Lightning Re-up Aulie for One Year

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Keith Aulie to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Aulie, 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, played in 19 games with the Lightning last season, collecting one assist and 13 penalty minutes. He recorded his first point with the Bolts, an assist, on March 29 at New Jersey. Aulie appeared in three regular season games with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, notching two assists and six penalty minutes. He won the Calder Cup with the Admirals, skating in 18 playoff games, recording a goal and six points to go along with 10 penalty minutes.

The 23 year-old defenseman was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 27 in exchange for Carter Ashton. Aulie played in 17 games last season with the Maple Leafs, registering two assists and 16 penalty minutes. He also skated in 23 games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), tallying an assist and 30 penalty minutes.

The Regina, Saskatchewan native has played in 76 career NHL games with the Lightning and Maple Leafs, recording two goals and five points to go along with 61 penalty minutes. Aulie scored his first career NHL goal on March 8, 2011 against the NY Islanders.

Aulie has skated in 110 career AHL games with the Admirals, Marlies and Abbotsford Heat, posting five goals and 18 points. He represented the Marlies at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

He was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, 116th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

BP Notes: Despite the two-way contract, Aulie has to pass through waivers to be re-assigned to AHL Syracuse. Considering the price the Lightning paid for Aulie, it's unlikely they'd risk losing him for nothing. If the Lightning are not happy with Aulie's progress in camp, he'll likely be kept as the No.8 defenseman in Tampa Bay (they typically dress seven) and his development will come through practice time and film work until he's ready. Expect Yzerman to learn from last year's injury issues on defense and load up with capable replacements. Aulie fits that bill while still projecting as a strong third pair shut down defenseman and quality penalty killer.