Syracuse Crunch

Lightning Re-up Aulie for One Year

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Keith Aulie to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Aulie, 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, played in 19 games with the Lightning last season, collecting one assist and 13 penalty minutes. He recorded his first point with the Bolts, an assist, on March 29 at New Jersey. Aulie appeared in three regular season games with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, notching two assists and six penalty minutes. He won the Calder Cup with the Admirals, skating in 18 playoff games, recording a goal and six points to go along with 10 penalty minutes.

Bolts Qualify Five Players Including Four Defensemen

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they had extended qualifying offers to five of their eight pending restricted free agents. Defensemen Keith Aulie, Brian Lee, Brendan Mikkelson, and Evan Oberg along with goaltender Jaroslav Janus received the required offers to guarantee the Bolts retain exclusive rights to these players. It is expected that Tampa will come to terms with contract extensions with these five players sometime during the summer.

Recently required goaltender Anders Lindback received a qualifying offer from the Nashville Predators prior to his trade to the Lightning last week.

Defenseman Sebastien Piche and forward Benoit Pouliot were not tendered qualifying offers, and will be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Pouliot was acquired Saturday from the Boston Bruins during the 2012 NHL Draft, and is expected to sign an extension with the Bolts prior to start of the NHL free agency signing period on Sunday. Pouliot has arbitration rights as a pending restricted free agent, and the Lightning's decision not to qualify Pouliot is speculated as a means to circumvent Pouliot electing player arbitration later this summer.

Piche was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in the Kyle Quincey/First Round Pick trade. The Red Wings needed a spot in their 50-man roster and Piche was sent to Tampa Bay. He was one of the leaders for the ECHL Florida Everblades as they won the Kelly Cup. The writing was on the wall for Piche's future when the third year pro was not recalled to Norfolk following the conclusion of Florida's season.

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