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Artyukhin, Lightning expect agreement Friday

Both the Lightning and the agent for Russian freight train Evgeny Artyukhin said Thursday night they expect an agreement on Artyukhin's contract will be reached on Friday.

"I have to say I am very optimistic that things will get resolved (Friday),'' agent Mark Gandler said. And Tampa Bay spokesman Bill Wickett said he expects "an agreement in principle."

But because of a collective bargaining agreement rule, Artyukhin, 25, a 6-5, 254-pound wing who has played the past two seasons in Russia, cannot be signed until July 1. Rule 50.8(d) states a restricted free agent such as Artyukhin, not under contract in a previous season, cannot sign until July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

It is believed the deal will be for two years. Artyukhin has asked for $1-million a season. It was unclear if the demands were met.

Artyukhin was the 94th overall draft pick in 2001. His only season with Tampa Bay was 2005-06. He has spent the past two seasons playing in his homeland while negotiations stalled. We'll have more on this in Friday's paper.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


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