Tampa Bay Lightning does not give a qualifying offer to goaltender Mike McKenna
Mike McKenna was one of last season's feel-good stories, but the Tampa Bay Lightning decided Monday the goaltender was not in the team's long-term plans and did not give him a qualifying offer, meaning he is a free agent. Tampa Bay also did not qualify Justin Keller, an eighth-round pick from the 2004 draft.
Player who did receive qualifying offers (of 10 percent more than last seasons salary, which insures the Lightning retains negotiating rights) were defensemen Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby, Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin; forwards Martins Karsums, Blair Jones, Radek Smolenak and Lauri Tukonen; and goaltender Karri Ramo.
Smolenak and Ramo both have signed and will play next season in Russia. Today's mechanics just insures the Lightning retains their negotiating rights for when (or if) they want to return to North America.
Tood bad about McKenna, though, who helped Tampa Bay out in a difficult time and was an intelligent and engaging presence but who showed cracks in his game as the season wound down. For now, then, the Lightning has only Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski as signed goaltenders in the organization. That will change at free agency, of course, as the team must sign a backup for Mike Smith.