Fritz, 29, spent three seasons as an enforcer in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization from 2004-07, playing 174 games and racking up 435 penalty minutes during three seasons for the Springfield Falcons. Last season, the 6'8" and 258 lbs. left winger played 20 games for the New York Islanders and 36 additional games for their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
During his tenure in the Lightning organization at Springfield, Fritz was the recipient of the AHL's Yannick Dupre Memorial award for the 2005-06 season as the AHL Man of the Year for his community involvement work in Springfield, MA. Fritz was traded to the New York Rangers by the Lightning in July 2007 for Bryce Lampman and played just 11 games in an injury shortened season for the Ranger's AHL affiliate in Hartford.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has tweeted that they have signed prospect forward James Wright to a three-year entry level contract. Wright has been the surprise of the 2009 Lightning training, flying virtually under the radar after missing the prospect's camp with a groin pull. His play throughout camp and exhibition play has drawn praise from both GM Brian Lawton and head coach Rick Tocchet. Wright's entry level contract is a strong indicator that the Lightning likely intends to carry Wright on the team's NHL roster for upwards of 9 regular season games before making a decision to return him to his WHL junior squad in Vancouver. Wright doesn't turn 20 until March 2010, so an AHL assignment in Norfolk is not an option for the 2008 4th round pick.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have inked prospect forward Radek Smolenak to a one year contract pending the receipt of a document from the KHL indicating his freedom from any contractual obligations. The gritty Czech winger, dubbed with the nickname "Smoke", signed a contract with a KHL team for the 2009-10 season back in May after his three-year entry-level contract with the Lightning had expired. However, Smolenak was recently cut from his KHL team during its exhibition season reportedly due to the team's limited number of import player roster slots. Tampa had retained Smolenak's NHL rights in June by filing a qualifying offer to the player. It seemed a contract was imminent when Smolenak's name appeared on the Lightning's 2009 training camp roster on Wednesday.
Stay tuned for more details as this story develops.