The Tampa Bay Lightning signed four players August 18 that will likely spend the majority of the 2005-06 season with AHL Springfield. Returning to the Falcons are 2004-05 Springfield MVP goalie Brian Eklund , center Jason Jaspers, and late-season acquisition right wing Jim Campbell. Also joining the Falcons is former OHL scoring star Norm Milley (pictured), a right winger who hails from the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Eklund, who was a restricted free agent, is coming off an impressive year behind a spotty Springfield defense. The 6'5" 200 pound Brown University graduate registered 14 wins in 43 games for the Falcons while posting a save percentage of .911 and a goals against average of 3.00. He was a seventh round pick of the Lightning in 2000.
Jaspers, also a restricted free agent, was acquired earlier this summer from the Phoenix organization for forward Jarrod Skalde. Jaspers was on loan from Phoenix/Utah last season and helped bring offense to the offense-starved Falcons. He totalled 12 goals and 17 assists in 48 games with Springfield after notching just three assists in 11 games with Utah. Perhaps most impressive was his even rating in nearly 50 games in Springfield. Jaspers has NHL lower-line ability and will likely see first line time in Springfield this season, as well as a possible call-up to Tampa. Known for his work ethic, Jaspersri is a former third round pick of the Coyotes.
Campbell, an unrestricted free agent, was on loan to Springfield late last season. He joins his sixth NHL organization after being a second round pick of the Montreal Canadians in 1991. A member of the 1996-96 NHL All-Rookie team, Campbell was signed as a free agent by the Islanders last April after being let go by the Florida Panthers. Campbell will provide scoring and leadership to Springfield, though his offensive numbers have diminished over the years. His most productive year in the AHL was 1995-96 when he scored 41 goals and 71 points for both Baltimore and Fredericton. He scored 23-20-43 for St. Louis in his NHL rookie year.
Milley, a former junior teammate of Jaspers, is described by the Toronto Star as a "classic overachiever with a motor that never stops. He can play any style needed and is an excellent team player." Reading that, it's no secret as to why he was signed by Jay Feaster. Milley was among OHL scoring leaders in 1998-99 and 1999-00. He was named to the CHL First All-Star Team in 2000 after scoring 52-60-112 for Sudbury. He was the OHL's top scoring right winger in 1999 when he scored 120 points (52 goals) for Sudbury after his draft year. Milley's AHL numbers are average at best though he has the potential for more. Last year for Rochester he scored 12 goals and 33 points. This, after making it to Buffalo for cups of coffee in the previous three seasons. The 6'0" 200 pound forward will bring offensive ability to Springfield's front lines and power play. His most productive AHL season was his first (2000-01) when he scored 20 goals and 47 points for Rochester. Milley was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Sabres earlier this offseason making him an unrestricted free agent.