Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting on his blog that the Lightning have struck a deal to acquire the rights to potential UFA winger Brian Rolston. Rolston, 35, has scored 96 goals over the course of the past three seasons with the Minnesota Wild.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ST. PAUL, Minn. â€” The Minnesota Wild have traded forward Brian Rolston to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional draft pick. The Wild will get a selection in either the 2009 or 2010 draft. The pick will depend on whether Tampa Bay re-signs Rolston before they know what pick Minnesota will get in the deal. Rolston is due to become a free agent July 1, but by making the move the Lightning get a day of exclusive negotiations with the forward. He scored 31 goals and had 59 points last season. The move caps a busy weekend for the Lightning, who acquired the rights to Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from Pittsburgh on Saturday. â€œAs we said earlier this week and we are trying to prove after making our deal with Pittsburgh (Saturday), we will work feverishly to improve the Lightning team for the 2008-09 season,â€ owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie said in a joint statement. â€œWe believe getting the Lightning a head start in the negotiating and signing process can help us secure the players we are targeting. Nothing is guaranteed here, but we hope to have a chance to get another quality player in a Lightning uniform sooner rather than later.â€
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.
After a couple of months of rumors indicating he might go back to Europe, Eurohockey.net is reporting that Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil has signed with Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga for next season. Kvapil, 23, struggled the past two seasons to reach the promise he showed as a rookie in 2005-2006 when he scored 18 goals and 45 points in 79 games with the Springfield Falcons. Plagued by inconsistent effort and turnovers in the neutral zone, Kvapil languished in the ECHL for half of last season with the Mississippi Sea Wolves. Kvapil's decision is the first of a string of prospect roster moves to come in the next couple of months. Bolt Prospects' Chad Schnarr will have more on Johan Harju, Mitch Fadden, and Dane Crowley in the coming week.
Eurohockey.net is reporting that defenseman Mario Scalzo has signed with Austrian club Salzburg for next season. If Scalzo indeed chooses to leave North America for Europe, it makes an already depleted Norfolk blueline for next season even thinner. Of course, it also probably helps prospect Dane Crowley's quest to get an NHL contract.
The website is also reporting that Lightning prospect Stanislav Lascek, who has spent much of this season with Mississippi of the ECHL, has agreed to play next season for Zvolen in Slovakia. Lascek, who was drafted as an overage player in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, finished second in the QMJHL in scoring in his final year of junior hockey but has been underwhelming in two seasons of professional hockey that have been spent largely in the ECHL.
Milley's departure leaves an opening for a veteran forward to be retained or signed for Norfolk of the AHL next season. Milley leaves the Lightning organization after three seasons which have included 182 games split between Springfield and Norfolk of the AHL and 14 games of NHL service with Tampa Bay during the 2005-2006 season. Milley has scored 63 goals and 154 points in his 182 games of AHL service with the franchise. He will be missed.
It is not completely clear what Lascek's status will be given that he still has a year left on his NHL Entry Level deal. Whether or not the Lightning retain Lascek's rights, it does appear his departure may give the Lightning some relief on the 50-man roster front where potentially difficult signing decisions need to be made for currently contracted prospects Mike Egener and Marek Kvapil and minor league contracted players Adam Henrich and Rob Klinkhammer.
The first move of the deadline for the Tampa Bay Lightning has finally occurred. TSN is reporting the Lightning have traded winger Vaclav Prospal to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2nd or 3rd round pick in 2009.
Picard, a 22 year old 6'2" 220 lbs blueliner, has 8 goals and 38 points in 53 games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL this season to go along with 31 penalty minutes and a -8 rating. Picard was an AHL All-Star this season who also had 4 scoreless games worth of action with the Flyers this season. Last year the defenseman played 62 games with the big club racking up 3 goals and 22 points to go along with 17 penalty minutes and a -24 rating.
According to Hockey Forecaster, Picard, "Has poise and maturity with and without the puck. Can be a factor in all three zones and already displays consistency in his overall play." However, they go on to say he, "Needs to do a better job of keeping opposing forwards honest with more physical play. May not put up big offensive totals in the NHL."
As we wait to see what the roster outcomes are to be, I must digress. It is not good (but necessary) to lose anybody, except maybe Prospal, Gratton, Boyle or Richards, maybe even Vinny. But what if we had changed coaches back in November, and were still in the hunt? Maybe brought the team together, appointed a captain, and rolled four lines conistently?
Erik Erlendsson writes that defenseman Kevin Quick, who was recently dismissed from Michigan of the CCHA, has had his name added to the roster of Des Moines of the USHL on the league's statistical website. Erlendsson goes on to write that the Lightning are unsure at this time whether or not Quick has indeed joined Des Moines.
Of Note: There has been no announcement from the Des Moines club, nor is Quick listed on Des Moines' roster on the team's official site. However, Pointstreak.com has the transaction of Quick being added to the Buccaneers listed on its player movement page.
Earlier this year Lightning prospect Luca Cunti was mistakenly listed on a Chicago Steel statistical report when he was still with St. Cloud State University. He would join Chicago a month later.
Again, nothing has been confirmed.
The Norfolk Admirals have announced that the Lightning have traded defenseman Dan Jancevski to Dallas in exchange for minor league right winger Junior Lessard. In addition, the Admirals have acquired center Paul Szczechura from the Stars' AHL affiliate, the Iowa Stars, for future considerations.
Lessard, a 27 year old 6'0" 200 lbs forward, has 10 goals and 21 points in 36 games this season with 15 penalty minutes. His career season came in 2005-2006 with Iowa of the AHL when he had 26 goals and 58 points in 66 games.
Szczechura, a 22 year old 5'11" 190 lbs center, has 2 goals and 5 points in 29 games this season. Last year, as an ATO after graduating from Western Michigan, he had 3 goals and 7 points in 14 games. In his senior season in college, Szczechura had 19 goals and 45 points in 37 games.
Norfolk has also announced that they have recalled right wing Marek Kvapil from Mississippi of the ECHL and reassigned left wing/defenseman Mike Egener to Mississippi. Egener has missed 33 games this season with injuries.