The Victoria Times is reporting that undrafted junior hockey graduate and Lightning Prospect camp invitee Brady Leavold has been signed by the Norfolk Admirals to a two-way AHL-ECHL contract. There has been no official announcement from the Admirals on the signing, but new Norfolk GM Mike Butters has been busy this week signing depth players Pete Zingoni, Mike McKenna, and Justin Fletcher to AHL contracts.
After going undrafted, Leavold, a Port Coquitlam, BC native, returned to the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) for a 5th junior season and exploded for a point-per-game campaign in both the regular season and the playoffs. Playing on Kelowna's top line as highly touted Dallas prospect Jamie Benn's right winger, Leavold put up 27-42-69 in 67 games and 6-2-8 in 7 playoff games. Leavold also racked up 138 PIMs. After the Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs, the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL signed Leavold to ECHL contract, finishing this season with 3 regular season ECHL games and 2 playoffs games for the Salmon Kings. The Salmon Kings retained Leavold's ECHL rights, so that if Norfolk reassigned Leavold to the ECHL, Victoria would get Leavold instead of Norfolk's ECHL affiliate in Augusta.
Norfolk Admirals GM Mike Butters was busy with the pen again today continuing to add roster depth by signing former Lightning overage defensive prospect Justin Fletcher to a standard AHL contract. Butters had signed center Pete Zingoni and goaltender Mike McKenna to standard AHL contracts on Monday. Fletcher, originally undrafted out of St. Cloud State in Minnesota, signed an ATO with the Springfield Falcons and eventually earned a one year NHL contract from then Lightning GM Jay Feaster in May 2007.
Zingoni, 27, played 66 games last season for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL notching 20 goals and 38 points to go along with 92 penalty minutes. The native of Bridgeport, CT was an 8th round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
McKenna, 25, is a two time ECHL All-Star who appeared in 41 games last season for the Portland Pirates of AHL going 24-13-1 with a 2.72 GAA, 3 shutouts, and a .908 save percentage. McKenna was a 6th round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and will compete with Lightning prospects Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius for one of two spots in Norfolk.
Jon Jordan is reporting on his blog that Steve Stamkos has signed an entry level contract for the rookie max of $850k per year along with up to $2.4 million in potential bonuses. The club has called a 5:00 PM (ET) press conference tomorrow to announce the signing from the Prospects Camp at Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, B.C.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tribune reports that Stamkos will make the base rookie max salary of $875k per year and upwards of $2.85M in bonuses.
Lindsay Kramer of the the Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have inked Syracuse Crunch center and captain Zenon Konopka to a two-year deal. Konopka has spent the last season-and-a-half in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization after being traded by the Anaheim Ducks in January 2007.
Kramer reports that Konopka turned down a lucrative two-year, two-way deal from the Jackets that would have paid him $265k in each of the next two years to play for Syracuse. The Lightning's two-year deal involves a two-way contract for the first year with $100k minor league salary, but a coveted one-way contract for the 2nd year at or just above the league minimum NHL salary of $450k. Konopka finalized his decision after Tampa head coach Barry Melrose convinced him that he would have a better chance of making an NHL squad with the Lightning than with the Blue Jackets.