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.
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 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.
The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Lightning have inked minor league veteran center Wyatt Smith to a one year, two-way contract. Smith, a 9th round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1997 draft, has garnered a bit of a journeyman's reputation having spent the past 9 seasons playing with 5 different organizations after spending 4 years playing for the University of Minnesota.
Smith, 5.11 and 205, has played 128 NHL games the past three seasons with Colorado, Minnesota, and the New York Islanders in mostly a 4th line center role. Smith projects to anchor the top line in Norfolk, while providing depth down the middle for the Lighting.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Janne Niskala to a one-year contract, it was announced by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie. Niskala was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday in exchange for a sixth-round draft choice in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
â€œWe have targeted Janne for some time and we like his ability to contribute offensively,â€ said Koules and Barrie upon making the announcement. â€œHe has an upside that will be beneficial to the Lightning and we hope he can make our team and improve us on the blueline.â€
TSN reports the Bolts have signed Norfolk Admiral fan favorite David Koci to a one-year, two-way deal. The site claims Koci will receive 525,000 in the NHL and 100,000 in the AHL.
Koci had 2 assists in 21 games -- along with 57 PIM -- for Norfolk last year after being acquired on loan from Rockford in exchange for Justin Fletcher.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting on his blog that a deal has been struck between the Lightning and veteran netminder Olaf Kolzig. Terms are not known at this time. Kolzig, 38, was 25-21-6 last season with a 2.91 GAA, .892 save percentage, and 1 shutout for the Washington Capitals. Update: The deal with Kolzig is apparently complete and the terms are reportedly 1 year at a base salary of $1.5M plus bonuses.
The move likely pushes prospect Karri Ramo back down to the AHL level to start next season as the Lightning are also reportedly close to extending goaltender Mike Smith's contract, according to Damian Crisdotero of the Times' blog.
Crisdotero also reports the Lightning have signed winger Adam Hall to a three year deal. The 27 year old grinder had 2 goals and 6 points in 46 games last season with Pittsburgh to go along with 24 penalty minutes. His career season came in 2005-2006 with Nashville when he potted 14 goals to go along with 29 points in 75 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Len Barrie has confirmed that the Bolts have signed unrestricted free agent Radim Vrbata to a 3 year, $9M contract today. Vrbata had a breakout season for the Phoenix Coyotes last year scoring 27 goals and 56 points in 72 games. Vrbata had spent previous years with the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks organizations before the 27 year old decided to pursue free agency this off-season.