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Tampa Bay Lightning signs free agent defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year contract

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced it has signed free-agent defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year, one-way deal for $1 million. Gilroy, 26, at 6 feet 1 201 pounds, had three goals, 11 points and 14 penalty minutes in 58 games last season for the Rangers.

The pick-up gives Tampa Bay eight defensemen on one-way contracts -- Gilroy, Pavel Kubina, Victor Hedman, Brett Clark, Mattias Ohlund, Bruno Gervais, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Eric Brewer. GM Steve Yzerman has stated Tampa Bay will go with seven defensemen next season, so he's either setting up some competition and flexibility or giving himself trade options. Or maybe he changed his mind and will go with eight.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Gilroy, 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, played in 58 games with the New York Rangers last season, recording three goals and 11 points with one game-winning goal.  He also had a career-best plus-5 rating in just his second NHL season.  Gilroy also made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in 2011, recording his first career NHL playoff goal in his first game, April 13 against Washington.

A native of North Bellmore, New York, Gilroy has played in 127 career NHL games with the Rangers, recording four goals and 15 points.  In 2009-10, his rookie season, he notched career highs with four goals and 11 assists in 69 games.  That season he tied for sixth in the NHL among rookie defensemen in goals, seventh in blocked shots (77) and ninth in points.

Gilroy played four seasons with the Boston University Terriers from 2005-09.  He captured the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in collegiate hockey, in 2009.  It made Gilroy just the second player in Boston University history to be awarded the Hobey Baker (Chris Drury).  He also led the Terriers to a NCAA National Championship that season and was named a First-Team All-American.  He was also named First-Team All-American in 2007-08 and Second-Team All-American in 2006-07.

The 26-year-old represented the United States in the 2010 World Championships in Germany, recording three goals and an assist.  He tied for first in scoring among all USA defensemen in six games.

Gilroy signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent on April 17, 2009.

[Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 12:15am]


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