Latvian media outlet apollo.lv is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Martins Karsums has signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Riga of the KHL. Karsums was loaned to Riga during last season, and has had a somewhat protracted negotiation process this summer to formally sign with his hometown club. Karsums and Riga agreed last week to a letter of intent. Training camp for the 2010-11 season started today and will last until July 30.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed center Marc-Antoine Pouliot (MAHRK ahn-TWAHN poo-Lâ€™YAHT) to a one-year, two-way contract, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Yzerman also named Wayne Fleming to the position of assistant coach today. Fleming brings more than 30 years of coaching experience, both internationally and at the NHL level, most recently with the Edmonton Oilers.
"We are pleased to make Marc-Antoine a member of the Lightning organization today," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He fits the mold for the type of person we want on our roster and we look forward to seeing what he can show us in training camp this fall. He will add depth at the forward position and has a great chance to become a contributor in Tampa Bay."
"Wayne is a well-known person in the world of hockey," Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher said. "He has an extensive resume both in the NHL and internationally. Wayne brings new information, ideas and a wealth of professional and NHL experience. He is familiar with a number of our current players, having previously coached Lecavalier, St. Louis and others. I needed someone with experience as well as an open mind and he certainly fits that perfectly. I think heâ€™s the perfect fit for our staff.
"Along with Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond, there are three key traits that these three gentlemen have in common. They care about people, they have tremendous enthusiasm and their work ethic is unsurpassed."
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with center Nate Thompson today, re-signing him to a one-year contract, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this afternoon. The restricted free agent had been scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 22. It is reported the deal is a one-way contract worth $625k, the one-way contract being the important piece Thompson was pursuing with a possible arbitration ruling.
"We are pleased to get Nate signed to his contract today, thereby avoiding the arbitration process," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He will add depth up front for us and getting the contract signing behind him allows Nate to focus on conditioning and preparations for training camp. We are happy to have him back."
Thompson, 6-foot, 207 pounds, played in 32 games with the Lightning last season after being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders on January 21, 2010, recording a goal and four points. He also stood out in the face-off circle, winning 219 of 385 draws taken (56.9 percent). Before joining the Lightning Thompson had registered a goal and six points with 39 games with New York.? Between Tampa Bay and New York he set career highs for assists with eight, points with 10 and tied his career high with two goals.
(Norfolk Admirals press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, re-signed center Paul Szczechura to a one-year contract today, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Szczechura, 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, played in a career-best 52 games with the Lightning last season, recording five goals, also a career high, and seven points. He also averaged 13:05 in ice time per game and ranked fifth on the team among forwards with 30 blocked shots.
A native of Brantford, Ontario, Szczechura has played in 83 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, recording nine goals and 16 points with 134 shots on goal. He made his NHL debut in 2008-09, skating in 31 games with the Lightning while averaging 13:33 in ice time. That season Szczechura recorded four goals and career highs with five assists as well as nine points.
Riga and Karsums have been locked in negotiations for much of the summer after Karsums finished the 2009-10 season with Riga, going 4-4-8 in 12 regular season games and 2-1-3 in 9 KHL playoff games. Karsums was loaned to Riga by the Lightning on January 17, 2010 and subsequently represented Team Latvia in the World Championships, scoring 3 goals and an assist in 6 WC games.
The 5'10" and 198 lb winger was expected to formally sign with Riga this season after spending the bulk of last season playing for the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Karsums finished up the 2008-09 season with Tampa after being acquired at the 2009 trade deadline from the Boston Bruins along with Matt Lashoff for Mark Recchi, and seemed poised to earn a regular NHL roster spot for 2009-10 season.
Riga is also reporting that they have signed longtime NHL goaltender Manny Legace, and have previously signed Lightning prospect forward Juraj Simek to a training camp try-out agreement.
According to capgeek.com, the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed prospect forward Blair Jones to a 1 year, two-way contract. The numbers on the contract indicate that Jones may have accepted his qualifying offer, as the contract is identical to his 2009-10 deal with the exception of the mandatory 10% raise for RFA's making less than $1M.
Jones is entering his 5th year as a pro, and with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman publicly stating a main focus to revamp the Lightning bottom two lines, Jones' fierce forechecking style may very well earn him a roster spot out of camp. The 6'3" and 215 lbs forward was a 4th round pick by the Bolts in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and has been on the cusp of earning an NHL roster spot for the last two seasons.
(Tampa Bay Lightning Release) The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Mike Lundin and right wing Ted Purcell to one-year contracts today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Lundin, 6-foot-2, 197 pounds, has played in 155 career games with the Lightning, recording three goals and 21 points. He made the Lightning directly out of college at the University of Maine in 2007-08 and went on to represent Tampa Bay in the 2008 NHL YoungStars Game in Dallas. That season he led all Lightning defensemen, second overall on the team, in plus-minus rating with a plus-3.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Brett Clark to a two-year contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. The organization also confirmed that restricted free agent forward Nate Thompson has elected to file for salary arbitration. His hearing date has not yet been scheduled by the league, but forwards Ted Purcell and Paul Szczechura along with defenseman Mike Lundin elected to waive their rights to arbitration.
"In Brett Clark, we are adding an experienced, intelligent defenseman who plays the game efficiently," Yzerman said. "He'll not only help steady and stabilize our defense, we expect him to help mentor our younger defensemen as they grow and develop. We are pleased he elected to join the Lightning today."
Clark, 6-foot, 195 pounds, has played in 517 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens. He has amassed 34 goals and 139 points with 11 power play goals. Clark has had a even rating or higher in five of the previous six seasons and averaged more than 20 minutes in ice time per game in three of the previous four. He led the NHL in shifts per game during the 2007-08 season.
Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed big Swedish forward Niklas Persson to a one-year, two-way contract on Friday. For the undrafted 31 year-old late bloomer, the signing marks the realization of a childhood dream to have a shot to play in the NHL.
Persson played last season for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik in the KHL, and three seasons for Linkoping before his KHL tour. During that four year span, the 6'02", 205 lbs forward, tallied 59 goals and 84 assists in 219 games. Persson won bronze medals with Team Sweden in both the 2009 and 2010 World Championships along with the Elitserian SM silver medal in 2007 and 2008 with Linkoping.
Persson told Aftonbladet, "I go over to take a place in the NHL. That is where I want to play, absolutely. I have written a two-way contract, and there is certainly a way out if I need it, but I have no other thoughts than to play in the NHL. At worst, I may play in the AHL and show that I'll have a chance. I will not leave home without an honest attempt."
"It's a childhood dream come true."
TAMPA BAY, Fla. â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mitch Fritz to a one-year, two-way contract, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Fritz, a 6-foot-7, 242-pound forward from Osoyoos, British Columbia, appeared in 73 games with the Admirals last season, scoring two goals and six points with a team-leading 157 penalty minutes.