Lightning Make Assistant Coach Signings Official

The Tampa Bay Lightning have officially announced the signing of Rick Tocchet and Wes Walz as assistant coaches. In addition, in one of the worst guarded secrets of the offseason, the Lightning have also lured Cap Raeder out of the San Jose organization and signed him as an assistant coach as well. Raeder served as an assistant to Head Coach Barry Melrose in Los Angeles during Melrose's first stint in the NHL.

Tampa Signs Brandon Bochenski

Update: TSN is now confirming that Tampa Bay has signed Brandon Bochenski to a two-year deal. Like Konopka's deal, the first year of the deal is a two-way contract with a one-way deal for the final year..

This morning, NHLPA.com was indicating that enigmatic right winger Brandon Bochenski had signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning that would pay $500k at the NHL level.

“Brandon is a proven player at the AHL level with more than 100 games of experience in the NHL,” vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. “Adding him for the next two years continues to address our need to build organizational depth.”

The former UND standout was a teammate with Lightning defensive prospect Matt Smaby in 2003-2004 during Smaby's freshman season with the Fighting Sioux. Bochenski, a prolific college and AHL scorer that has had trouble translating his dynamic offense at the NHL level, would be a huge boost to a Norfolk Admirals team that suffered through an anemic offense last season. Bochenski last played in the AHL for the Admirals during the 2006-2007 season, putting up an astronomical 33 goals and 33 assists in just 35 games. Bochenski has scored 89 goals and 93 assists in 143 career AHL games for Binghamton and Norfolk.

Lightning Ink a Pair; Fire Head Scout Jake Goertzen

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lighting have signed free agent defenseman and power play specialist Andrew Hutchinson to a two-year, one-way contract late Monday evening. The team also received word that winger Evegeny Artyukhin has signed a two-year, $1.9M deal and has sent it to the Lightning to be finalized.

Erlendsson also reported that long-time head scout Jake Goertzen was fired on Monday after 17 years with the organization. Best of luck from BoltProspects to you, Jake, as you begin the next era in your career. We'll miss you and we hope you won't be a stranger.

Another Signing: Recchi Joins Lightning

TSN is reporting the Lightning has taken another dip in the free agent pool, this time signing former Penguin and Thrasher Mark Recchi.

The site claims Recchi signed for one year at 1.25 million that could raise to 1.5 million with incentives.

After being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh by Atlanta last year, the 40 year-old Recchi scored 40 points in 53 games.

Scouting Report: Ty Wishart

For anyone who is wondering, here was Red Line Report's take on defenseman Ty Wishart heading into the 2006 draft. Wishart was ranked the 16th best prospect in the draft class by Red Line, and here is what they had to say:

Bolts Close to Deal with Jason Smith?

The Buffalo News is suggesting that Jason Smith might be close to a deal with Tampa.

Quote:

Regier said he’s happy with the team’s depth but didn’t discount further moves. Buffalo remains interested in free agent defenseman Jason Smith of Philadelphia, although Regier said he had not spoken to Smith’s agent Friday and that the player may be close to a deal with another team (possibly Tampa Bay).

Bolts Sign Zenon Konopka

Lindsay Kramer of the the Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have inked Syracuse Crunch center and captain Zenon Konopka to a two-year deal. Konopka has spent the last season-and-a-half in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization after being traded by the Anaheim Ducks in January 2007.

Kramer reports that Konopka turned down a lucrative two-year, two-way deal from the Jackets that would have paid him $265k in each of the next two years to play for Syracuse. The Lightning's two-year deal involves a two-way contract for the first year with $100k minor league salary, but a coveted one-way contract for the 2nd year at or just above the league minimum NHL salary of $450k. Konopka finalized his decision after Tampa head coach Barry Melrose convinced him that he would have a better chance of making an NHL squad with the Lightning than with the Blue Jackets.

Lightning Acquire Carle and Wishart

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is confirming that the Tampa Bay Lightning and the San Jose Sharks are officially completing the much discussed trade of star defensemen Dan Boyle. The deal sends Boyle along with Tampa defenseman Brad Lukowich to San Jose in exchange for defenseman Matt Carle, top defensive prospect and former first rounder Ty Wishart, a 2009 1st round pick, and a 2010 4th round pick.

TSN: Boyle to the Sharks

TSN is reporting Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle has waived his no trade clause to go to San Jose. The Lightning will reportedly receive former 40-plus-point defenseman Matt Carle, a prospect, a first round pick, and a fourth round pick in exchange for Boyle.

Matt is the brother of 2008 Lightning draftee David Carle, who's career was ended by a heart condition. Lightning owner Oren Koules has ties to the Carle family.

After scoring 42 points in his rookie year, Matt, the former Hobey Baker winner with Denver, sophomore slumped to just 15 points last year.

Rumors are circling that the prospect is former Sharks first round defenseman Ty Wishart, a teammate of Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell in Prince George for the first half of last year. Wishart, a 6-5, 205-pound two-way defenseman, led the WHL in scoring from the backline last year. Official word on the trade has yet to be announced.

Brad Lukowich will accompany Boyle to San Jose from Tampa, which clears some more salary for Tampa Bay.

Lightning Sign Prospect Scott Jackson

Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the signing of free agent defensive prospect Scott Jackson to a standard three-year rookie contract.

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