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Lightning signs veteran forward Jeff Tambellini to two-way contract

The Lightning has signed veteran winger Jeff Tambellini to a one-year, two-way contract, the team announced Sunday.

The 31-year-old Tambellini has skated in 242 career NHL games but none since 2010-11. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound forward spent last season in Europe’s Swiss-A and Swedish leagues.

Tambellini has 27 goals and 63 points over six NHL seasons with the Kings, Islanders and Canucks. His most productive season came in 2010-11, when he recorded nine goals and eight assists and was plus-10 in 62 games for Vancouver.

He entered the league as the 2003 draft’s No. 27 overall pick, to the Kings.

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Brayden Point, Matthew Peca among Friday's standouts at Lightning prospect camp

BRANDON - The Lightning's development camp continued today at the Ice Sports Forum with three-on-three games. Some highlights:

Left wing Adam Erne did participate. He looked fine, despite recovering from a separated left shoulder, scoring three goals in one of his games, with one coming on an impressive slap shot.

Forward Matthew Peca led all players 12 points and eight goals. Two other big-name prospects, center Brayden Point and 2015 second-round pick Mitchell Stephens, were tied for the lead with seven assists.

Last year's first-round pick, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, and 2012 second rounder Brian Hart both had five goals.

The leading goalie was invitee Jamie Murray, who had the top save percentage (.829) and the most saves (82). Former University of Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox had the fewest saves (58) and the bottom save percentage (.690).

 

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Former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis retires from the NHL

Marty St. Louis spent parts of 13 seasons with the Lightning and helped Tampa Bay win its only Stanley Cup in 2004.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Marty St. Louis spent parts of 13 seasons with the Lightning and helped Tampa Bay win its only Stanley Cup in 2004.

Former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis has retired.

The 40-year-old winger - who was with the Lightning for parts of 13 of his 16 NHL seasons - announced his retirement Thursday afternoon after his run to the Eastern Conference final with the Rangers. He ends his NHL career with 391 goals and 1,033 points in 1,134 regular season games. 

"I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride," St. Louis said in a statement. "I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents. …

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Erik Condra signs three-year deal with Lightning

Erik Condra (22) has played the last five seasons with the Senators, racking up nine goals and 14 assists in 68 games. He's also good on the penalty kill.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

Erik Condra (22) has played the last five seasons with the Senators, racking up nine goals and 14 assists in 68 games. He's also good on the penalty kill.

The Lightning won't get an extension done with captain Steven Stamkos today, as that will likely take some time.

But Tampa Bay did made an addition during the opening day of free agency, signing wing Erik Condra to a three-year deal, which carries a $1.25 million average. With GM Steve Yzerman saying they don't plan to bring back veteran Brenden Morrow, the Lightning wanted to add one more forward, and Condra came well-recommended by their scouts.

Condra, 28, is expected to be a key bottom-six winger who can play both left and right side, and be a contributor on the penalty kill.

"We think he's a good player, a versatile player," Yzerman said. "His hockey sense is really good, a good competitor."

Condra has a connection with coach Jon Cooper, who coached the wing in Texarkana (USHL) in 2003-04. Condra was also an usher in Cooper's wedding.

With Condra's signing, Yzerman indicated the Lightning is done in free agency. Tampa Bay will have 13 forwards, and Yzerman said Condra's addition doesn't change the fact he expects Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin to get more opportunities to play next season.

"I'm counting on them to play a bigger role," Yzerman said. …

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Quiet Lightning free agency, Stamkos talks expected

Steven Stamkos likely will warrant a new deal in the eight-year, $84 million range that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got from the Blackhawks last summer.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steven Stamkos likely will warrant a new deal in the eight-year, $84 million range that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got from the Blackhawks last summer.

Update 12:21 p.m.  Though the Lightning was expecting to be quiet, it wasn't going to do nothing. And Tampa Bay has apparently expressed interest in Ottawa RW Erik Condra (per SportsNet), who played for coach Jon Cooper in Texarkana, and Russian RR Viktor Tikhonov (per Ryan Kennedy).

Tampa Bay isn't expected to bring back UFA Brenden Morrow, but if the Lightning signs either one of those two, it would have to make room on its forward roster to do so.

Also, there  have been no negotiations between Tampa Bay and RFA C Vladislasv Namestnikov yet, but he has a qualifying offer and something is expected to get done.

Developing: The NHL free agency period opens at noon today, and though the Lightning isn't expected to do anything significant, there will still be plenty to talk about.

That holds especially true with today being the first day captain Steven Stamkos can sign a contract extension. Stamkos, 25, who has one year remaining on his five-year deal, will carry a cap hit of $7.5 million next season. He will likely will warrant a new deal in the eight-year, $84 million range that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got from the Blackhawks last summer. …

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Lightning signs Andrej Sustr to two year deal

Andrej Sustr, 24, a restricted free agent, was a mainstay on the Lightning blueline last season, racking up 13 assists in 72 games.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Andrej Sustr, 24, a restricted free agent, was a mainstay on the Lightning blueline last season, racking up 13 assists in 72 games.

The Lightning has signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a two-year, $2.9 million deal.

It comes as little surprise as Sustr, 24, a restricted free agent, was a mainstay on the Lightning blueline last season, racking up 13 assists in 72 games. Sustr was in the third pairing, for the most part, with veteran Matt Carle.

A 6-foot-7, 220-pound defenseman, Sustr still has some room to improve, coming off just his second NHL season.

Tampa Bay is expected to come to deals with its other restricted free agents, including center Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Luke Witkowski.

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Andreychuk not in 2015 Hall of Fame class

Dave Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2003)

Dave Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon.

For former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk, the wait continues. 

Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon. 

The five-player class included four male players, with Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley. Women's star Angela Ruggiero also made it, with Peter Karmanos in as a builder. 

While Lidstrom, Fedorov and Pronger appeared to be locks, you could make an argument Andreychuk should have made it in over Housley. Andreychuk has 640 career goals, 14th all time, the only 600-goal scorer in league history not in the Hall of Fame. Andreychuk also has NHL record for power play goals. Andreychuk captained the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004, remaking his game late in his 23-year career. 

Andreychuk should get in at some point, and next year isn't a strong group of first year eligibles. It's just a matter of time.  

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Barberio not issued qualifying offer by Lightning

Defenseman Mark Barberio was not given a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Defenseman Mark Barberio was not given a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

In some ways, Lightning defenseman Mark Barberio saw the writing on the wall.

Barberio, 25, essentially the team's seventh defenseman the past two seasons, played in just one game during the two-month Stanley Cup playoff run, with rookie Nikita Nesterov emerging. So when Barberio, 24, was not given a qualifying offer Monday, "it wasn't a complete shock."

Barberio, the Lightning's sixth round pick in 2008, will be an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.

"It's still tough," Barberio said in a phone interview. "Especially when it's your first team, it's all you know. You fall in love with the team. But another team can give you a shot. It's not always a bad thing, change can be good."

The Lightning announced Monday the five restricted free agents it has given qualifying offers to by today's deadline, including defensemen Andrej Sustr and Luke Witkowski, along with center Vladislav Namestnikov and prospects Carter Ashton and Philippe Paradis. Forward Mike Blunden was signed to a one-year, two-way deal. …

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Lightning make qualifying offers to three, sign Marchessault

The Lightning continues to chip away at its offseason checklist, making qualifying offers to defensemen Andrej Sustr and Luke Witkowski, along with center Vladislav Namestnikov.

Tampa Bay also signed forward Jonathan Marchessault to a one-year, two-way deal and forward Brian Hart to a three-year, two-way entry level contract.

In making a qualifying offers to Sustr, 24, Witkowski and Namestnikov, team retains their rights, with both sides planning to continue to talk. Tampa Bay has until Monday's deadline to extend offers to its other RFAs, including defenseman Mark Barberio, who could end up the odd man out.

Signing Marchessault, 24, another restricted fre agent, was an easy call, having led the AHL Syracuse Crunch in scoring, earning two appearances during the Lightning's playoff run. While Marchessault is on a two-way deal, he's still waiver eligible, so he'll be a player to watch during training camp. If Marchessault doesn't make the roster, he could be lost to another team (like Richard Panik did last year).

Hart, 21, a second-round pick in 2012, had 18 goals and 50 points in three seasons at Harvard. He'll bring some size (6-2) to the Crunch forward group next season. …

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Will Dave Andreychuk finally get the call into Hall of Fame?

The Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will announce the 2015 inductees Monday at 4 p.m.

And it certainly seems like it could be time for former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk to get his much-awaited call.

The committee can add up to four male members. There are a few no-doubt locks like Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger, as well as likely Sergei Fedorov. But you could make a strong case for Andreychuk as a possible fourth Andreychuk is the only 600-goal scorer (640) not already in the Hall of Fame, has the most power play goals in NHL history (274). Andreychuk also captained the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, remaking his game at the latter stages of his career.

There are many others worthy of consideration, including Mark Recchi (1,533 points), Jeremy Roenick (513 goals and 1,216 points), Eric Lindros and Phil Housley (1,232 points). Andreychuk, 51, currerntly the Lightning's VP for corporate and community affairs, will be a Hall of Famer at some point.

Maybe it'll be Monday.

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Lightning NHL Draft Live Blog: Stephens selected in 2nd round

The Lightning kicked off its draft Saturday morning, selecting center Mitchell Stephens from Saginaw (OHL).

Stephens, a 6-foot- 187-pound right shot, is known for his two-way style and compete level, as well as a strong hockey sense. He believes he'll fit right in with the "high energy" players in the Tampa Bay system.

"It's amazing feeling, I'm a little tight for words," Stephens said.

Stephens had 22 goals and 26 assists (minus-17) in 62 games for the Spirit this season. He felt his game took a big step in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

"I'm a two-way player, a bring a lot of  high energy compete to the game," Stephens said. "A very good skater. I think that with the system that Tampa Bay plays, a high paced game, I'm going to fit in well."

**Then, with Tampa Bay's other second round pick, at No. 44, it selected defenseman Matthew Spencer from Peterborough. A strong, transitional, two-way defenseman who has played in all situations. Spencer said he took a big step in his skating this season, as well as being able to stop opposing team's top lines. A teammate of Stephens with the Under-18 team, calls him the ultimate competitor, strong leader. …

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Yzerman says moving way up in draft 'virtually impossible'

The NHL Draft floor is ripe for wheeling and dealing, and it appears the Coyotes are making their No. 3 overall pick available to all takers.

How about the Lightning?

"If you've got an idea, let me know," general manager Steve Yzerman said, smiling. "It'd be difficult for us to get one of those picks."

It's not like Yzerman hasn't tried before, he reportedly pushed hard for the No. 1 overall pick last year, which the Panthers wisely kept and chose defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the NHL Rookie of the Year. But with the Lightning boasting the No. 28 overall pick, it would need to significantly sweeten the pot to get into the top-3.

“It’s really hard to move way up, it’s virtually impossible,” Yzerman said.

Yzerman does have some flexibility this weekend, with nine overall picks, including two fourths and two sixths. But it appears Tampa Bay is inclined to keep them.

"We like having draft picks," Yzerman said. "Our guys spend a lot of time throughout the year scouting. It's nice to be able to put that time to good use. Those (trade) calls are made on the floor, when you're trading up or trading down. Our plan right now is to hang on to our picks and use them." …

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Lightning set schedule for prospect tournament

The Lightning will host a four-team rookie tournament at Germain Arena in Estero Sept. 12-15, which will be open to the public.

The six-game tournament - pitting the top prospects - will include Tampa Bay, Nashville, Florida and Washington. This will be the first time the Lightning has hosted a rookie showcase.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will host a four-team rookie tournament at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida from Saturday, September 12 through Tuesday, September 15, the team announced today.

Below is the game schedule:
Saturday, Sep. 12

3:00 p.m. - Florida @ Washington

7:00 p.m. - Nashville @ Tampa Bay

Sunday, Sep. 13

3:00 p.m. - Nashville @ Florida

7:00 p.m. - Tampa Bay @ Washington

Monday, Sep. 14

(No games)

Tuesday, Sep. 15

10:00 a.m. - Washington @ Nashville

2:00 p.m. - Florida @ Tampa Bay

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Lightning's 2015-16 schedule released

The Lightning's path back to the Stanley Cup final will be a tough one.

Tampa Bay will play 11 of its first 16 games on the road, as well as the final four, per the schedule released today by the NHL.

After opening at home against the Flyers Oct. 8 at Amalie Arena, the Lightning heads on a three-game swing to Buffalo, Boston and Detroit. Tampa Bay has two more at home before a difficult, four-game swing through four playoff teams, Nashville, Winnipeg, then a Stanley Cup final rematch in Chicago (Oct. 24) and St. Louis.

The Lightning's west-coast trip will be in early December, trip to Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles (Dec. 2-6). Tampa Bay will have a six-game homestand through the Christmas holiday (Dec. 20-Jan. 2). The Western Canada trip, which happened in October last season, will be in early January, a trek through Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Colorado (Jan. 5-12).

Tampa Bay will have another six-game homestand Mar. 22-April 2, before finishing the season with four on the road, against the Islanders, Rangers, Devils and the season finale, April 9, in Montreal.

Here's the full schedule.

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Steve Yzerman wins NHL GM of the Year

Steve Yzerman is one of three finalists for the NHL GM of the Year, an award to be announced tonight in Las Vegas

DIRK SHADD | Times

Steve Yzerman is one of three finalists for the NHL GM of the Year, an award to be announced tonight in Las Vegas

The Lightning's Steve Yzerman was named the NHL's GM of the Year Wednesday night at the annual awards show in Las Vegas.

Anaheim's Bob Murray and the Rangers' Glen Sather are the other finalists.

Yzerman said he accepted the award on behalf of the organization, crediting his staff for all their work. The Lightning reached the Stanley Cup final but lost to the Blackhawks 4-2. 

"There's a lot of hard decisions, a lot of sleepless nights," Yzerman said in a phone interview. "But ultimately we haven't won the Stanley Cup, so there's still work to do." 

Voting was conducted by the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the end of the second round of the playoffs. Buoyed by some key summer moves by Yzerman, acquiring defenseman Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison, along with center Brian Boyle, the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Blackhawks. Yzerman also made a move at the trade deadline in trading for defenseman Braydon Coburn.

 

 

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