minutes. The stay-at-home defenseman played well with Tampa Bay down the stretch of last season and has played 14 career NHL games with 12 penalty minutes.

Both players offer to raise the grit and intensity level of a Lightning club recently accused of lacking those elements by Head Coach Rick Tocchet.

Ramo Reassigned to Norfolk; Henley Recalled from Lynx

Lightning GM Brian Lawton announced today that goaltending prospect Karri Ramo has been reassigned from Tampa Bay to the Norfolk Admirals (AHL). The Admirals resume play Wednesday night against the Springfield Falcons at home. Ramo was recalled after Saturday's Norfolk game and played in relief of starter Olaf Kolzig in Sunday night's game against the New Jersey Devils.

Niskala Reassigned to Frolunda (SEL)

This bit of news went overlooked last Friday on trash day, but the Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned overaged prospect defenseman Janne Niskala to Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League on November 14.

Niskala cleared waivers on November 6 and had been loaned to the Norfolk Admirals while the Lightning awaited the European leagues to return from a break in play, but Niskala did not report to the Admirals per an arrangement with Lightning GM Brian Lawton. Niskala had a clause in his contract that allowed him to be reassigned to a European team in the event he could not stick with the NHL roster. The signing of free agent defensemen Marek Malik resulted in Niskala being a consistent healthy scratch, promptly the player to ask Lawton for a European reassignment.

Niskala joins a Frolunda team that earlier in the SEL season released fellow Bolt overaged defensive prospect Andreas Holmqvist, who has subsequently joined Djurgardens.

Admirals Re-assign Lawrence to Augusta

The Norfolk Admirals have announced that they have sent RW/C Chris Lawrence down to Augusta of the ECHL. Lawrence, who is in his second professional season, has struggled with just 1 assist in 10 games for the Admirals after a strong Traverse City tournament for the Lightning. Lawrence may return to Norfolk after the team's week long road trip through the northeast that begins on Tuesday at Lowell.

Jason Ward Assigned to Norfolk

The Tamp Tribune is reporting that the Lightning have reassigned forward Jason Ward to the Norfolk Admirals just prior to the morning skate in Philadelphia.

Ward had been placed on waivers and cleared just over a week ago, and had been awaiting word on his playing future with the organization. Ward has been a scratch for all but one game this season, but indicated to the Tribune's Eric Erlendsson that he was relieved to have an opportunity to play instead of watching, even if it was at the AHL level. Ward's future with the Lightning had been in doubt since early in the summer when the new ownership group begin acquiring an abundance of forward depth. Ward's arrival in Norfolk will put the team 2 players over the veteran roster limit, which means Admirals head coach Darren Rumble will have decisions to make on who will play and who will sit.

Keller Recalled to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forward Justin Keller to the Norfolk Admirals from the ECHL's Augusta Lynx, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced today.

Keller, 22, is a 6'0", 181-pound forward from Nelson, British Columbia. He was originally assigned from Norfolk to Augusta on October 22 and put up four goals and an assist in four games with the Lynx. In two games for Norfolk to begin this season, the third-year pro registered one assist.

Keller was one of just three players with a Lightning NHL contract that was not invited to this year's training camp, and has struggled to distinguish himself with the new forward depth in the Tampa system that the new club ownership has acquired. In two prior professional seasons with Norfolk and Springfield, Keller has scored 28 goals and 23 assists in 130 AHL games played. Keller's three-year entry-level contract expires at the end of this season.

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