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Tampa Bay Lightning signs defenseman Mattias Ohlund to $26 million deal (updated)

All you need to know about how the Tampa Bay Lightning feels about signing free agent defenseman Mattias Ohlund is the response from owner Oren Koules.

"It's done. Yahoo," was his text message.

The contract is seven years at an average of $3.75 million per season for a total of $26.25 million.

This is a very good signing for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only does Mattias Ohlund, formerly of the Canucks, play the gritty, tough game Tampa Bay lacks, he will be a mentor to draft choice and fellow Swede Victor Hedman.

Ohlund, 6 feet 2, 227 pounds,  had six goals and 19 assists in 82 games for Vancouver last season. He also had a career-high 105 penalty minutes and a career-high three fights. Granted, Ohlund's contract is a long one for a 32-year-old, but the contract is undoubtedly front-loaded. The full details are to come.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent defenseman Mattias Ohlund to a multi-year contract today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.  Ohlund will be looked upon to solidify and lead the Lightning’s young, developing defensive corps. 
“We are thrilled Mattias elected to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning today,” said Lawton upon making the announcement. “With so many options in front of him, having him elect to play in Tampa demonstrates the faith he has in our team’s strategy and vision for success, which should be exciting for our fans. This signing accomplished two primary goals for us. First, we have added the top-two defenseman we coveted to lead our blue line and second, we have found a leader and a mentor for Victor Hedman as he prepares to play in the NHL this fall.” 
Ohlund, 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, has skated in 770 career NHL games, all with Vancouver.  He has amassed 93 career goals and 325 points with 36 power play goals and 19 game-winning goals.  Ohlund is the Canucks’ all-time leader in goals by a defenseman and led the team in ice time during the 2006-07 (24:47) and 2007-08 (23:46) seasons.  He was named to the NHL All-Star game in 1998-99 and the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1997-98.  Ohlund was also recognized by his team, earning the Canucks’ Most Outstanding Defenseman award in 2005-06 and 1999-00.
A native of Pitea, Sweden, Ohlund has played in 52 career playoff games, recording nine goals and 28 points.  He is tied for 11th overall on the Vancouver all-time playoff points list.
Ohlund, 32, played in all 82 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season, recording six goals and 25 points.  He ranked third on the team in points among defensemen and second in plus/minus with a plus-14 rating.  Ohlund also led the team in hits with 152, was third overall in average ice time with 21:34 per game and was fourth in hits with 109.  He also played in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording a goal and three points.
A Swedish national, Ohlund has represented his country in three separate Olympic Games.  He won the Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and also participated in 2002 and 1998.  Ohlund also played in the 2001 (Bronze), 1998 (Gold) and 1997 (Silver) World Championships, the 2004 World Cup, as well as the 1996 (Silver), 1995 (Bronze) and 1994 (Silver) World Junior Championships.

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


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