TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning will issue qualifying offers to three players vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. There were three players that did not receive offers from the team, making them unrestricted free agents on July 5.
The deadline for NHL clubs to issue offers is Tuesday. By issuing qualifying offers to the aforementioned players, the Lightning are given the right of the first refusal or draft choice compensation should the player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Keith Aulie to a one-year, one-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Aulie, 6-foot-6, 228 pounds, skated in 45 of 48 games with the Lightning in 2012-13, recording two goals and seven points while averaging 12:49 in ice time. He set career highs for games played, points and penalty minutes (60) in a season. He led all Tampa Bay skaters for hits with 91 and ranked second for penalty minutes.
A native of Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Aulie has played in 121 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has recorded four goals and 12 points with 121 penalty minutes. Aulie made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season with Toronto and played in 40 games while scoring two goals.
Aulie, 24, has played in 110 career AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals, Toronto Marlies and the Abbotsford Heat, notching five goals and 18 points. He won the Calder Cup with Norfolk during the 2011-12 season while in the Lightning organization. Aulie played in 18 games with the Admirals during the playoffs that year, recording a goal and six points.
The blue-liner was acquired from Toronto in exchange for forward Carter Ashton on February 27, 2012. Aulie was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, 116th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent left winger Retu Suri out of Zug in the Swiss NLA league. Suri, 24, had 14 goals and 25 points in 46 games last season in the top Swiss men's league. Suri will remain in Switzerland for the upcoming season in the hopes of earning a spot on Switzerland's Olympics team in Sochi before joining the Lightning organization for the 2014-2015 season.
Despite standing at just 6'0" 185 lbs, Suri has a reputation as a hard charging, north-south style forward with a game that seems like it should adapt well to North American hockey. Red Line Report ranked Suri their 11th best European Free Agent of Interest this year also noting the forward's quick release, quick hands in tight, and his penchant for scoring big goals. Suri scored the shootout winner against Canada in this year's World Championships Round Robin for the Swiss on their improbable, Silver-medal winning run to the tournament's championship game.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Gudas, 22, played in 22 games with the Lightning this past season, collecting two goals and five points to go along with a plus-3 rating and 38 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on March 12 at Florida and scored his first career NHL goal on March 20 at Toronto. Gudas ranked seventh in the NHL among rookies with 87 hits despite playing in only 22 games during the 2012-13 regular season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with center Cedric Paquette on a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Paquette also signed an AHL ATO for the remainder of the season.
Paquette, 6-foot, 187 pounds, played in 63 games with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season, recording 27 goals, including six on the power-play, and 83 points with a plus-29 rating and 103 penalty minutes. He led the Armada for points, assists and shots on goal with 261, while ranking second for plus/minus and penalty minutes. Paquette was also fourth on the team in goals. He played in 15 postseason games, registering seven goals and 12 points. Paquette was tied for the team lead for goals and led for penalty minutes with 33.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with defenseman Nikita Nesterov on a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Nesterov, 6-foot, 183 pounds, played in 35 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL this season, recording 14 penalty minutes while averaging 12:21 in average ice time. He also appeared in 19 playoff games, recording four assists as Traktor lost to Dynamo Moscow in the Continental Cup Finals. Nesterov has played in 45 career KHL games, all with Traktor, recording one assist.
A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, Nesterov has represented his country in each of the previous two seasons. He played for Russia at the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championships, recording two goals and four points in seven games. Nesterov then played in last year’s IIHF World Junior Championships, skating in seven games and registering two goals and five points.
Nesterov, 20, was selected by Tampa Bay in the fifth round, 158th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He participated in the 2012 Lightning Development Camp at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. Nesterov’s team, also made up of Vladislav Namestnikov, Slater Koekkoek and Cedric Paquette, took home the annual 3-on-3 tournament championship.
Nesterov is an undersized puck mover who plays a strong positional game. He has a high hockey IQ, which helped keep him in the KHL this year. In fact, Nesterov was used at both forward and a defense for Chelyabinsk late in the year and in the playoffs.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mathieu Roy (WAH) to a NHL contract for the remaining games of the 2012-13 season today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Roy, 6-foot-2, 214 pounds, played in 51 games with the Hamburg Freezers of the German Elite League this season, recording eight goals and 26 points. He led all Freezers defensemen for goals and was tied for the lead for points. Roy also had a plus-10 rating. He also played in six playoff games, recording five assists, tied for the most on the team during the postseason.
A native of St. Georges, Quebec, Roy has played in 65 career NHL games with the Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. He has amassed two career goals and 13 points. Roy played in four games with Tampa Bay during the 2010-11 season, also playing in 45 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL under current Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. Roy made his NHL debut with Edmonton during the 2005-06 season.
Roy was selected by Edmonton in the seventh round, 215th overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Ben Bishop to a two-year contract extension today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Bishop, 6-foot-7, 214 pounds, has played in six games with the Lightning after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the April 3 trade deadline. He has posted a 2-3-0 record with a .916 save percentage and a 3.21 goals-against average. Bishop made his Bolts debut on April 4 at Carolina, stopping all 45 shots he faced for a shutout. He was the second goalie in franchise history to post a shutout in his Lightning debut (Dwayne Roloson, January 4, 2011) and tied the franchise record for most saves in a shutout (Daren Puppa, November 27, 1995). He has played in a total of 19 games this season with Tampa Bay and Ottawa, recording a 10-8-0 record with a .920 save percentage, 2.68 goals-against average and two shutouts.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with forward B.J. Crombeen on a two-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
“We are pleased to have B.J. with the Lightning organization for another two years,” Yzerman said. “He has proven to be a hard-nosed right winger and reliable penalty killer, as well as a very popular teammate of outstanding character.”
Crombeen, 27, has skated in 30 games with the Lightning this season, recording a goal and seven points to go along with 86 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. He ranks first on the Lightning and fifth in the National Hockey League in penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward scored his first goal in a Lightning uniform on March 5 against the Devils in New Jersey.
“I am very thankful to the organization for giving me the opportunity to re-sign for two more years," Crombeen said. "I am very excited to move forward with the group we have and chase a spot in the playoffs."
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Luke Witkowski to a two-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Witkowski, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, appeared in 38 games as a captain with the Western Michigan University Broncos in 2012-13, recording two goals and 10 points to go along with 46 penalty minutes while being named Second-Team All-CCHA. He led the Broncos with 53 blocked shots and ranked second for penalty minutes. Witkowski also added two power-play tallies.
A native of Holland, Michigan, Witkowski played in 152 games during his four-year career at Western Michigan. He accumulated seven goals and 38 points with 235 penalty minutes. He won the 2010-11 Bill Saunders Plus/Minus Award for finishing with the Broncos’ best plus/minus rating at plus-13.
Prior to attending Western Michigan, Wikowski played for the Fargo Force and the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets of the USHL. He amassed nine goals and 26 assists in two USHL seasons. Witkowski was named to the 2009 USHL All-Star Team.
Witkowski was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 160th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since being drafted he has attended four Lightning Development Camps.