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.
Russian website championat.ru is reporting a rumor sourced to Sport-Express that goaltender Vasily Koshechkin may possibly play next season for KHL club Mytischi. Koshechkin split last season between Togliatti and Magnitogorsk of the KHL and was reportedly an option to be signed by the Lightning this summer if ex-GM Brian Lawton had remained in Tampa Bay. Mytischi added Lightning prospect Denis Kazionov to its roster earlier this offseason and recently re-signed former Lightning draft pick Alexei Glukhov.
An accomplished scorer in the minors, Purcell has been somewhat of an inconsistent prospect in the NHL thus far, with three goals and three assists in 41 games so far this year on a stacked Kings squad. He had 16 points (4 goals) in 40 games with the Kings a season ago.