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Lightning stars join Olympic camp rosters

Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis were among the 47 players invited to Canada’s Olympic orientation camp roster.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis were among the 47 players invited to Canada’s Olympic orientation camp roster.

Lightning star forwards Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis were among the 47 players invited to Canada’s Olympic orientation camp roster, Team Canada announced Monday.

Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman is the executive director of Team Canada. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will coach the Canadians in the Olympics, Feb.  12-24 in Sochi, Russia.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was named to Sweden’s orientation camp roster in preparations for the Olympic tournament. And Finland named Lightning defenseman Sami Salo and newly acquired forward Valtteri Filppula to its list of invitees.

No Lightning players were named to the U.S. roster.


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Lightning's 2013-14 preseason schedule

Steven Stamkos and the Lightning open the exhibition season Sept. 18 against the Blues in Orlando.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos and the Lightning open the exhibition season Sept. 18 against the Blues in Orlando.

Here is the Lightning's 2013-14 preseason schedule. All times are eastern and subject to change. Ticket availability will be announced at a later date:

Sept. 18: vs. Blues at Amway Center, Orlando, 7 p.m.

Sept 19: vs. Predators, Tampa Bay Times Forum, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20: at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

Sept. 21: vs. Panthers, Tampa Bay Times Forum, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24: at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Sept. 26: vs. Panthers at Germain Arena, Estero, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28: at Florida, 7 p.m.

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Lightning signs No. 3 overall pick Jonathan Drouin

The Lightning signed No. 3 overall pick Jonathan Drouin to a three-year, entry-level deal.

FInancial terms were not disclosed but the maximum salary and signing bonuses for an enrty-level contract allowed under the collective bargaining agreement is $925,000. He will make $70,000 if he plays in the minors. He can also collect performance bonuses of up to $2.3 million in the NHL, according to capgeek.com, making his potential salary cap hit $3.225 million.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed the third overall selection of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft,
Jonathan Drouin, to a three-year, entry level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. …

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Lightning signs free agent C Valtteri Filppula as No. 2 center

The Lightning believes it found its No. 2 center as it signed free agent Valtteri Filppula on the first day teams could sign players.

The deal is believed to be five years, $25 million.

Signing a No. 2 center became a priority for Tampa Bay after it spent $32.667 million to buy out Vinny Lecavalier. Filppula, though, is coming off a poor season with the Red Wings in which he had nine goals, 17 points in 41 games. That after a 2011-12 season in which he had 23 goals, 66 points in 81 games.

Filppula, 29, missed seven games with a sprained shoulder playing in his native Finland during the lockout. He also battled some knee pain. That said, Detroit coach Mike Babcock was critical of Filppula in mid season, saying "he's got to play better."

Still, Yzerman knows Filppula from his time in Detroit, and Filppula can also play wing. That said, a $5 million per year investment is significant for a player with a lot to prove. Interestingly, Filppula got more money than Lecavalier did from the Flyers (five years, $22.5 million).

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Lightning signs RW Geoff Walker for organizational depth

The Lightning signed right wing Geoff Walker to a one-year, two-way deal. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, who had five goals, 20 points and 55 penalty minutes last season for AHL Lake Erie, provides good organizational depth for AHL Syracuse.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Geoff Walker to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Walker, 25, skated in 51 games last season with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, collecting five goals and 20 points to go along with 55 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward ranked 11th on the Monsters in assists with 15.

The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native has skated in 226 career AHL games with the Manchester Monarchs, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Monsters, recording 39 goals and 108 points to go along with 326 penalty minutes. Walker set career highs for goals (18), assists (26), points (44) and penalty minutes (114) during the 2011-12 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s also appeared in 24 career Calder Cup playoff games, registering two goals and nine points.

Walker originally went undrafted.

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Steve Yzerman Q & A: The GM says finding a No. 2 center is a priority but will 'proceed very cautiously' in free agency

Ahead of free agency, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman talked about how his main priority is finding a No. 2 center to replace Vinny Lecavalier, how improving the blue line might be more a "team" concept than one of adding players, how it is time for minor league talent to get a chance at the NHL level and how he expects, despite rumors to the contrary, to start the the 2013-14 season with Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback in net. …

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Lightning re-signs G Cedrick Desjardins, D Matt Taormina

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and defenseman Matt Taormina to one-year, two-way contracts.

Here is the announcement from the team: …

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Former Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier headed to the Flyers

DIRK SHADD | Times

Former Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier, whose 14-season career with Tampa Bay ended with a $32.667 million buyout that is the richest in NHL history, apparently has agreed to terms with the Flyers on a five-year, $22.5 million deal.

He also has a no move clause.

There was no confirmation from the Flyers or Lecavalier's camp, but the deal was first reported by Darren Dreger of Canada's TSN Network.

"Very excited," Philadelphia's Claude Giroux told ESPN.com. "He's going to bring a lot to our team."

Lecavalier, 33, has spent the past few days meeting and talking with suitors to talk about his future. Potential landing places included the Stars, Flames, Maple Leafs, Canadiens and Red Wings, among others.

The Flyers also are an interesting choice given the team's history with the Lightning. In fact, it can be argued the Flyers are Tampa Bay's biggest rival. The teams have met twice in the playoffs and in November 2011, the teams played the famous stall game in which the Flyers, in apparent protest of the Lightning's 1-3-1 defensive scheme, refused at times to skate the puck out of their own end. …

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Lightning acquires D Drew Olson for future considerations

In a move to help build organizational depth, the Lightning on Tuesday acquired defenseman Drew Olson from the Blue jackets for future considerations. Olson played the past four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He also played five games for AHL Peoria with one assist.

Here is the announcement from the team: …

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Lightning re-signs PC Labrie for one year

Right wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie signed a one-year, one way deal. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on Friday. Financial terms were not immediately available.

Labrie, 26, had two goals and three points in 19 games last season for the Lightning. He also had 11 goals, 18 points in 39 games for AHL Syracuse.

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Ben Pouliot cut loose as Lightning sends out qualifying offers

The Lightning on Monday sent out qualifying offers to its potential restricted free agenst in order to keep their negotiating rights. The bigger news was who did not get an offer as wing Ben Pouliot was cut loose. He will be an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

Pouliot, 26, had eight goals and 20 points in 34 games last season. He made $1.8 million. But Pouliot has arbitration rights. If he was qualified and opted for arbitration, the Lightning, under the new collective bargaining agreement, could not walk away from an award of less than $3.5 million. To much of a risk for the team.

The Lightning qualified AHL Syracuse forwards J.T. Brown and Dan Sexton and defenseman Mark Barberio.

It did not qualify Syracuse defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and ECHL Florida goaltender Pat Nagle and left wing Alex Hutchings. They also will be unrestricted free agents.

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