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Lightning Ink 3-Year ECHL Affiliation with Orlando

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have entered into a three-year affiliation agreement with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The Solar Bears will serve as the Lightning’s primary ECHL affiliate starting with the 2018-19 season. The Lightning will play a preseason game against the Florida Panthers at Amway Center in Orlando on Thursday, September 27. Tickets for the game will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, August 23 at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.

“We are extremely happy to welcome the Orlando Solar Bears into the Lightning organization today,” Yzerman said. “The Solar Bears organization has demonstrated a strong commitment to success that has paid off with numerous playoff appearances. We look forward to being a part of their future accomplishments while also developing our prospects in a world class environment.”

“We are incredibly excited for this new partnership affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, owners of the Solar Bears. “The Lightning is a first-class organization with tremendous values and vision and we feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to be a part of their hockey family. “

Added Dan DeVos, chairman of the Orlando Magic, “This is a great day for the Orlando Solar Bears. We couldn’t be more excited to form this partnership with a model franchise like the Tampa Bay Lightning.”
"We are thrilled to be able to announce our new affiliation with the Lightning," Solar Bears president Chris Heller said. "This relationship will not only aid in our on-ice performance, but will also help strengthen the profile of ice hockey throughout Central Florida."
Tickets for the Lightning’s preseason game at Amway Center on Thursday, September 27 against their cross-state rival Florida Panthers will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, August 23 at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com. Exclusive pre-sales to Lightning, Magic and Solar Bears Season Ticket Members, as well as Magic Premium members will be offered throughout the week.

The Bolts’ return to Orlando will be the team’s third exhibition game at the Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears, and their seventh appearance there overall. Tampa Bay’s most recent game at Amway Center was September 18, 2013, a 4-3 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues.

Tampa Bay’s most recent ECHL affiliation was with the Adirondack Thunder in 2017-18. Prior to that they were affiliated with the Kalamazoo Wings for the 2016-17 season and the Florida Everblades from 2010-2013. The Lightning’s very first ECHL affiliate was the Louisville Icehawks during the Bolts’ inaugural season in 1992-93.

The Solar Bears are members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in four of six seasons. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, while playing at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.

Bolts Announce Estero Prospect Tourney

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they will participate in the 2018 NHL Prospects Showcase, a three-team tournament at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida from September 8-11. The Lightning will field a team of their top prospects to compete against those of the Washington Capitals and the Nashville Predators. The games are free and open to the public. The Lightning’s participation is presented by Florida Blue.

The Lightning’s full practice schedule and roster will be made available at a later date. The complete game schedule is below:

Date | Game | Time
Saturday, Sept 8 | Washington at Nashville | 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept 9 | Nashville at Tampa Bay | 1 p.m.
Monday, Sept 10 | Tampa Bay at Washington | 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept 11 | Nashville at Washington | 11:30 a.m.

Tampa Bay Re-signs Winger Adam Erne to One Year Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Adam Erne to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Erne, 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, played in 23 games with the Lightning last season, recording three goals and four points. He also appeared in 41 games with Tampa Bay’s top affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, notching 12 goals and 26 points with a plus-4 rating.

The New Haven, Connecticut native has played in 49 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, since 2016, registering six goals and seven points. He has logged 150 career AHL games, all with the Crunch and scored 41 goals with 88 points. Erne has played in 22 career Calder Cup Playoff games, all in 2017, recording three goals and 10 points.

Erne was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Lightning Lock Up Kucherov Until 2027

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $9.5 million today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The contract keeps Kucherov signed through the 2026-27 season.

“I’m truly grateful to sign this contract extension to keep me in Tampa for another eight seasons,” Kucherov said. “I’d like to thank the Lightning organization and all of the fans for the support since making the Bay Area my home.”

Kucherov, 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, recorded 39 goals and 100 points in 2017-18, along with a plus-15 rating, eight power play goals and seven game-winning goals. He ranked third in the NHL for points, sixth for assists and tied for ninth for goals. Kucherov led the Lightning in most offensive categories in 2017-18, including goals, assists and points, while also ranking tied for second for power play goals and second for game-winners. His 19:49 in average ice time led all Tampa Bay forwards.

The Maykop, Russia native appeared in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2018 as the Lightning lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. He paced the Bolts with 17 points and was tied for first with seven goals and nine assists.

Kucherov, 25, has skated in 365 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, registering 147 goals, 334 points, 39 power play goals and 23 game-winners. He scored a career-high 40 goals during the 2016-17 season, while his 100 points during this past campaign were also a career best. Since the start of the 2016 season, Kucherov’s 185 points ranks second in the entire NHL, behind only the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid. He also ranks third for goals during that same span with 79, trailing Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (82) and Patrick Laine of the Winnipeg Jets (80).

The two-time NHL All-Star has played in 62 career Stanley Cup Playoff Games, scoring 29 goals and adding 59 points. Dating back to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, no other Lightning player has more playoff goals (28) or points (58) than Kucherov. He also ranks second for assists (30), behind only Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Victor Hedman.

Kucherov was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft

Bolts Give Cedric Paquette 1 year Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cedric Paquette to a one-year contract worth $1 million, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Paquette, 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, played in 56 games with the Lightning last season, recording five goals and nine points, along with two game-winning goals. He also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2018, notching a goal and two points.

A native of Gaspe, Quebec, Paquette has appeared in 236 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, and has scored 27 goals while notching 50 points. He also has three shorthanded goals and six game-winners. Paquette has 62 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience, recording four goals and eight points.

Paquette was drafted in the fourth round, 101st overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Lightning Give Ryan McDonagh Seven-Year Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million (AAV) per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The extension will commence with the 2019-20 season.

McDonagh, 29, skated in 63 games last season, splitting time between the Lightning and New York Rangers, registering four goals and 29 points to go along with 20 penalty minutes. He was acquired from the Rangers by the Bolts at this season’s trade deadline on February 26 along with forward J.T. Miller, who himself signed a five-year contract with the Lightning earlier this week. In 14 games with the Lightning, McDonagh posted a pair of goals and three points. He also appeared in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Tampa Bay, collecting five assists while averaging 22:31 of ice time per game. McDonagh ranked second on the Lightning for average time on ice and led the team for blocked shots with 35 during the postseason.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound defenseman has appeared in 530 career NHL games, all with the Rangers and Lightning over eight seasons, posting 53 goals and 241 points to go along with a plus-142 rating. The four-year captain of the Rangers led the team for blocked shots and average time on ice during the 2017-18 season prior to being traded to Tampa Bay.

Kevin Lynch One-Year, Two-Way Contract Official

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Kevin Lynch to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Lynch, 27, skated in 57 games with the Crunch during the 2017-18 season, posting 14 goals and 26 points to go along with 48 penalty minutes. He ranked third on Syracuse for shorthanded goals with two and was tied for sixth for goals. The Grosse Point, Michigan native also appeared in seven Calder Cup Playoff games in 2018, recording two goals and five points.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound forward has played in 154 career AHL games over four seasons with the Crunch and Manitoba Moose, registering 22 goals and 37 points to go along with 88 penalty minutes. Lynch set career highs for games played, goals, assists (12), points and penalty minutes during the 2017-18 season.

Lynch was originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round, 56th overall, at the 2009 NHL Draft.

Lightning Gives J.T. Miller 5-Year, $26M+ Contract Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward J.T. Miller to a five-year contract worth $5.25 million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Miller, 25, skated in 82 games last season, splitting time between the New York Rangers and Lightning, posting 23 goals and 58 points to go along with 40 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward was acquired by the Bolts at the trade deadline on February 26, 2018. In 19 games with the Lightning, Miller posted 10 goals and 18 points, which included five power-play tallies. Miller recorded his first career hat trick on March 13 against the Ottawa Senators. He also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Bolts, tallying two goals and eight points to go along with 15 penalty minutes.

Prior to joining the Lightning, Miller recorded 13 goals and 40 points while with the Rangers. The East Palestine, Ohio native led the Rangers for game-winning goals with four and also ranked second on the Rangers for assists with 27 and points before being traded to Tampa Bay. He recorded his third consecutive 20-goal season in 2017-18 and also set career highs for goals, assists, points, power-play goals (11) and face-off percentage (54.3%).

Miller has appeared in 360 NHL games over his six-year NHL career, registering 82 goals and 190 points to go along with 156 penalty minutes. He’s also skated in 57 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording three goals and 24 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes. Miller has reached the Eastern Conference Final twice (2015 & 2018) during his NHL career.

Miller was originally drafted by the Rangers in the first-round, 15th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

Lightning Sign Catamount Ross Colton to Two-Year ELC

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Ross Colton to a two-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Colton, 21, appeared in 36 games with the University of Vermont last season, recording 16 goals and 23 points to go along with 16 penalty minutes. He ranked first on Vermont for goals and points. Colton also ranked sixth in the Hockey East Conference for goals, eighth for power-play goals with eight and was tied for eighth with three game-winning goals.

The Robbinsville, New Jersey native has played in 69 games with Vermont over the past two seasons, collecting 28 goals and 50 points to go along with 69 penalty minutes. He led the team for goals during his freshman season with 12 tallies and was second for points with 27.

Colton was originally drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round, 118th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

Bolts Qualify Four Pending RFAs; Grant F Alex Gallant Unrestricted Free Agency

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have issued qualifying offers to four players today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Below is the list of players receiving qualifying offers:

Pos. Player
LW Adam Erne
D Slater Koekkoek
C J.T. Miller
C Cedric Paquette

The deadline for NHL clubs to issue offers is at 5 p.m. today. By issuing qualifying offers to the aforementioned players, the Lightning are given the right of first refusal or draft choice compensation should the player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club.

The Lightning did not issue a qualifying offer to forward Alex Gallant.

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