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Bolts Trade Mitch Fritz; Acquire Bryce Lampman

Eric Erlendsson is reporting in his blog today that the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded enforcer Mitch Fritz to the New York Rangers in exchange for defensive prospect Bryce Lampman.

Lampman, 24, was a 2001 4th round selection by the Rangers and has played the past five seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack accumulating 19-57-76, +49, and 234 PIMs in 258 games played. During those 5 seasons, he appeared in 10 NHL games for the Rangers. “In Bryce Lampman we are obtaining a mobile, very good skating, puck-moving defenseman with good vision who sees the ice well, makes a very good first pass and who possesses excellent hockey sense,” Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said in a team press release. “He is also a player who can be used in all special teams situations. For the past three or four seasons now our pro scouts have felt that he was on the verge of playing regularly in the NHL. He will come to training camp in September and have a chance to battle it out with probably five or six other players for the sixth and seventh spots on our blueline. Based on everything we have seen from him in the past, he is knocking on the door of being an NHL regular. We are thrilled to have him in our organization and we wish Mitch Fritz nothing but success.”

Lampman, an assistant captain with the Wolf Pack, signed a contract with TPS in Finland on June 6 and the restricted free agent, who was qualified by the Rangers, has an out clause with TPS should he sign with an NHL club by July 10.

Fritz, 26, was signed by the Lightning as a free agent in 2005 and the 6'8", 258lb winger is one of the most feared and respected enforcers in the AHL, accumulating over 356 PIMs in two seasons with the organization. According to the St. Pete Times, Fritz had contacted Feaster when the Lightning qualified the restricted free agent to express his concern over lack of playing time at the AHL level and the inability to get a better chance to make the NHL club.

Back in Black

TSN and various news outlets are reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent Brad Lukowich to a three-year contract.

Lukowich, 30, played for the Lightning during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, helping the team to back-to-back Southeast Division titles and the 2004 Stanley Cup.

"Brad Lukowich is a warrior," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster in a Lightning press release. "He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and he does whatever it takes to win. He knows our system, he knows our core personnel, he knows how we do things in Tampa and what we expect from our players, and he is a winner. He is also a very good teammate and a popular player in the locker room. He has personality and spirit and old-school flair about him. We like everything about him and we are thrilled to welcome him back to our hockey team."

Bolts Add Two Defensive Pieces to Norfolk

Eric Erlendsson is reporting in his blog today that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Jay Leach and David Schneider, a pair of depth defensemen, to one-year, two-way contracts.

Lightning Signs Two with Norfolk in Mind

Beginning the tall task of building a winning team in Norfolk while simultaneously accumulating quality depth, TSN is reporting the Bolts have signed former Chicago Blackhawk and Norfolk Admiral Craig MacDonald, as well as 2006-2007 Worcester Shark Mathieu Darche.

According to the report, the 30-year-old MacDonald spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, scoring three goals and picking up two assists in 25 games.

In 160 career regular season games with Carolina, Florida, Boston, Calgary and Chicago, MacDonald has eight goals and 14 assists.

Wolves Sign McCullough

The Mississippi Sea Wolves, the Lightning's new ECHL affiliate, have announced the signing of NCAA Division III star Kyle McCullough out of the University of Massachussetts-Dartmouth. McCullough, a forward, scored 64 goals and 154 points in 111 games during his college career. He becomes the second Mississippi player under contract for the 2007-2008 season along with veteran defenseman Chris Cava who was signed earlier this offseason.

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