Lightning Swap Wright and Vernace for Two Defensemen

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced they have traded Bolt Prospects alumni James Wright and veteran AHLer Mike Vernace to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defensemen Mike Kostka and Evan Oberg.

Kostka (pictured), 26, is a 6'1" 210 pound righty shot defenseman. He played his college hockey with the University of Massachusetts before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008. A year ago, Kostka led the Rochester Americans in scoring with 16 goals and 55 points in 80 games. This year, with the San Antonio Rampage, the defenseman has only managed 2 goals and 6 points in 18 games.

Oberg, 23, is a 6'0" 191 pound lefty shot defenseman. He played two seasons for the University of Minnesota before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vancouver Canucks in 2009. He recorded no points in his 4 career NHL appearances with the Canucks, and his AHL best season was 2009-2010 with the Manitoba Moose, when he scored 3 goals and 26 points in 70 games. He has just 2 points in 12 games this year for the Rampage.

Wright, 21, surprisingly made the Lightning out of camp in 2009-2010 and played 48 NHL games before being returned to his junior team. Since then, Wright has never returned to the big leagues and he struggled offensively to start this year with just 1 goal and 5 points in 22 games. The 2008 4th round pick had 16 goals and 47 points with Norfolk of the AHL last year, which was his rookie season as a professional. His departure is perhaps the biggest news of today's transaction.