TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent center Valtteri Filppula (FIHL-poo-luh, VAL-tuhr-ee) to a five-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
“We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today,” Yzerman said. “We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team. On behalf of the Lightning we’d like to welcome him to the organization.”
Filppula, 6-foot, 193 pounds, played in 41 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season, recording nine goals and 17 points. He ranked fifth among team forwards for assists (8) and points. Filppula’s 17:46 in average ice time was also fourth among Red Wings forwards. He won 179 of 323 (55.4 percent) of face-offs last season to lead the team. Filppula also played in all 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games for Detroit last season, recording two goals and six points. During the NHL lockout he returned to his native Finland to play for Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League, where he posted six goals and 15 points in 16 games.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed the third overall selection of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Jonathan Drouin, to a three-year, entry level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Drouin will be participating in the Lightning’s annual development camp which kicks off tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum.
Drouin, 18, skated in 49 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, registering 41 goals and 105 points to go along with 32 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the Mooseheads for goals, assists (64), points and shorthanded goals with four. The Ste-Agathe, Quebec native also led all Moosehead forwards with a plus-48 rating during the regular season. He ranked second in the QMJHL for points, third in assists and ranked tied for seventh for goals. Drouin also skated in 17 playoff games, recording 12 goals and 35 points with 14 penalty minutes. He helped the Mooseheads win the Memorial Cup, recording five assists in the championship game against the Portland Winterhawks.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Geoff Walker to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Walker, 25, skated in 51 games last season with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, collecting five goals and 20 points to go along with 55 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward ranked 11th on the Monsters in assists with 15.
The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native has skated in 226 career AHL games with the Manchester Monarchs, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Monsters, recording 39 goals and 108 points to go along with 326 penalty minutes. Walker set career highs for goals (18), assists (26), points (44) and penalty minutes (114) during the 2011-12 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s also appeared in 24 career Calder Cup playoff games, registering two goals and nine points.
Walker originally went undrafted.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and defenseman Matt Taormina to one-year, two-way contracts, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Desjardins, 27, appeared in three games with the Lightning last season, compiling a record of 0-3-0 to go along with a 3.00 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. The Edmundston, New Brunswick native played in 36 games in the American Hockey League last season, splitting the season between the Hamilton Bulldogs and Syracuse Crunch, registering a record of 15-18-3 to go with a 2.61 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. During the 2012-13 AHL season, Desjardins recorded five shutouts, including three in just 14 games while with the Crunch. He appeared in 18 Calder Cup playoff games with Syracuse, posting a record of 13-5-0 to go along with a 2.30 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.
The 6-foot, 192-pound goaltender has appeared in five career NHL games, all with the Lightning, during the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons, notching a record of 2-3-0 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. He has also played in 184 career AHL games with the Bulldogs, Norfolk Admirals, Lake Erie Monsters and the Crunch, compiling a record 95-62-12. Desjardins was the recipient of the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for recording a 2.00 goals-against average during the 2009-10 season, given annually to the goalie with the lowest goals-against average. That same season he also appeared in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic, in which he was named top goaltender during the skills competition, as well as being named on the 2010 AHL Second All-Star Team following the season.
He was acquired by the Lightning on February 14, 2013 from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
Taormina, 26, skated in two games with Tampa Bay last season and was held scoreless. He made his Lightning debut on April 6 at the New York Islanders. He also skated in 55 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, collecting four goals and 24 points to go along with 21 penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating. The Warren, Michigan native ranked second on the Crunch defense for points and assists. Taormina has skated in 254 career AHL games with the Binghamton Senators, Lowell Devils, Albany Devils and the Crunch, collecting 18 goals and 74 points, including a career-high 10 goals and 50 points in 2009-10.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pound defenseman has appeared in 49 career NHL games, with the New Jersey Devils and Lightning, recording four goals and 12 points with a plus-3 rating. He made his NHL debut with the Devils on October 8, 2010 against the Dallas Stars.
Taormina went undrafted and was signed as a free agent by the Lightning on July 6, 2012.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie to a one-year, one-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Labrie, 26, skated in 19 games with the Lightning last season, recording two goals and three points with 30 penalty minutes. He scored his first career National Hockey League goal on April 2 versus the Ottawa Senators. Labrie set career highs for games played, goals, points, plus/minus (plus-2) and penalty minutes this past season. The Baie-Comeau, Quebec native also appeared in 39 games last season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, collecting 11 goals and 18 points with 83 penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 234-pound forward has skated in 33 career NHL games with the Lightning over the past two seasons, registering two goals and five points to go along with 45 penalty minutes. Labrie has played in 350 career AHL games with the Manitoba Moose, Peoria Rivermen, Norfolk Admirals and Crunch, amassing 50 goals and 119 points to go along with 610 penalty minutes. He also won the Calder Cup with the Admirals in 2012.
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.