The WHL's Regina Pats, as expected, have traded former Lightning first rounder Carter Ashton. The Regina Leader-Post reports the Pats sent Ashton to the Tri-City Americans with a third-round pick for forward Tanner Olstad, forward Nils Moser, a first-round pick in the 2011 WHL bantam draft, and second and fifth round picks in the 2010 bantam draft.
Ashton, who signed a professional contract with the Lightning in 2009, is in his final year of junior and with Regina struggling again this year, it was only a matter of time before the Pats sent him to a playoff contender for future help.
Tri-City is currently tied for second in the U.S. Division, 13 points behind Portland.
Ashton, chosen 29th overall in the 2009 draft, was third on the Pats in scoring with 27 points (16 goals) in 29 games. His 27 points will slot him in second on the Americans.
Ashton will join the Team Canada World Junior Championship Selection Camp this weekend.
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired center Levi Nelson from the Boston Bruins in exchange for left wing Juraj Simek, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Nelson will be assigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
Nelson, 6-foot-0, 192 pounds, has appeared in 14 games with the AHLâ€™s Providence Bruins this season, recording four goals and seven points with a plus-3 rating. His four goals rank fourth among all Bruins skaters, while his 19 penalty minutes rank sixth.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Nelson has played in 118 career AHL games, all with Providence, notching 14 goals and 27 points. His best season came in 2009-10 when he registered AHL career-highs with eight goals, five assists and 13 points in 44 games. He has also recorded two goals and three points in nine career Calder Cup Playoff games. In addition, Nelson has appeared in eight career ECHL games with the Reading Royals, recording two goals, three points and 28 penalty minutes.
Prior to his first full professional season, Nelson excelled at the junior level during four seasons with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. In 198 career games with the Broncos he amassed 65 goals, 152 points and 340 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 22 WHL playoff games, notching 11 goals and 22 points. He ranked seventh among all WHL skaters during the 2007-08 playoffs with 15 points in 12 games.
Nelson was originally selected by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round, 158th overall, at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The Scouting Report is reporting Lightning prospect and Belleville leading scorer Richard Panik has been traded by the Bulls to the OHL's Guelph Storm. In return, Belleville will receive Carter Sandlak and a flip of 2nd round picks.
Panik has 14 goals and 31 points in 27 games this season, which will put him third on the Storm's stat leader sheet, one behind its leaders. Guelph sits in last in the strong Midwest Division at 10-11-3-1 for 24 points, three points behind Erie and London for third. Belleville had 18 points at the time of the trade.
Bob McKenzie of TSN is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning has claimed prospect left winger Mattias Ritola off of waivers from the Detroit Red Wings. The 5'11" and 205 lb winger was a 2005 4th round pick of the Red Wings and has scored 41 goals and added 65 assists in 211 games for the AHL's Grand Rapid Griffins, and has one assist in 7 games for Detroit.
In other news, the Norfolk Admirals cut prospect Mitch Fadden from their training camp on Monday, reassigning the forward to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Fadden, slowed by a shoulder injury sustained during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in September, has yet to show the progress he made as a rookie in the last half of the 2009-10 season.
(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired right wing Alex Berry and forward Stefano Giliati from the Toronto Maple Leafs today in exchange for defenseman Matt Lashoff, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Berry, 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, played in 55 games with the American Hockey Leagueâ€™s Toronto Marlies last season, recording three goals and seven points. His 97 penalty minutes ranked sixth among all Marlies skaters. Berry has played in 63 career AHL games during the previous two seasons.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Cedrick Desjardins from the Montreal Canadiens today in exchange for goaltender Karri Ramo, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
"We are happy to be able to add Cedrick to the Lightning today," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "With his American Hockey League experience, he will provide excellent goaltending depth for the organization, allowing us to be patient while Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus further mature and develop."
Desjardins, 6-foot, 194-pounds, has played in 90 career AHL games, recording a 49-27-5 record, 2.34 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He has played all his AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, including career-highs last season for games played with 45, wins with 29, minutes with 2,576, shutouts with six, goals-against average with 2.00 and tied his best for save percentage with .919.
Last season he led the AHL in goals-against average, ranked second in shutouts, fourth in wins and was tied for sixth in save percentage. His success earned him an appearance in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic, in which he was named top goaltender during the skills competition, as well as landed him on the 2010 AHL Second All-Star Team following the season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired winger Simon Gagne from the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Matt Walker and a 4th round draft pick. Gagne waived his No Trade Clause to join the Lightning from the cap-strapped Flyers.
â€œIn adding Simon to the Lightning today, we acquire a very talented player that will play along side our top forwards,â€ said Lightning GM Steve Yzerman upon making the announcement. â€œWith his combination of speed and skill we are excited to have him with us and grateful he was willing to waive his no movement clause. This trade not only makes us a better team in the short-term, it helps create long-term flexibility for us, which all along has been one of our top priorities.â€
â€œIâ€™m very excited right now,â€ Gagne said in a team release. â€œIâ€™m looking at this opportunity as a new challenge and a new start. Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no move clause for. I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and Coach Boucher. Iâ€™m really looking forward to playing with guys like Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. Iâ€™m excited to be a member of the Lightning and Iâ€™m looking forward to starting next season in Tampa Bay.â€
In the past two months, Yzerman has dumped a $5.7M cap hit over the next three years on Philadelphia, while adding a 2012 second rounder (for Meszaros) and a much-coveted top-6 forward.
If Gagne can stay healthy - a big if - the Lightning's top-6 forwards are as good or better than most teams' in the league. Yzerman will no doubt spend the remainder of the offseason plugging in affordable holes in the bottom-6 and at the back of the defense.
Also, the chances of Brett Connolly or Carter Ashton being rushed and getting a top-6 job just went from mediocre to very low. Ashton has the ability to excel as a third line forward, but with Dana Tyrell and James Wright perfect for that role, along with Johan Harju, it hardly seems necessary. Teddy Purcell and recently signed Niklas Persson also are third line possibilities. Ashton can return to Regina if he fails to make the Lightning. He cannot play in the AHL.
TSN is reporting that Dan Ellis has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, just two days after being acquired by the Canadiens from Nashville, for a contract is worth $1.5 million per year.
The Habs acquired the 30-year-old Ellis on Tuesday (along with forward Dustin Boyd and future considerations), sending Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to the Nashville Predators.
Ellis had a .909 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average in 31 games last season with the Preds. For Ellis, he will reunite with former Iowa Stars teammate and friend Mike Smith as the apparent goaltending tandem for the Bolts next season.
Meszaros, 24, had six goals and 11 assists in 81 games with the Lightning last season.
This trade just ahead of the today's opening of free agency clears a significant long-term contract off the books for new GM Steve Yzerman is his reshaping of the Lightning roster. More details to follow.