Ritola, Jones, and Tokarski Join Lightning Practices

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forwards Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones, as well as goaltender Dustin Tokarski, from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Norfolk was recently eliminated from the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

BP Note: The prospects will form what is known as the "Black Aces," a practice squad of sorts for the playoffs.

Ritola, 6-foot, 192 pounds, has appeared in a NHL career-high 31 games this season with the Lightning, recording career-bests with four goals and eight points. He has also averaged 10:03 in ice time per game. Ritola recorded his first career multi-goal game March 14 at Toronto on his 24th birthday. He played in four of the Admirals’ Calder Cup Playoff games this season, recording a goal and five points. Ritola excelled in limited time in Norfolk during the regular season, posting nine goals and 27 points in 17 games. His 1.59 points per game average led all Admirals. He also made his Lightning postseason debut in Game 4 of the team’s current Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, logging 2:23 in ice time.

Ritola was originally selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round, 103rd overall, at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He joined the Lightning after being claimed off waivers from Detroit on October 5, 2010.

Jones, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, has played in 18 games with the Lightning this season, recording a goal and three points while averaging 8:00 in ice time per game. He has tied career highs for goals, assists and points. Jones played in 56 games with Norfolk this season, notching 24 goals and 55 points with a plus-17 rating. Jones finished the regular season second on the team in goals, points and plus/minus as well as tied for second in assists. In addition, Jones played in four Admirals playoff games this season, registering a goal and a plus-1 rating.

Jones was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round, 102nd overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Tokarski, 5-foot-11, 198 pounds, played in 46 games with Norfolk during the regular season, posting a 21-20-4 record with a 2.65 and a .901 save percentage. He led all Admirals net minders in games played with 46, wins and shutouts with two. Tokarski started all six games during Norfolk’s first-round playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He posted a 2.19 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage with a shutout during the series. Tokarski’s save percentage ranks seventh in the AHL in the postseason.

Tokarski was selected in the fifth round, 122nd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
--Tampa Bay Lightning