The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have announced the signing of forward Paul Szczechura (pronounced sha-HER-a) to a two-year contract, Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced today.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Belleville, Ontario scored 14 goals in 24 games with the Admirals last season after netting two in 29 games with the Iowa Stars to start the season. He was acquired from Iowa on January 15 in exchange for future considerations and netted points in his first ten games as an Admiral. He was tied for third on the Admirals in goals with 16 and was seventh in points with 31. He led all Norfolk rookies in scoring and was tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.
Eurohockey.net is reporting that defenseman Mario Scalzo has signed with Austrian club Salzburg for next season. If Scalzo indeed chooses to leave North America for Europe, it makes an already depleted Norfolk blueline for next season even thinner. Of course, it also probably helps prospect Dane Crowley's quest to get an NHL contract.
Damian Crisdotero is reporting in his blog that the Lightning are in talks with Russian forward and Bolt Prospects alumni Evgeny Artyukhin. Artyukhin has spent the past two seasons in the Russian Superleague after leaving the NHL due to a prolonged contract dispute with the Lightning.
Despite indications earlier in the week that the two sides were far apart on an agreement, the Norfolk Admirals announced today they have signed defenseman Dane Crowley to an ATO contract. Crowley was selected by the Lightning in the 6th round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and recently completed his final season of junior hockey with Everett of the WHL. Crowley had 10 goals and 29 points to go with 131 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Silvertips this season.
After signing forward Dana Tyrell (Prince George - WHL), center Jamie Bates (Quinnipac University), defenseman Sean Hurley (Brown University), and center Andrew Fournier (Plymouth - OHL), whl.ca is reporting the Norfolk Admirals have signed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daryl Boyle to an Amateur Tryout Agreement.
A 21-year old Lethbridge, Alberta product, Boyle's Western Hockey League career came to an end Sunday night when the Wheat Kings fell 4-0 in game six of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden and the Hurricanes.
In a 4-year WHL career, Boyle, a 6-1, 202-pound rearguard, scored 31 goals and 131 points in 262 games for the Wheat Kings. In 47 playoff games, he had three goals and 17 points. During the club's first round series against Lethbridge, the club's 2007-08 Most Valuable Player led the Wheat Kings in scoring with a goal and six points.
In 61 games this season Boyle had 10 goals and 41 points, as well as a plus-16 rating and 74 penalty minutes. He had 49 points and a plus-19 rating in 72 games in 2006-2007.
One interesting fact to back-up the character-first philosophy: Boyle, Fournier, Bates, and Hurley all were captains of their respective clubs this past season. Tyrell, the only Lightning draftee of the bunch, was an alternate captain and is expected to be Prince George's leader next year.