Kukla's Korner Hockey
Ryan Craig of the Tampa Bay Lightning was awarded one-year, $850,000 contract by an arbitrator after his hearing on Friday.
Craig was seeking a one-year, $1.2 million contract while the Lightning were asking the arbitrator for a one-year, $650,000 deal.
‘‘We appreciate the fact that the Arbitrator weighed all the evidence presented and awarded what we believe is a very reasonable contract for this player,’’ said Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. ‘‘We had consistently discussed a negotiated arrangement with Ryan that always had us starting at the $750,000 mark and we believe the award in this case is consistent with our thinking. The good news is that Ryan will now be under contract for the 2007-08 season and the amount of the award will not force our hand in terms of having to move the player.’‘
from the St. Peterburg Times,
What you see likely is what you’ll get from the Lightning heading into training camp.
General manager Jay Feaster said Wednesday that barring trades, the team will try filling the last of its top six defensive positions from within the organization.
With forwards and goaltenders already set, that means Tampa Bay’s free-agent shopping is on hold, including any negotiations with defensemen Nolan Pratt and Doug Janik, mainstays last season, and Jassen Cullimore, about whom the team recently inquired.
from the St. Peterburg Times,
“It’s an absolutely perfect fit,” agent Roland Thompson said of his free agent client. “He’d like to come back to Tampa, and we’ve had some discussions. If the opportunity came, it would be his first choice.”
The Cullimore inquiry is part of what general manager Jay Feaster said is an ongoing organizational debate about how to fill out the roster….
Cullimore signed with the Blackhawks after helping Tampa Bay win the ‘04 Cup and last month was traded to the Canadiens, who bought out the last season of his contract.
Cullimore will get $1.25-million from Montreal two-thirds of his $1.9-million salary. He likely would ask his new team to make up the $650,000 difference.
But with $42.34-million of a $44-million payroll budget already committed and forward Ryan Craig still unsigned, Feaster probably doesn’t want to pay much more than the $475,000 league minimum.
from Lightning Strikes,
Coach John Tortorella wished Eric Perrin well but also said not to let the door hit him on the way out.
“He can kiss my (butt),’’ Tortorella said.
Perrin, who in 2004 at age 29 got his first NHL opportunity with the Lightning, which got a recommendation from Perrin’s college buddy Marty St. Louis, signed with the Thrashers as a free agent for two years, $1.5-million. That, apparently, was just $150,000 more than the contract offered by Tampa Bay, which also offered a three-year deal worth $1.575-million.
“This organization spent a lot of time with this guy, a lot of time,’’ Tortorella said. “Eric Perrin did some really good things for us, and the ice time he got, he deserved, but every year it’s nothing but a pain to sign him.’‘
from Lightning Strikes at the St. Peterburg Times,
Taylor said he will wait until then to give his hip every chance to improve, but admitted, “All signs are showing that I need the surgery. It’s getting worse as it goes along. I’m obviously disappointed I can’t get back to where I want to be.’‘
The surgery is major. It involves shaving and smoothing the top of Taylor’s right femur and inserting it into a new metal socket to ease movement. The catch: at least a six-month recovery. That means if Taylor has surgery in August, he won’t be back until at least February, or he might not come back at all.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent Brad Lukowich to a three-year contract.
“Brad Lukowich is a warrior,” Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. “He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and he does whatever it takes to win. He knows our system, he knows our core personnel, he knows how we do things in Tampa and what we expect from our players, and he is a winner. He is also a very good teammate and a popular player in the locker room. He has personality and spirit and old-school flair about him. We like everything about him and we are thrilled to welcome him back to our hockey team.”
TSN just reporting that Michel Ouellet signed by Tampa Bay Lightning, 2 years. More to come.
Update 6:17pm ET:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent right wing Michel Ouellet to a two-year deal.
Ouellet, 25, appeared in 73 games for Pittsburgh in 2006-07, recording 19 goals, 48 points and 30 penalty minutes in only his second NHL season. The 6-foot, 201-pound native of Rimouski, Quebec ranked fourth on the Penguins with 11 power-play goals and averaged 13:19 in ice time.
“Michel Ouellet is a goal scorer and has been throughout every level of his career,” GM Feaster said.
from the Bolts Report,
Free agency kicks off around the NHL on Sunday and while the Lightning are not expected to be a major player, they could go fishing into the free agent pool in search of a forward and/or defenseman.
read on... Tampa plans to reach around $44M in salaries and they have $38M on the books now…
from the Tampa Bay Tribune,
But the real work is going to come in improving the goaltending. The same questions that surrounded the team at the end of the season remain today. And, really, is there anyway to really improve the position right now? Can you look at the free-agent crop that has names such as Brian Boucher, Mathieu Garon, Ed Belfour, Kevin Weekes, Robert Esche or Curtis Joseph?
About the only name that could be enticing is Dominik Hasek, assuming he doesn’t re-sign with Detroit before free agency begins Sunday.
The goaltending has to be better for this team to be better. It could come from within, as Holmqvist showed signs last season, or Denis could bounce back and show the consistency the team needs. And Ramo is a highly touted, but unproven, 21-year-old.
Either way, there is no easy solution to turning the team into a legitimate contender this season.
From AP via the Miami Herald,
An equipment manager for the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning thinks he lost his NHL championship ring in South Carolina while changing a flat tire along Interstate 95.
Vincent Humphries put the ring in his pocket so he wouldn’t scratch it, but realized about a mile down the road that the ring was gone.
“I’m sick,” said Humphries, who lost the diamond-studded ring Tuesday night on his way to Florida from Myrtle Beach. “It’s the only memento I have in my life to pass on.”
Humphries searched the area where he thought he changed the flat for about four hours with a small flashlight, but had no luck.
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