Big Time Rumor: Anton But to Tampa Bay

Russianprospects.com [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/index.php]is speculating that Anton But may be close to signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.[/url] The rumor comes on the heels of But's release from his long-time club Yarolslavl where he won two championships and was a perennial Superleague All-Star. A potential deal might require the Lightning to move a player off their 50-man roster to accomodate But. Because he is not under contract at present he would be free of any potential entanglements due to the lack of an IIHF transfer agreement with Russia.

Russia Transfer Situation Remains Muddled

TSN is reporting that the Russian Federation still hasn’t signed the IIHF-NHL transfer agreement. This, despite an ABC News Report stating otherwise just a few weeks ago. While negotiating with Russian players will remain difficult until an agreement is signed, players can still be brought over to North America at the NHL club's doing. If an agreement is not signed, teams such as the Lightning would not lose rights to Russian draftees such as Alex Polushin and Vasily Koshechkin next summer.

Falcons Add Spina

FalconsAHL.com is reporting Springfield has brought back forward David Spina. According to the release, Spina played in 54 games for the Falcons during the 2005-06 season collecting 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points. Prior to joining the Falcons, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Mesa, Arizona, registered seven goals in 11 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL beginning last season.

Roster(s) Starting to Take Shape

With today's signing of Eric Healey, Bolt Prospects' Chad Schnarr believes the Lightning have hit their 50-man contract limit presuming they re-sign all outstanding RFA's. With that in mind we can begin to speculate on the shape of the rosters of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Springfield Falcons and Johnstown Chiefs for the 2006-2007 season.

Lightning Sign Eric Healey

According to ESPN.com, [url=http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/transactions]the Lightning have signed left wing Eric Healey to a two-way contract.[/url] The 31 year old forward spent much of last season with the Providence Bruins of the AHL scoring 29 goals and 71 points in 66 games. He also played 2 games with Boston last year at the NHL level, the only two NHL games of a career that has been split between the AHL, IHL, ECHL and the German DEL. The Hull, Massachussetts native is no stranger to Springfield as he played both the '99-'00 and '00-'01 seasons with the Falcons. Of local interest, he also spent part of the '98-'99 season with the Orlando Solar Bears of the IHL. Prior to becoming a pro, Healey graduated from RPI. Healey's signing may cap the offseason shaping of the Falcons roster, and may lock out any potential re-signing of Shane Willis, Jason Jaspers or Zdenek Blatny.

Craig Signed

According to TSN.ca, former Springfield and Brandon (WHL) captain Ryan Craig has re-signed with the Lightning. Craig scored 15 goals in roughly half a season last year as a rookie in Tampa Bay. Craig is one of the current members of the Lightning expected to help fill the void left when Fredrik Modin was traded to Columbus.

Fritz Re-ups With Lightning; Next Stop Tampa?

The Springfield Falcons are reporting the Lightning have re-signed left winger Mitch Fritz to a two-way contract. Tampa GM Jay Feaster hints at the possibility of Fritz playing on a line in Tampa next season, which fits Feaster's wish for a more physical fourth line: "We are very pleased to have Mitch under contract for another season", Feaster stated in a release. "As we have told him in the past, if he is able to continue to improve his skating and demonstrate the ability to contribute consistently on an every shift basis, he will become an NHL regular,” Feaster said. “He is, pound for pound, one of the strongest players in professional hockey and he creates room for his teammates every time he steps on the ice. We need that type of physical presence in Tampa and we look forward to seeing Mitch in camp and determining whether he has continued to elevate his overall game to the NHL level."

Lightning Sign Jones

The Tampa Bay Lightning [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/tbl/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1412&category=2]have signed[/url] center [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] to an entry level contract. Jones, 19, finished 6th in the WHL in regular season scoring and 2nd in the league in playoff scoring and was named a Second Team All WHL Eastern Conference All Star for his junior club Moose Jaw of the WHL.

Falcons Sign Atherton

The Springfield Falcons [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox3026.shtml]have signed Lightning prospect defenseman P.J. Atherton to an AHL contract.[/url] [url=pj-atherton]Atherton[/url] played 9 games with Springfield under a professional tryout contract late in the year after graduating from the University of Minnesota. In those 9 games Atherton totaled 1 goal and 4 points. The Lightning hold the 23 year old blueliner and former 2002 6th round pick's rights for one year after his date of graduation. His signing of an AHL only contract allows the Lightning to keep him in their system without having to fit him under the club's 50-man roster limit.

Lightning Re-Sign Afanasenkov

The Lightning [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/tbl/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1411&category=2]have re-signed winger Dimitry Afanasenkov to a one-year deal worth about $738,000.[/url] The one-year deal is Afanasenkov's qualifying offer. The Lightning will likely start with Afansenkov on a scoring line this season after the departure of Fredrik Modin in the Marc Denis trade.
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