TSN and various news outlets are reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent Brad Lukowich to a three-year contract.
Lukowich, 30, played for the Lightning during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, helping the team to back-to-back Southeast Division titles and the 2004 Stanley Cup.
"Brad Lukowich is a warrior," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster in a Lightning press release. "He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and he does whatever it takes to win. He knows our system, he knows our core personnel, he knows how we do things in Tampa and what we expect from our players, and he is a winner. He is also a very good teammate and a popular player in the locker room. He has personality and spirit and old-school flair about him. We like everything about him and we are thrilled to welcome him back to our hockey team."
Beginning the tall task of building a winning team in Norfolk while simultaneously accumulating quality depth, TSN is reporting the Bolts have signed former Chicago Blackhawk and Norfolk Admiral Craig MacDonald, as well as 2006-2007 Worcester Shark Mathieu Darche.
According to the report, the 30-year-old MacDonald spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, scoring three goals and picking up two assists in 25 games.
In 160 career regular season games with Carolina, Florida, Boston, Calgary and Chicago, MacDonald has eight goals and 14 assists.
The Mississippi Sea Wolves, the Lightning's new ECHL affiliate, have announced the signing of NCAA Division III star Kyle McCullough out of the University of Massachussetts-Dartmouth. McCullough, a forward, scored 64 goals and 154 points in 111 games during his college career. He becomes the second Mississippi player under contract for the 2007-2008 season along with veteran defenseman Chris Cava who was signed earlier this offseason.
According to TSN, the Lightning has signed former Pittsburgh Penguin and Brad Richards Rimouski Oceanic Michel Ouellet to a two-year deal. TSN is reporting Ouellet will make $1.2 in year one and $1.3 million in year 2. The winger had 19 goals in limited ice time for Pittsburgh last season and was rumored to be not qualified as a restricted free agent because of arbitration concerns.
In other news, defenseman Cory Sarich signed a 5-year, 18 million dollar contract (3.6 per year) with the Calgary Flames. Also, center Eric Perrin signed a 2-year, 1.5 million dollar contract with Atlanta.
Lightning press release on Ouellet:
Damian Crisdotero reports on his blog that Riku Helenius will indeed come to North America this coming season to play for Seattle of the WHL. No mention of a source, but Helenius' move across the pond seems likely now that his Finnish club Ilves has signed veteran netminder Tero Leinonen away from Lulea of the Swedish Elitserien.
(The Suburban) Beaconsfieldâ€™s Alex Killorn became the highest selected Lac St. Louis Tiger in the National Hockey Leagueâ€™s entry draft held last Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, when the Tampa Bay Lightning chose the 6-foot 161-pound center in the third round, 77th overall.
â€œWe (the family) were watching the draft on the NHL network and when I heard my name being called I couldnâ€™t believe it,â€ Killorn said. â€œI got so excited and then the phone calls started to come. At least I knew it was true and the guys werenâ€™t trying to punk me. Getting selected by Tampa Bay was a real honor. They have such a great organization, I feel really fortunate.â€
For the rest of the story, see The Suburban newspaper online.
Lightning 2006 first round draft pick Riku Helenius was selected by the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft today. Helenius, a 6-3 goaltender who missed practically all of last season with Ilves Jr. in Finland because of a shoulder injury, was taken with the 46th overall pick.
â€œWe spoke to Tampa Bay a year ago about adding Helenius to our team but the player was not ready to come at that time,â€ Seattle General Manager Russ Farwell said in a story on the Thunderbirdsâ€™ web site.
â€œThere is a good chance this year he could come over and we felt we would take that chance because this combination would give us the best 1-2 goalie combination in our division.â€
The Tampa Bay Lightning, parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have re-signed right wing Norm Milley to a one-year contract, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced on Tuesday.
Milley, a 6-foot, 195-pound native of Toronto, Ontario, served as team captain for the Springfield Falcons, the former American Hockey League affiliate of the Lightning, last season. The 27-year-old notched 26 goals and added 34 assists for 60 points in 73 games with the Falcons in 2006-07. He was tied for the Springfield lead with ten power play goals and finished second in scoring, goals and assists.