Lightning re-sign Holmqvist
The Lightning on Saturday re-signed goaltender Johan Holmqvist to a one-year contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced in a press release.
Holmqvist, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound native of Tolfta, Sweden, played in 48 games with the Lightning in 2006-07. He posted a 27-15-3 record and led the team with a 2.85 goals-against average, and his 27 wins ranked fourth in franchise history for wins by a goaltender in a season. He also ranked fifth in the league in shootout save percentage as he stopped 29 of 33 shots and recorded a 6-1 record. Holmqvist established career highs in games played, wins and goals-against average and earned his first NHL shutout January 1 at Carolina with a 31-save performance. He also recorded two five-game winning streaks during the season.
"As we said at the end of the season, Johan Holmqvist is one piece of the puzzle for us in net, and it was one of our top priorities this off-season to get him re-signed at a number that made sense for us," Feaster said in the release. "By signing a one-year deal, Johan has demonstrated that he intends to build on last year's performance and firmly establish himself - once and for all - as a legitimate No. 1 goalie in the NHL. Holmer recognizes that there is still work to be done and a great deal of unfinished business, both for himself and for the team. We are excited to welcome Johan back for bigger and better things as we embark on our journey together."
After going 3-1-1 in Tampa Bay’s final five games and posting a 17-6-3 record after January 7, Holmqvist was named as the Lightning’s starter in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He played in six playoff games and posted a 2.92 goals-against average. He made 30-or-more saves in three games during the post-season, including 34 saves in Games 2 and 4.
Holmqvist, 29, started seven games for his native country at the 2006 World Championships in Riga, Latvia. He posted a 5-2 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage en route to winning the Gold Medal and being named top goaltender at the tournament. He spent the 2005-06 season with Brynas IF Gavle of the Swedish Elite League and led the league in goals-against average with 1.95. He also ranked second in save percentage at .928 and was tied for sixth in shutouts with three. The former Swedish Junior of the Year (1997-98) was selected to the 2006 Swedish All-Star team.
Prior to returning to Europe Holmqvist played two seasons (2002-03, 2003-04) with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League and posted a 23-27-4 record with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. Before making his North American debut in 2000-01 he led Brynas to the 1998-99 Swedish Elite League Championship.
He played in four NHL games between 2000-01 and 2002-03 with the New York Rangers, posting a 4.32 GAA and a .868 SV%. He was a seventh-round pick, 175th overall, by the Rangers at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
During the 2002-03 season the Minnesota Wild acquired his rights and assigned him to the Aeros where he backstopped them on their way to the 2003 Calder Cup Championship and was awarded the Jack Butterfield Trophy as AHL Playoff Most Valuable Player. During that post season he appeared in 23 games and recorded a 15-8 record with a 2.00 GAA and a .928 SV%. He appeared in eight games with Houston during the regular season with a 2.88 GAA and a .900 SV%. He began the season with the Hartford Wolf Pack and appeared in 35 contests with a 14-12-5 record. Holmqvist has played in 193 AHL games in his career with an 87-69-23 record.