Unhappy Fritz traded for defensive depth
The Lightning accommodated minor-league tough guy Mitch Fritz, who didn't think he was getting a sufficient chance to prove himself, by trading him to the Rangers for defenseman Bryce Lampman, who likely will provide depth at AHL Norfolk.
Lampman, 24, has been a member of the Rangers organization the past five seasons and last season appeared in 60 games with AHL Hartford, recording six goals, 19 assists and 62 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 193-pound native of Rochester , Minn., has appeared in 258 career games with Hartford , recording 19 goals, 76 points and 234 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 10 NHL games with the Rangers, recording no points and two penalty minutes.
Said Lightning GM Jay Feaster: "When we tendered the qualifying offer to Mitch Fritz last month he phoned me to express his concern that we hadn't given him a shot at the NHL since we had signed him as a Free Agent and last year in Springfield his playing time dropped noticeably under Steve Stirling. He was frustrated and simply wanted a chance to play. As I told him when we spoke, we tendered the QO because he is an organizational asset and we were not prepared to release him without some form of compensation. We simply don't have enough depth to allow ourselves that luxury. At the same time, we feel we have improved our 'team toughness' in the minors and we expect Brandon Elliott to get significant playing time in Norfolk this season as well. We felt the time was right to capitalize on our asset.
"In Bryce Lampman we are obtaining a mobile, very good skating, puck-moving defenseman with good vision who sees the ice well, makes a very good first pass and who possesses excellent hockey sense. He is also a player who can be used in all special teams situations. For the past three or four seasons now our pro scouts have felt that he was on the verge of playing regularly in the NHL. Based on our discussions with the Rangers it was pretty much an identical situation for them with Lampman as to what we had with Mitch. Bryce had been considering playing in Europe this upcoming season and he, too, wanted a chance to play. He was tendered a two-way QO, just like Fritz, and he has signed that contract. He will come to training camp in September and have a chance to battle it out with probably five or six other players for the sixth and seventh spots on our blue line. Based on everything we have seen from him in the past, he is knocking on the door of being an NHL regular. We are thrilled to have him in our organization and we wish Mitch Fritz nothing but success."
Drafted in the fourth round, 113 th overall by the Rangers in 2001, Lampman played one season for the University of Nebraska-Omaha (2001-02) and half a season for WHL Kamploops before turning pro in 2002. He played three season of junior hockey for the Rochester Mustangs and Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League, appearing in 129 games. He represented the US at the 2002 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic , recording eight penalty minutes in seven games.
Fritz, 26, a left wing, signed with the Lightning as a free agent in 2004 and appeared in 177 games for AHL Springfield the past three seasons, recording nine goals, 16 points and 535 penalty minutes.