Bolts Acquire Rights to Malone, Roberts
TSN is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired exclusive negotiating rights to forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts by sending a 2009 4th round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both Malone and Roberts are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. If the Lightning sign Malone, the 4th round pick would be upgraded to a 3rd round pick.
Prior to the NHL draft, Malone had said that it would be foolish for a team to trade for his rights as he intended to explore his market value when the free agency period opens on July 1. Roberts had quelled retirement rumors by stating that he intend to continue to play, but that he would not be returning to the Penguins organization.
Just prior to the draft, Tampa had acquired the rights to impending free agent forward Vaclav Prospal from the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Lightning's new ownership group have announced that Prospal has verbally agreed to a multi-year contract with the Bolts, reported to four years and $14M.