The Tampa Lightning have retained the rights to five pending restricted free agents by issuing qualifying offers to forwards Johan Harju, Ted Purcell, and Steven Stamkos, along with defenseman Scott Jackson and goaltender Riku Helenius.
Pending restricted free agents that did not receive a qualifying offer include forwards Alex Berry, Stefano Giliati, Levi Nelson, Paul Szczechura, defensemen Mike Lundin, Vladimir Mihalik, Kevin Quick, and Matt Smaby. Seven of these eight players will be unrestricted free agents on July 1, with defenseman Kevin Quick having signed an AHL contract with the Norfolk Admirals.
Missing from the list is defensemen Bruno Gervais, acquired this past weekend from the Islanders, who may or may not be a pending restricted free agent, as his salary and number of NHL games may qualify him for Group VI unrestricted free agency on July 1. Also missing from the list goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who was thought to be a pending restricted free agent, but might have some other status. BoltProspects is attempting to confirm Gervais' and Desjardins' pending free agent status with the organization.
UPDATE: The Lightning have confirmed that defenseman Bruno Gervais was tendered a qualifying offer along with the other 5 players, and that goaltender Cedrick Desjardins is indeed a pending unrestricted free agent.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed center Blair Jones to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Jones, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, played in 18 games with the Lightning last season, recording a goal and three points. He also averaged 8:00 per game in ice time during the regular season. He matched career highs for goals, assists and points. Jones also played in 56 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, recording 24 goals and 55 points with a plus-17 rating. He ranked second on the team for goals, points and plus/minus.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Eric Brewer to a four-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
"We are very pleased to get Eric re-signed today," Yzerman said. "He was an important part of our team after being acquired at last year's deadline and he played a key role in the playoffs both on and off the ice."
â€œIâ€™m happy to be a part of the Lightning going forward,â€ Brewer said. â€œThe organization is clearly moving in the right direction and Iâ€™m proud to be a part of it.â€
Brewer, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, spent the majority of last season with the St. Louis Blues before skating in 22 games with Tampa Bay, where he notched a goal and an assist. He also led the Lightning in average ice time per game with 21:34. Overall in 2010-11, Brewer recorded a career-high nine goals and also amassed 81 penalty minutes, good for the second-highest total of his career. He helped lead the Bolts to the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons, where he set a career-high with three points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and ranked third among all postseason skaters with 51 blocked shots.
Angelidis had 20 goals and 38 points last season for AHL Norfolk, his first with the organization since signing as a free agent last August. The former 53-goal scorer for Owen Sound of the OHL also added 169 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating for the Admirals.
Like last season, Angelidis, 25, is expected to provide a gritty, veteran presence in Norfolk, as well as organizational depth at forward if needed.
The Lightning announced the signing late Wednesday, making it official.
The Bolts signed Angelidis' Norfolk teammate, Mike Vernace, earlier this week. Both were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents July 1.
Gregg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News, one of the WHL and junior hockeyâ€™s most respected writers, reports Lightning 2010 first round draft pick Brett Connolly has been signed by the Bolts to a standard three-year entry level contract.
The Lightning have not announced the signing, and may not until July, according to Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) of the St. Pete Times.
Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssontrib) of the Tampa Tribune tweeted that Connolly confirmed he has agreed to a deal.
Connolly, a native of Prince George, B.C. and captain of the WHLâ€™s Prince George Cougars, is currently in Toronto involved in an intense training program in preparation for next season.
He was drafted sixth overall by the Lightning last summer, the first draft pick of the Jeff Vinik-Steve Yzerman era in Tampa Bay. The pick was scrutinized because Connolly had missed most of the previous season due to two hip injuries.
The winger played in 59 games this year for the Cougars, missing time only due to his participation for Canada at the World Junior championships, a minor knee injury, and a late shoulder separation sustained in the playoffs.
Al Murray, former head scout for Hockey Canada and current director of amateur scouting for the Lightning, told NHL.com last week the hip injuries were ancient history.
After Connollyâ€™s 2010-2011 season was finished Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said the 46-goal scorer needed to get stronger to help prevent injuries.
Connolly is in Toronto to work on just that.
"He'll stay [in Toronto] for the summer; he's made a significant commitment to put himself in every position to try and make the [Lightning] and to try and do as well as he can, so with added strength and confidence, we're anxious to see what he looks like in the fall training camp, but there will be no urgency to push Brett into a roster spot," Murray told NHL.com.
Because Connolly won't be 20 until May 2012, his options are to play for the Lightning or return to the WHL in the fall. He cannot play in the American Hockey League.
Connolly, who had 73 points in his 59 games last season, retained his spot as the Lightningâ€™s top prospect in our recently released 2010-2011 Final Rankings.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is reporting the Lightning are among 5 teams pursuing the services of AIK netminder Viktor Fasth. Fasth, 28, is currently starring for Team Sweden in the ongoing World Championships. A hybrid style netminder, Fasth posted a 2.26 GAA with 2 shutouts and a .925 save percentage in 42 appearances for his Elitserien side this season. According to the story, which was first published on Monday, no team has made a concrete offer to Fasth as of yet, but the belief is that he is seeking to play at the NHL level next season and, if assigned to the AHL, he may return to Sweden.
The website for Elitserien club Lulea is reporting that they have signed Lightning overage prospect forward Johan Harju to a 1-year deal. Harju was the Norfolk Admirals' lone representative in the AHL All-Star Game and appeared in 10 games for the Lightning this season, totaling 1 goal and 3 points.
The Norfolk Admirals have signed goaltender Pat Nagle to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO), Admirals General Manager Julien BriseBois announced today. In addition, the Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Admirals, have reassigned goaltender Jaroslav Janus (YAHR-oh-slahv YAHN-ihs) from the Admirals to the ECHLâ€™s Florida Everblades, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Nagle, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning last week. He played in 37 games with the Ferris State (Mich.) Bulldogs this season, posting an 18-14-5 record with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He ranked fifth in NCAA Division-1 in GAA, tied for ninth for shutouts with three and tied for 10th in save percentage. Nagle also set school records for GAA and was tied for second in save percentage.
Damian Crisdotero is reporting that forward Johan Harju is downplaying remarks that were reported in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet recently quoting Harju as being unhappy with his current situation in the Lightning organization. The article claimed Harju was contemplating returning to Europe next season with his path to the NHL seemingly blocked by the strong performance of the club's forwards in Tampa Bay.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t really true,â€ Harju said. â€œA couple of guys from my hometown in Sweden (were) working for a newspaper and I talked to them and they understood me wrong, so that was the big thing and it was in the newspaper. I have a fun time here and love to play here.â€
Harju has a 1 goal and 2 points in 7 NHL games this season and 18 goals and 25 points in 40 games for Norfolk of the AHL. The 24 year old recently represented the Admirals in the AHL All-Star Game, posting an assist in that game. He was recalled recently with the injuries to Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson and will likely be in the lineup tonight against Carolina.
Pierre Lebrun of ESPN is reporting the Lightning have signed defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to a one-year deal. Bergeron, a power play specialist, had 13 goals and 34 points in 60 games a season ago with the Montreal Canadiens. The defenseman's career season came in 2006-2007 when he had 14 goals and 46 points in 78 games split between the Oilers and Islanders.
Mike Corcoran is also reporting that Bergeron will spend the next two weeks in Norfolk while the Lightning gauge whether to promote him to the big club.