Bolts Pave Way for Hlavac's Return

The Tampa Bay Lightning has released a report confirming the club has signed left wing Jan Hlavac to a one year contract. Hlavac has spent the last three season playing in Europe, most recently with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Hlavac helped Sparta Praha to the Czech Extraliga championship this year with 8 goals and 2 assists in 16 playoff games.

"Jan Hlavac is a highly skilled player who we believe will fit in well within our group of top six forwards and a player we hope will develop some chemistry with Brad Richards," Lightning GM Jay Feaster said. "He is an excellent skater and is both a playmaker and a guy who can finish. The 'new NHL' is tailor-made for Jan's game, and he expressed through his agent a strong desire to return to the NHL as was evidenced by the cap- and budget-friendly contract Jan signed."

Hlavac has some history with current Tampa head coach John Tortorella when both were part of the New York Rangers organization. "John Tortorella coached Hlavac in New York and Torts gave us a very positive recommendation both as to his skill level and as a teammate within the team concept. We are very excited about this signing and look forward to seeing Jan in training camp."

Hlavac is a veteran of 356 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes. He has scored 78 career NHL goals and recorded 189 points, and his best NHL season came in 2000-01 with the Rangers as he scored 28 goals with 64 points, both career highs. Hlavac scored 15 or more goals in three consecutive seasons from 1999-02 (19, 28 and 16 respectively).