The Lightning today [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/prdetail.cfm?category=3&pressreleaseID=1111]announced the signings of D Timo Helbling, D Brady Greco
, D/W Brandon Elliot and LW Mitch Fritz
Helbling, 24, will compete for the Lightning's seventh defenseman spot at the NHL level. If he doesn't make the team, he should provide a solid backbone along the Springfield Falcons' blueline. The Swiss native returned home during the lockout to play for Kloten in Switzerland where he was among the league leaders in penalty minutes for the season. Helbling is a good skater who provides solid, physical stay-at-home style play.
Greco, 22, chose to forego his senior season at Colorado College to sign with the Lightning. His career year in the NCAA came two seasons ago as a sophomore when he potted 7 goals and added 5 assists for 12 points in 28 games. A transfer who originally began with Michigan Tech before playing out his transfer year in the USHL, Greco had worked his way into becoming a solid contributor of the Tigers' power play unit before injuries slowed him last season. Greco plays a good two-way game but needs to work on his skating and agility. He will likely provide organizational depth in Johnstown of the ECHL.
Elliot, 21, is an enforcer prospect who split time last year between Missasauga of the OHL, Springfield and Victoria of the ECHL. Elliot is a natural defenseman who has also been pressed into service along the wing in both junior and with Victoria. His skill set is probably on par with the ECHL level but he could wind up with Springfield because of his special penchant for fisticuffs.
Fritz, 24, is a mammoth 6'8" 258 lb. enforcer who played his junior with Kelowna of the WHL before climbing the professional ranks through Tallahassee and Columbus of the ECHL with some short stints in the AHL along the way. Last season, his first full year at the AHL, he amassed 179 penalty minutes in 45 games. With the departure of RW Andre Roy as an unrestricted free agent to Pittsburgh, Fritz could get an extended look in camp as, potentially, the Lightning's NHL level enforcer.