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Bournival signed to 1-year, 2-way contract

Michael Bournival had two goal and an assist in 19 games with the Lightning last season.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Michael Bournival had two goal and an assist in 19 games with the Lightning last season.

The Lightning signed F Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way contract Tuesday.

Bournival, 25, played in 19 games last season with the Lightning. He had two goals and an assist. He also played in 38 games with the Syracuse Crunch, scoring nine goals and assisting on 10 others. He had eight goals and 15 points in 22 games for the Crunch during the Calder Cup Playoffs.

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Some thoughts from D Girardi on joining Lightning

New Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girard. Girardi meets the Tampa Bay media for the first time since signing with the Lightning on July 1 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday morning.

Dirk Shadd | Times

New Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girard. Girardi meets the Tampa Bay media for the first time since signing with the Lightning on July 1 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday morning.

New Lightning D Dan Girardi met with the Tampa Bay media Monday morning. Here is some of what he said …

On his game after 11 years in New York with the Rangers:

“I feel 100 percent great. I feel hungrier than I have been in any other year. I feel like maybe you’ve been in one place so long you kind of get on cruise control and that might not be great for your career. I feel like what happened to me might have jump-started it.” 

On playing against the Lightning:

“I didn’t like them very much. They’re a fast team and very dynamic. They make you pay for your mistakes. I’m glad to be part of the team and not the enemy.”

  On being bought out by the Rangers after last season:

“Obviously it was a little bit surprising. You hear rumblings here and there throughout the year, but until it actually happens you’re a little bit surprised. It is what it is. It’s way in the past for me, even though it wasn’t that long ago. I’m way past my chapter in New York here. I’m looking forward to my time in Tampa, take advantage of it and do some good things here.” 

On those who say his best days are behind him:  …

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Newest Lightning F Chris Kunitz meets the Tampa Bay media

Dirk Shadd | Times

New Lightning forward Chris Kunitz met with the Tampa Bay media today. Here are some things he had to say about his new team:

On his style of play:

"I try to play a straightforward game, straight lines, try to be physical on the forecheck, turn pucks over, go to the front of the net, go around the battle areas, go through people rather than around them. I'm not a guy who's going to skate through the natural zone and make a bunch of fancy plays, but I'm going to try and be a guy that brings that physical aspect to the game and someone who makes it tough to play against."

On why he signed with the Lightning:

"The Lightning have an unbelievable chance to win a Stanley Cup and that's the reason why we came here."

On how close is this team to winning a Cup:

"I would say it's in those top three or four teams that everybody would agree they're just that close. When healthy, any team with this dynamic of a roster can beat everybody every single night. They have position players who can win a game on their own, like a goaltender or dynamic forwards or D-men who can step up. (We) have to be one of the favorite teams that can go in and try to make a run at it."

On what he expects his role to be: …

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The numbers on Lightning F Tyler Johnson's new contract

Tyler Johnson has a no-trade clause from 2018-2021.

Dirk Shadd | Times

Tyler Johnson has a no-trade clause from 2018-2021.

Here is more information on Lightning F Tyler Johnson’s 7-year, $35 million contract:

Year-by year breakdown: $5 million, $6.75 million, $5.5 million, $3.75 million, $5.5 million, $3.75 million, $4.75 million.

He has a no-trade clause from 2018 to 2021. After that, he has a modified no-trade clause that lists 20 teams he CAN be traded to.

According to CapFriendly.com, the Lightning now has a projected cap space of $8.68 million.

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Arbitration hearing dates set for Johnson and Palat

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9), right, have arbitration hearings set, but the team can continue to negotiation deals with them until then.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9), right, have arbitration hearings set, but the team can continue to negotiation deals with them until then.

Tyler Johnson has an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 20. Ondrej Palat’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for July 25.

Both players and the Lightning can negotiate up until the hearing.

Both Johnson and Palat are coming off three-year deals that paid $10 million. Times hockey writer Joe Smith wrote last week that both could receive contracts worth an average of $5 million annually.

The Lightning has $13.6 million of salary cap space to play with heading into this season.

Johnson played in 66 games last season, totaling 45 points on 19 goals and 26 assists.

Palat had 52 points (17 goals/35 assists) in 75 games.

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Lightning Strikes! podcast: Breaking down the Bolts' summer

The Lightning signed four-time Stanley Cup champion Chris Kunitz as a free agent.

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The Lightning signed four-time Stanley Cup champion Chris Kunitz as a free agent.

The offseason has been busy for the Lightning, with the Jonathan Drouin trade, expansion draft and free agent signings of Dan Girardi and Chris Kunitz. Joe Smith breaks down all the moves, talks about what lies ahead and answers your questions in our latest Lightning Strikes! podcast. Listen here:

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Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat file for arbitration

Ondrej Palat filed for arbitration by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Ondrej Palat filed for arbitration by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline.

As expected, the Lightning re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin Wednesday to a bargain, two-year deal worth $812,500 annually.

That was the easy part.

The more challenging next step for Tampa Bay is coming to terms with its big name restricted free agents Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Both Johnson and Palat filed for arbitration by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline.

No need to set off any alarms. This move was expected. Johnson and Palat will each have a scheduled arbitration hearing for late July/early August where both their camps and the Lightning propose a contract for next season and argue their case, with an independent arbitrator ruling.

Keep in mind, the Lightning and Palat/Johnson can continue to negotiate until the hearings. It wouldn't be surprising if both Johnson and Palat sign long-term deals before this ever goes to arbitration, like Alex Killorn did last July. It doesn't sound like the parties are far apart. The Lightning has the money - $13.6 million in cap space - and wants to bring both Johnson and Palat back. …

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Lightning sign Jake Dotchin to two-year deal

The Lightning re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to a two-year deal.

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The Lightning re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to a two-year deal.

As expected, the Lightning re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to a two-year deal. The average annual value is $812,500.

That'll likely be a bargain for Tampa Bay, with Dotchin, 23, balancing out its blueline last season, emerging as a strong partner for Victor Hedman.

With Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek (one year, $800,000) signed, the Lightning's next order of business is signing RFAs Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. Palat filed for arbitration by today's 5 p.m. deadline, not sure yet on Johnson. The Lightning, of course, could still sign both forwards before a hearing, like it did with Alex Killorn last July.

Developing: The Lightning is expected to announce a two-year, one-way deal with restricted free agent defenseman Jake Dotchin.

Dotchin, 23, helped balance out the blueline in the second half of last season, playing in his first 35 NHL games. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman provided needed grit, and was a strong partner for Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman.

With Dotchin signing soon, and fellow defenseman Slater Koekkoek signing a one-year, $800,000 deal Monday, the Lightning has two key restricted free agents left: center Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. …

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Lightning sign Chris Kunitz to one-year, $2 million deal

Chris Kunitz, 37, is a four-time Stanley Cup winner, providing some experience and grit up front.

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Chris Kunitz, 37, is a four-time Stanley Cup winner, providing some experience and grit up front.

The Lightning filled its need for another top-nine wing, signing veteran Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $2 million deal Saturday.

Kunitz, 37, is a four-time Stanley Cup winner, providing some experience and grit up front. After averaging 23 goals per season from 2010-2016, Kunitz racked up nine last season, though ranked second in hits with 216 hits. He's now the Lightning's most experienced playoff performer (161 games), followed by recently-acquired defenseman Dan Girardi (122).

With top wing free agent target Justin Williams (two years, $9 million with Carolina) off the board, Kunitz was another available veteran option.

More to come soon.

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Ryan Callahan believes hip issue 'completely behind me'

Lightning wing Ryan Callahan said he'll be ready for training camp, confident the hip issues that plagued him all season are "completely behind me."

"I feel great, no limitations at all," Callahan told the Times Saturday. "I think this is going to be the hungriest I've ever been, excited, ready to go, come in and make an impact."

Callahan, 32, didn't play much at all last season, limited to 18 games due to a right hip that continued to plague him after last summer's surgery to repair a torn labrum. While Callahan returned in late October, he couldn't shake the lingering soreness.

But a February follow-up procedure to clear up some scar tissue seems to have done the trick. Callahan was skating by the end of the season and continues to work out in Rochester, N.Y. He has three years remaining on a contract with a $5.8 million cap hit.

"It was the toughest year I've been through in my career, for sure," Callahan said. "So many ups and downs, having setbacks. At the end of the day, I look at it all and it makes me want to play even more and makes me even hungrier. It's been a while since I've been this excited for an upcoming season."

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Lightning signs Dan Girardi to two-year, $6 million deal

Dan Girardi spent the last 11 seasons with the Rangers, which bought out the final three years of his deal.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Dan Girardi spent the last 11 seasons with the Rangers, which bought out the final three years of his deal.

The Lightning didn't get the big fish on the free agent market, with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk signing with the Rangers, wing Justin Williams with the Hurricanes.

But Tampa Bay did get - at least so far - veteran right-shot defenseman Dan Girardi. Girardi, 33, who signed a two-year, $6 million deal Saturday, was pumped to start a "new chapter" with the Lightning.

And it sounds like Girardi will play a key role on the blueline.

"(GM Steve Yzerman) was very convincing," Girardi told the Times Saturday. "He told me I'd be playing good minutes with some good (defensive) pairs. Overall, I'm just super excited."

Girardi spent the last 11 seasons with the Rangers, which bought out the final three years of his deal (coincidentally, helping New York land Shattenkirk). While Girardi struggled last season, by most analytic metrics, he said a nagging ankle injury hampered him, and now he's finally healthy, "100 percent."

"Obviously when you're fighting different injuries, no one really plays 100 percent in this league," Girardi said. "When your ankle or your knee, that's something that's part of your skating everyday, it doesn't help. …

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What would Lightning get in Dan Girardi?

Dan Girardi, who was bought out by the Rangers, is expected to sign with Tampa Bay today.

AP photo

Dan Girardi, who was bought out by the Rangers, is expected to sign with Tampa Bay today.

For all of what we don't know yet - whether the Lightning will snag Kevin Shattenkirk or Justin Williams - it does sound like Tampa Bay may acquire defenseman Dan Girardi.

Girardi, 33, who was bought out by the Rangers, is reportedly expected to sign with Tampa Bay today. Not sure on how much, or for how long, though would think it's a short-term deal.

The veteran is coming off a down year, struggling in most analytic metrics, and a career-low 15 points. Girardi has been banged up, though, the past two seasons, including missing a month late in the season recovering from a right ankle wound suffered blocking a shot. The fact Girardi played in 759 of possible 764 games (including playoffs) from 2006-2014-15 no doubt took its toll.

So what would the Lightning be getting in Girardi?

"He's not a top-four guy anymore," said Rangers color analyst Joe Micheletti, a former NHL defenseman. "I don't think he's a top-four player, but he can help a team if the numbers are right and the minutes are right and the situation is right." …

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Lightning notebook: Day 1 of 3-on-3 tournament

Center Mitchell Stephens was one of four players to score at least four goals in the tournament.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Center Mitchell Stephens was one of four players to score at least four goals in the tournament.

Through the first day of the Lightning Development Camp’s 3-on-3 tournament, the points leader wasn’t the popular offseason acquisition, but a 2015 draftee entering his third year with the team.

Center Mitchell Stephens, whom Tampa Bay selected 33rd overall in the 2015 entry draft, was one of four players to score at least four goals in the tournament. Playing for Team Andreychuk, Stephens pitched in three assists to notch a tournament-high seven points. But despite the efforts of Stephens and defenceman Nick Perbix (four goals and a tournament-best 57.1 percent shooting percentage), Andreychuk went 1-3 on day one, including a shootout loss.

Meanwhile, defenceman Mikhail Sergachev — acquired through the trade that sent forward Jonathan Drouin to Montreal — was the main attraction for fans in attendance and seemed to live up to the high expectations placed upon him. Sergachev, who made four NHL appearances last year for the Canadiens and won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman in 2016, led all players with five goals on 10 shots. He also added an assist as Team Lecavalier posted a 2-2 record with two shootout defeats.

*** …

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Sammy Walker making up for small stature

Seventh-round C Sammy Walker — listed at 5-foot-10 and 142 lbs — is the smallest prospect at the Lightning’s camp, but then again, being the smallest on the ice is nothing new to him.

“I’ve always been one of the littler guys, so I’ve just always had to learn to keep my feet moving,” Walker said. “You’ve always got to be moving. Against this level of players that’s especially true, but I’ve come up against bigger players before and I’ve always had to do that. My speed, quick hands and hockey sense are definitely what I see as my advantages, and I can kind of use them to make up for my size.”

Walker spent last year at Edina High School in Minnesota, where he notched up 47 points in 25 games, and will either return to Edina next year or play with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars before starting at the University of Minnesota in 2018. Walker, whose older brothers Jack and Ben both decided not to enter college and instead played for the WHL’s Victoria Royals, said he always had his mind set on playing for the Golden Gophers. …

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Cole Guttman attempts to build on opening USHL campaign

Cole Guttman posted a shooting percentage of 23.5 last year with Dubuque, the best mark for any USHL player who took 40 or more shots.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Cole Guttman posted a shooting percentage of 23.5 last year with Dubuque, the best mark for any USHL player who took 40 or more shots.

Sixth-round C Cole Guttman only turned 18 on June 4th, but has already made a serious impact in the USHL. Guttman recorded 27 goals and 27 assists last season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, finishing in the top 10 in the USHL in both goals as the team's assistant captain. The Lightning camp may be a step up, but Guttman said he was confident he could transition to the higher level of play.

“Just coming into camp, the first skate was definitely a different transition from playing in the USHL,” Guttman said. “Playing with bigger players is a difference but I definitely think I’m transitioning well and as the week went on I should just get more and more comfortable.”

Guttman, originally from Northridge, California, posted a shooting percentage of 23.5% last year with Dubuque on 115 shots, the best mark for any USHL player who took 40 or more shots. However, he said he’s continuing to work on his ability to get shots off in order to score efficiently at the next level. …

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