Lightning Add Defensive Depth

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

Taormina, 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, has played in 47 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils during the previous two seasons, recording four goals and 12 points with a plus-4 rating. He made his NHL debut on October 8 vs. Dallas and recorded his first point October 13 at Buffalo.

A native of Warren, Michigan, Taormina has played in 199 career AHL games with the Binghamton Senators, Lowell Devils and Albany River Rats. He has registered 18 goals and 71 points, including a career-high 16 goals and 66 points in 2009-10. That season he led all Lowell defensemen, and was third on the team, with 10 goals and 50 points. Those totals were the most by a rookie in franchise history. Taormina also set a franchise record with 32 power-play points with eight goals and 24 assists.

Before turning professional, Taormina played in 141 games at Providence College where he did not miss a game. During his college career he recorded 20 goals and 65 points. Taormina was named to the 2007-08 Hockey East Second All-Star Team and received an honorable mention in 2008-09.

Taormina was undrafted and signed as a free agent by New Jersey on February 25, 2010.

BP Notes: Taormina essentially takes the spot left by Mike Kostka, who signed with Toronto earlier in free agency. Taormina is undersized, but moves the puck effectively. We were told that he was having a great season two years ago before a severely sprained ankle derailed his season. Taormina should be a staple on the Syracuse power play. It's unlikely he sees time in Tampa Bay this year unless the Lightning are hit with significant injuries on the blueline.