As a part of the club's increased interest in player development under new GM Steve Yzerman, the Lightning have announced the hiring of former NHLer Steve Thomas as a Player Development Consultant. According to the Lightning's press release, the retired sniper, "will oversee the development of the Lightningâ€™s prospects in the junior and college ranks. He will provide guidance, mentoring and support to players in the Tampa Bay system to better prepare them for professional hockey." In 1,235 career NHL games, Thomas compiled 421 goals and 933 points in stints with six NHL teams including the Maple Leafs, Islanders, and Red Wings.
(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Randy Jones to a one-year contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
â€œRandy is a skilled defenseman, capable of playing in all situations on both the right and left side,â€ Yzerman said. â€œHis addition gives us some needed depth on the blue line."
Jones, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, has played in 265 career NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings. He has amassed 18 goals, three power-play goals, three game-winning goals and 90 points. Last season he played in 48 games with the Kings, recording five goals and 21 points. His five goals tied his career high and he ranked third among Los Angeles defenders in goals, assists and points.
TSN is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed restricted free agent forward Steve Downie to a two-year, $3.7M contract. Last season, Downie had a break-out year tallying 22 goals and adding 24 assists playing mostly on a top line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
With the Downie signing, the Lightning have just Paul Ranger as the lone unsigned restricted free agent, but his status for returning to hockey after sitting out the 2009-10 season for personal reasons remains questionable. After the recent free agent signings of Dominic Moore and Sean Bergenheim, GM Steve Yzerman's next priority is expected to be getting Rocket Richard trophy winner Steven Stamkos to sign a contract extension. His entry-level contract expires at the end of the 2010-11 season.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent left wing Sean Bergenheim (BUHR-gehn-highm, SHAWN) to a one-year contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
â€œWe are happy to add Sean to the Lightning roster today,â€ Yzerman said. â€œHe is a competitive left winger who is also a solid two-way player. We believe he is a good addition to our team.â€
Bergenheim, 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, has registered 40 goals, 80 points and 195 penalty minutes in 246 career NHL games, all with the New York Islanders. He has reached double digits in goals and points in each of the last three seasons. In 2009-10, Bergenheim led the Islanders in game-winning goals with two and tied for eighth on the team with 133 shots on goal. His best offensive season came in 2008-09 when he recorded career-highs in goals with 15, the teamâ€™s third-highest total, and points with 24. He also ranked first on the Islanders in shorthanded goals with four and game-winning goals with five.
UPDATE: The Lightning have confirmed the signing of Simek to a one-year, two-way contract.
Reports surfaced just a few days ago that Simek had been cut from his try-out agreement with Dynamo Riga of the KHL after the team's second exhibition game. At that time, Latvian hockey news outlet icebox.lv was reporting that Simek intended to return to the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning's AHL affiliate he had been playing for since the Bolts acquired him in 2008 along with Lukas Krajicek for Shane O'Brien and Michel Ouellet.