Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Keith Aulie to a one-year, one-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Aulie, 6-foot-6, 228 pounds, skated in 45 of 48 games with the Lightning in 2012-13, recording two goals and seven points while averaging 12:49 in ice time. He set career highs for games played, points and penalty minutes (60) in a season. He led all Tampa Bay skaters for hits with 91 and ranked second for penalty minutes.
A native of Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Aulie has played in 121 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has recorded four goals and 12 points with 121 penalty minutes. Aulie made his NHL debut during the 2010-11 season with Toronto and played in 40 games while scoring two goals.
Aulie, 24, has played in 110 career AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals, Toronto Marlies and the Abbotsford Heat, notching five goals and 18 points. He won the Calder Cup with Norfolk during the 2011-12 season while in the Lightning organization. Aulie played in 18 games with the Admirals during the playoffs that year, recording a goal and six points.
The blue-liner was acquired from Toronto in exchange for forward Carter Ashton on February 27, 2012. Aulie was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, 116th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Vincent Lecavalier's tenure with the club that drafted him first overall in 1998 has been a stretch of lean and occasionally tumultuous seasons interrupted by a cluster of four consecutive postseason appearances that included a Cup and, several years later, another deep playoff run. Though the Lightning's first bona fide superstar and despite widespread admiration for his efforts on and off the ice, Lecavalier has been dogged (see Exhibits A , B, C, D and E) at various junctures of his professional career by speculation that he is or should be destined for some other hockey market.
He came close.
Lecavalier was nearly traded on three known occasions: first, to Toronto in late 2001 after bristling under the tutelage of temperamental coaching newcomer John Tortorella (cooler heads prevailed), then, in 2006, Lightning GM Jay Feaster shopped Lecavalier to Vancouver for goaltender Roberto Luongo, and finally, in 2009, Canadiens and Lightning brass established parameters for a deal that was never consummated.
Knowledge of these episodes has no doubt kept the prospect of his departure from the Lightning simmering, but it's the succession of injuries and diminished production following an 11-year, $85 million extension signed in 2008 as well as the arrival and rapid emergence of new No. 1 center Steven Stamkos that have really stoked the flames of conjecture. What was once a confluence of impassioned, covetous rumor-mongering that served as a grim specter for those concerned with the state of the Lightning has become a discussion steeped in practicality for fans and pundits alike.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for April 25 is … Syracuse’s Top Gun line (AHL – USA).
Tyler Johnson is sharing the wealth.
Johnson had a hat trick and seven total points (2 GP, 4-3-7) last week as the Crunch came off a week-long break with two wins over Springfield in Massachusetts. Syracuse holds a 2-0 series lead on the Falcons entering Wednesday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.
Johnson has won our Prospect of the Week three times in the last six weeks and we’re running out of ways to say he’s good at the hockey, so we’re giving the award to his line, made up of Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Richard Panik. The line was recently named the Top Gun line, though it has also been called the PTPer (Prime Time Players via Dick Vitale). Regardless of what people are calling it, the line is on fire.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Gudas, 22, played in 22 games with the Lightning this past season, collecting two goals and five points to go along with a plus-3 rating and 38 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on March 12 at Florida and scored his first career NHL goal on March 20 at Toronto. Gudas ranked seventh in the NHL among rookies with 87 hits despite playing in only 22 games during the 2012-13 regular season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with defenseman Nikita Nesterov on a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Nesterov, 6-foot, 183 pounds, played in 35 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL this season, recording 14 penalty minutes while averaging 12:21 in average ice time. He also appeared in 19 playoff games, recording four assists as Traktor lost to Dynamo Moscow in the Continental Cup Finals. Nesterov has played in 45 career KHL games, all with Traktor, recording one assist.
A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, Nesterov has represented his country in each of the previous two seasons. He played for Russia at the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championships, recording two goals and four points in seven games. Nesterov then played in last year’s IIHF World Junior Championships, skating in seven games and registering two goals and five points.
Nesterov, 20, was selected by Tampa Bay in the fifth round, 158th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He participated in the 2012 Lightning Development Camp at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. Nesterov’s team, also made up of Vladislav Namestnikov, Slater Koekkoek and Cedric Paquette, took home the annual 3-on-3 tournament championship.
Nesterov is an undersized puck mover who plays a strong positional game. He has a high hockey IQ, which helped keep him in the KHL this year. In fact, Nesterov was used at both forward and a defense for Chelyabinsk late in the year and in the playoffs.