With the dog days of summer upon us thereâ€™s not much hockey talk these days unless it's shooting down a ridiculous trade rumor.
Sure, Brian Rolston, who was property of the Tampa Bay Lightning for what seemed like an hour a few years ago, was traded this week, but there hasnâ€™t been much going on except roster speculation.
So, we'll take our turn and speculate on next yearâ€™s Lightning roster and how the clubâ€™s prospects factor in.
Today is rather easy: goaltenders and defense.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Scott Jackson to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Jackson, 6-foot-3, 219 pounds, played in 68 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League last season, recording a goal and five points with a plus-13 rating. He was tied for sixth among all Norfolk defensemen for plus/minus and also served as alternate captain for road games from December 17 until the end of the season. Jackson also made his professional playoffs debut with the Admirals, skating in six games during the Calder Cup Playoffs.
A native of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Jackson has played in 174 career AHL games, all with Norfolk, registering two goals and 24 points with a career plus-18 rating. In 2009-10 he set career highs with 72 games played, 14 assists and 15 points. Jackson has also played in one career NHL game, April 11, 2010 at Florida, with the Lightning.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed left wing Alexandre Picard to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Picard, 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, played in 59 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League last season, recording 24 goals and 46 points. He led the Rampage in goals and power-play goals with 11, while ranking third for points. Picard has played in 309 career AHL games with San Antonio as well as the Syracuse Crunch, accumulating 105 goals and 207 points with 557 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 19 career Calder Cup Playoff games, notching three goals and four points. Picard has also played in 67 career NHL games, registering two points.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed center Tom Pyatt to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Pyatt, 5-foot-11, 186 pounds, played in 61 games with the Montreal Canadiens last season, recording two goals and seven points with 65 shots on goal. He averaged 10:38 in ice time per game. Pyatt ranked fourth among Canadiens forwards for blocked shots with 34 and won 50 percentage of draws taken (55-110). He also played in all seven Montreal playoff games in 2011. Pyatt has played in 101 career NHL games with the Canadiens during the past two seasons. He has recorded four goals and 12 points in his career with 19 penalty minutes. He played his first NHL game on November 5, 2009 at Boston. Pyatt also played in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games with two goals and four points, averaging 12:10 in ice time.
Reports have been emerging the last 12 hours or so that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent depth forward Trevor Smith to a one-year, two-way league-minimum contract. Club officials have confirmed that a contract has not been signed, but indicators point that an official announcement may be near.
[ed. Lightning confirmed the free agent signing on 7/5/2011]
Smith, an undrafted winger out of the University of New Hampshire, was signed as a free agent in 2007 by the New Islanders and spent three productive seasons mainly with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. During the 2008-09 season, Smith scored his first and only NHL goal for the Islanders during a 7 games stint in New York. In 2010, the Anaheim Ducks signed Smith as a free agent and spent half the season playing for the AHL Syracuse Crunch before being acquired on January 4th by the Colubus Blue Jackets organization and finishing the season for the AHL Springfield Falcons.
In 292 career AHL games, Smith has tallied 92 goals and added 100 assists. If signed by the Bolts, Smith would project to provide the Norfolk Admirals with top-line veteran forward talent, and provide a depth call-up option for the Lightning.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Richard Petiot (PEH-tee-awt, RIH-chuhrd) to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Petiot, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, appeared in 66 games with the Oklahoma City Barons last season, recording 15 assists. He was tied for the team lead with a plus-14 rating and tied for fifth among defensemen for assists. Petiot is a veteran of 308 AHL games with Manchester, Toronto, Norfolk, Rockford and Oklahoma City, registering 18 goals and 89 points. He has also skated in 19 career Calder Cup Playoff games, including six with the Barons last season, recording one goal.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent right wing J.T. Wyman (WIGH-muhn) to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Wyman, 6-foot-2, 199 pounds, played in 80 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League last season, recording 18 goals and 36 points. He was fourth on the Bulldogs for goals and fifth for points. He set career highs for goals and penalty minutes with 36. Wyman has played in 216 career AHL games, all with Hamilton, recording 41 goals and 85 points. He has also skated in 45 career Calder Cup Playoff games, notching four goals and 13 points. Wyman has played in three career NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens.
Chris Roy of the Maine Hockey Journal is reporting rumors of multiple teams switching their AHL affiliations next season, including the Tampa Bay Lightning switching from the Norfolk Admirals to the Syracuse Crunch. Norfolk has been the Lightning's affiliate for each of the past 4 seasons, and has seemed an ideal fit with owner Ken Young coming from the Tampa area and Norfolk being the second closest AHL franchise to Tampa, geographically. With the franchise improving in the standings each of the 4 seasons and making the AHL playoffs this year for the first time as a Lightning affiliate, things certainly appeared to be looking up, from the outside. However, the Lightning did express dismay with the Admirals' travel schedule in the first half of this season, which was a product of how remote Norfolk, Virginia is from bulk of the AHL's other Eastern Conference cities.
This rumor does have legs.
The website for Elitserien club Lulea is reporting that they have signed Lightning overage prospect forward Johan Harju to a 1-year deal. Harju was the Norfolk Admirals' lone representative in the AHL All-Star Game and appeared in 10 games for the Lightning this season, totaling 1 goal and 3 points.
Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forwards Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones, as well as goaltender Dustin Tokarski, from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Norfolk was recently eliminated from the AHLâ€™s Calder Cup Playoffs.
BP Note: The prospects will form what is known as the "Black Aces," a practice squad of sorts for the playoffs.