TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Libor Hajek (LEE-bohr, HIGH-ak) to a three-year, two-way entry level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Hajek, 19, skated in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this season, recording four goals and 26 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defenseman ranked second on the Blades for penalty minutes. Hajek also ranked second among all Saskatoon defensemen for assists (22) and points.
The Smrcek, Czech Republic native has appeared in 134 career WHL games, all with Saskatoon over the past two seasons, posting seven goals and 52 points to go along with 157 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23 during the 2015-16 season. Hajek was selected second overall at the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.
Hajek was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.
Libor Hajek signed a three-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday.
The defenseman, who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Lightning after they dealt Anthony DeAngelo to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick, wrapped up his second season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last weekend.
Hajek also signed an amateur tryout with Syracuse, and Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said he is expected to practice with Syracuse Wednesday.
“I saw Libor in camp in September. He's a good, young defenseman who skates well,” Groulx said of the 6-2, 202-pounder. “We’ll see how it plays out with him. We’ve got to see him in practice first, and obviously it’s a huge adjustment playing against junior and against men.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Brett Howden to a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Howden, 6-foot-3, 191 pounds, has played in 21 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League this season, recording 16 goals and 32 points along with four power-play goals. He ranks fourth on the Warriors for goals and fifth for points despite missing time due to injury. Howden’s current 1.52 points per game average would be a career high.
A native of Oakbank, Manitoba, Howden has skated in 162 career WHL games, all with Moose Jaw, with 63 goals and 143 points. He has also amassed 104 penalty minutes and 20 power-play goals. Howden played in 10 WHL playoff games last season and notched four goals and 15 points. He was named the Warriors’ Rookie of the Year for the 2014-15 season.
Howden was selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Nikita Kucherov to a three-year contract worth an average of $4.766 million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Kucherov, 23, skated in 77 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, recording 30 goals and 66 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes. He led the team for points and was second for both assists (36) and goals. Kucherov also set career highs for goals, points, power-play goals (nine) and game-winning goals (four). He ranked second on the Bolts for shots (209) and power-play goals, while also pacing the club with 19 multi-point games.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pound forward also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning last season, posting 11 goals and 19 points to go along with a plus-13 rating. Kucherov led the Bolts during the playoffs for both goals and points. He finished second for goals and sixth for points in NHL in playoff scoring. Over the past two postseasons, Kucherov has tallied 21 goals and 41 points in 43 Stanley Cup Playoff contests. Kucherov has scored more playoff goals than any player in the NHL over the previous two postseasons.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year contract worth an annual average of $1,937,500-million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Namestnikov, 23, skated in 80 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, collecting 14 goals and 35 points to go along with 45 penalty minutes. The Zhukovskiy, Russia native set career highs this past season for games played, goals, assists, points and plus/minus (plus-17). Namestnikov ranked second on the Bolts for plus/minus, was tied for fourth for goals and seventh for points. He registered his first career NHL hat trick on January 15 this past season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has appeared in 127 career NHL games, posting 23 goals and 51 points to go along with 62 penalty minutes. Namestnikov has also played in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, recording a goal and four points. He skated in 17 playoff games with the Lightning in 2016, collecting a goal and three points.
Namestnikov was originally drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 27th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Yanni Gourde to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Gourde, 24, appeared in two games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 regular season, posting an assist and two penalty minutes. Gourde made his NHL debut with the Bolts last season on December 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted an assist, his first career NHL point. The 5-foot-9, 167-pound forward also played in 65 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 14 goals and 44 points to go along with 42 penalty minutes. He ranked fourth on Syracuse for points and assists and was tied for fourth on the club for goals.
The Saint-Narcisse, Quebec native has skated in two career NHL games, all with the Lightning last season, posting an assist. Gourde has also played in 242 career AHL games over five seasons with the Crunch and Worcester Sharks, collecting 58 goals and 150 points. During the 2014-15 season, Gourde led the Crunch for goals with 29 and ranked second for points with 57.
Gourde went undrafted and originally agreed to terms with the Lightning on March 9, 2014.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Alex Killorn to a seven-year contract worth an average of $4.45 million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Killorn, 26, played in 81 games for the Lightning last season, collecting 14 goals and 40 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes. Killorn ranked tied for fourth for goals and points among Lightning skaters. Killorn also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2016, where he recorded five goals and 13 points. He ranked tied for third on the team for goals, was fifth for points and led all skaters with 42 penalty minutes. Killorn also ranked fourth on Tampa Bay for time on ice among forwards with 18:19 per contest. He netted two goals in the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins and three in the opening round against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia native has played in 272 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, amassing 53 goals and 138 points. He also has a career plus-24 rating. Killorn set career highs with 17 goals and 41 points in 2013-14. He made his NHL debut on February 10, 2013 against the New York Rangers, recording an assist in the game. Killorn has played in 47 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording 15 goals and 33 points. He ranked third on the Bolts for goals and points in helping Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2015 playoffs.
Killorn was originally selected by the Lightning in the third round, 77th overall, at the 2007 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Cory Conacher to a one-year, one-way contract worth $575,000, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Conacher, 26, has skated in 141 career NHL games with three different teams over three seasons, posting 19 goals and 58 points to go along with 84 penalty minutes. He had his most successful NHL stint with the Bolts during the 2012-13 season, recording nine goals and 24 points in 35 games. In his first six NHL games while playing for the Lightning, Conacher collected five goals and 12 points. Conacher was traded by the Lightning, along with a 2013 fourth-round draft pick, to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Ben Bishop on April 3, 2013.
The Burlington, Ontario native played in 48 games with Bern SC of the Swiss-A league during the 2015-16 season, collecting a team-best 22 goals and 52 points in his first season with the club. Conacher also registered five goals and nine points in 14 playoff games, helping Bern win the National League A title. Last season, he also played for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup and helped them capture the title while be named to the tournament’s all-star team.
The 5-foot-8, 182-pound forward has appeared in 166 career American Hockey League games, recording 67 goals and 153 points. Conacher set career highs during the 2011-12 AHL season, posting 39 goals and 80 points in 75 games with the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s top affiliate. That season, Conacher led the Admirals to a Calder Cup Championship and was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s regular season MVP.
Conacher went undrafted and originally signed as a free agent with the Bolts on March 3, 2012.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mike Halmo to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Halmo, 25, played in 74 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League last season, collecting 22 goals and 41 points to go along with 117 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the Sound Tigers for goals and was third for points. Halmo set career highs last season for games played, goals and points. The Waterloo, Ontario native has skated in 214 career AHL games, all with Bridgeport over the past five seasons, posting 56 goals and 112 points.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound forward has appeared in 20 career NHL games, all with the New York Islanders during the 2013-14 season, posting one goal and 32 penalty minutes. Halmo made his NHL debut on February 27, 2014 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and netted his first career NHL goal on April 1, 2014 against the Florida Panthers (Scott Clemmensen).
Halmo went undrafted and originally signed as a free agent with the Islanders on March 10, 2012.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Gudlevskis, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, played in 41 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season, posting a 16-12-8 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He led all Crunch goaltenders (min. 13 games) in games played, wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. Gudlevskis won a season-high five consecutive games from March 19 through March 26.
The Aizkraukle, Latvia native has played in two career NHL regular season games, notching a 2.00 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage with a 1-0-1 record. Gudlevskis has also participated in two Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. He has skated in 121 career AHL games, all with Syracuse, and posted a 59-37-12 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
Gudlevskis was drafted by the Lightning in the fifth round, 124th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in two games for Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, including a 55-save performance against Team Canada in a 2-1 quarterfinal loss.