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Lightning Ink Big Euro Forward Niklas Persson

Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed big Swedish forward Niklas Persson to a one-year, two-way contract on Friday. For the undrafted 31 year-old late bloomer, the signing marks the realization of a childhood dream to have a shot to play in the NHL.

Persson played last season for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik in the KHL, and three seasons for Linkoping before his KHL tour. During that four year span, the 6'02", 205 lbs forward, tallied 59 goals and 84 assists in 219 games. Persson won bronze medals with Team Sweden in both the 2009 and 2010 World Championships along with the Elitserian SM silver medal in 2007 and 2008 with Linkoping.

Persson told Aftonbladet, "I go over to take a place in the NHL. That is where I want to play, absolutely. I have written a two-way contract, and there is certainly a way out if I need it, but I have no other thoughts than to play in the NHL. At worst, I may play in the AHL and show that I'll have a chance. I will not leave home without an honest attempt."

"It's a childhood dream come true."

Kubina Returns

Various media reports state former Bolt and original Lightning draft pick Pavel Kubina has signed a two-year free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kubina, a coveted right-handed defenseman, was a seventh round pick of the Lightning in 1996. He spent 1997-2006 with the Lightning, including the 2004 Cup year, before leaving for Toronto as a free agent. He was later traded to Atlanta, where he had six goals and 38 points last year for the Thrashers. Additional reports said the Thrashers and former Lightning GM Rick Dudley wanted to re-sign Kubina, but a deal was obviously unable to get done.

ESPN reports his two-year contract is worth $4.2 million next season and $3.5 million the following year for a $3.85 million cap hit.

Bolts Re-Sign Enforcer Mitch Fritz

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mitch Fritz to a one-year, two-way contract, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Fritz, a 6-foot-7, 242-pound forward from Osoyoos, British Columbia, appeared in 73 games with the Admirals last season, scoring two goals and six points with a team-leading 157 penalty minutes.

Lightning Shore Up Net; Sign Dan Ellis for Two Years

TSN is reporting that Dan Ellis has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, just two days after being acquired by the Canadiens from Nashville, for a contract is worth $1.5 million per year.

The Habs acquired the 30-year-old Ellis on Tuesday (along with forward Dustin Boyd and future considerations), sending Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to the Nashville Predators.

Ellis had a .909 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average in 31 games last season with the Preds. For Ellis, he will reunite with former Iowa Stars teammate and friend Mike Smith as the apparent goaltending tandem for the Bolts next season.

Lightning Extend St. Louis Four More Years

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed right wing Martin St. Louis to a four-year contract extension today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. The contract locks up St. Louis through the 2014-15 season.

“Today is a great day for the Lightning organization,” Yzerman said. “Marty means so much to this franchise, both on and off the ice. His hard work and dedication are unsurpassed and we are thrilled that he will finish his career here in Tampa Bay.”

St. Louis, 5-foot-9, 177 pounds, is the Lightning’s all-time leader in shorthanded goals with 28. He is also second on the franchise list for games played with 703, goals with 263, assists with 396, points with 659, power-play goals with 76 as well as game-winning goals with 47. St. Louis is also the franchise leader in playoff goals with 23, points with 48, overtime game-winners with three and plus/minus with a plus-18. He is tied for the Tampa Bay all-time playoff lead for games played with 45 and game-winning goals with seven.

"Since coming to Tampa in 2000, the goals for my playing career have evolved," said St. Louis. "I have now enjoyed many team and personal accolades, the highlight being our 2004 Stanley Cup win.

"Now the goal is to lead the Lightning back towards the top of the NHL while finishing my career here. My family and I would like to thank Steve and Mr. Vinik for giving us that opportunity. I will not let them or our fans in Tampa Bay down. We'll do everything we can as a team to achieve at the highest levels again."

Bolts Deal Andrej Meszaros

TSN is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded defenceman Andrej Meszaros to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2012 second round pick.

Meszaros, 24, had six goals and 11 assists in 81 games with the Lightning last season.

This trade just ahead of the today's opening of free agency clears a significant long-term contract off the books for new GM Steve Yzerman is his reshaping of the Lightning roster. More details to follow.

Lightning Buy Out Todd Fedoruk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have bought out the contract of left wing Todd Fedoruk, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Fedoruk had one year remaining on his contract.

“On behalf of the entire Lightning organization, I would like to thank Todd for his service both on and off the ice,” Yzerman said. “As the team heads in a different direction, we wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in his hockey career.”

The Lightning have 10 forwards under contract for the 2010-11 season heading into Thursday's opening day of free agency: Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Dana Tyrell, Carter Ashton, James Wright, Adam Hall, Johan Harju, and Mitch Fadden.

BoltProspects 2009-2010 Supplemental Rankings: Post Draft

With the 2010 NHL Entry Draft completed, BoltProspects is releasing its Supplemental Rankings of the organization's top twenty-five prospects. The new rankings reflect both the results of the 2010 draft and transfers and signings that have occurred since the release of our 2009-2010 Final Rankings. To be considered a prospect for the sake of our rankings, a player must be under 24 years of age on the Lightning's opening night of the NHL season. Players 24 or over are considered overage prospects and are no longer eligible for consideration. The exception to this rule are NCAA based players, who are considered prospects for the tenure of their college careers. For the skating positions, a prospect is considered graduated if they play 41 or more NHL games in a single season or 82 or more career NHL games. For goaltenders, a player who has 30 or more NHL decisions in a single season or 41 or more career NHL decisions is considered graduated and no longer eligible for the list.

Confirmed: Simek Signs Tryout Deal With Dynamo Riga

The blog Latvian Hockey is confirming that forward Juraj Simek, who has played in the Lightning organization for the past two seasons with Norfolk, has signed a tryout deal with KHL club Dynamo Riga. Dynamo Riga was also the club last season for fellow Lightning prospect Martins Karsums.

Thoughts on Day Two

Let me start by saying, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft afterglow really puts into focus just how amazing a job Jim Hammett and Darryl Plandowski did in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. To put it bluntly, they spoiled us. When you walk out of a draft with four guys who were probably among the top forty or fifty picks in the draft, it's exhilerating. But, not every year can be like 2009 or even like the 2006 draft when the Lightning used their first four picks on four pretty solidly touted prospects.

By the time the Lightning got to their second pick at sixty-third overall, the large majority of the quality known talent was off the board. That's the difference between a draft where you have three top sixty picks and another where you have just one, I suppose. So, the Lightning were going off the beaten path for much of day two to try to find potential NHLers and fill organizational needs. As a consequence, the quality of this draft class isn't going to be as immediately apparent, and right now it feels like the draft will live and die on the shoulders, or hips, of Brett Connolly.

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