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Lightning make qualifying offers to Sustr, not Aulie

The Lightning announced Monday it made a qualifying offer to defenseman Andrej Sustr, along with Dmitry Korobov, Richard Panik, Brett Connolly, Cody Kunyk and Philippe Paradis.

Most of those were pretty much expected, especially Sustr, who is a young, developing, right-handed shooting defenseman.

Of those that were not given a qualifying offer, defenseman Keith Aulie was the biggest name, along with goalie Anders Lindback. They will both be unrestricted free agents Tuesday at 11 a.m., as well as the other Lightning players that weren't offered - Charles Landry and Geoff Walker.

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Lightning in mix with Boyle, Johnson

The Lightning is expected to be one of the more fascinating teams in free agency, which begins Tuesday at 11 a.m, thanks to a flurry of Sunday trades that give them around $13 million in cap space.

There could be some moves this afternoon, and Tampa Bay is in the mix for a few key players.

The Lightning is looking at the market for defensemen, with Penguins D Matt Niskanen, Rangers D Anton Stralman and former Tampa Bay D Dan Boyle. Niskanen was planning to narrow his finalists Monday night from a field of 10-plus teams. Tampa Bay has shown interest in Boyle, who also reportedly is considering the Red Wings and Rangers. 

Another defenseman is Christian Ehrhoff, 31, who was bought out by the Sabres Sunday. Coincidentally or not, it was the same day Tampa Bay made three deals to move salaries, sending Teddy Purcell to the Oilers, B.J. Crombeen to the Coyotes and Nate Thompson to the Ducks (for a fourth and seventh round pick). …

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Thompson shocked to get traded, calls it 'bittersweet'

Nate Thompson, an alternate captain for the Lightning, was traded to Anaheim for a fourth and seventh round pick.


Nate Thompson, an alternate captain for the Lightning, was traded to Anaheim for a fourth and seventh round pick.

Center Nate Thompson was at Keith Aulie's wedding in Saskatchewan over the weekend, hanging out with Lightning teammates Steven Stamkos, Eric Brewer and Mark Barberio.

Little did Thompson know it'd be a fitting farewell.

When Thompson, 29, landed back in Minnesota Sunday night, he started to see Tampa Bay's flurry of three trades to clear cap space. First it was Teddy Purcell to the Oilers and B.J. Crombeen to the Coyotes..

"I got back, was following all the news as I was landing, all this stuff was going on," Thompson told the Times. "And next thing you know, I was next."

Thompson, 29, an alternate captain, was traded to Anaheim for a fourth and seventh round pick.

"I got the call and I was in a little bit of shock for a little bit," Thompson said. "Whenever you find out you're traded it's always been a whirlwind and overwhelming. But at the same time, I'm really excited to go to a team like Anaheim, they're a team that's definitely building to win. They want to win now." …

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Decision day for Lightning restricted free agents

The Lightning will decide by this afternoon whether to give qualifying offers to its remaining restricted free agents.

If not, the players will become unrestricted free agents Tuesday.

Tampa Bay has already signed several of its RFAs, with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat getting identical three-year, $10 million deals, wing Alex Killorn getting two years, $5.1 million and defenseman Mark Baberio getting one-year, $875,000.

We know that goalie Anders Lindback will not be given a qualifying offer, though the Lightning has kept the door open of bringing him back as a back-up. Wings Brett Connolly and Richard Panik have received qualifying offers, spots on the roster opened up with Sunday's trades of Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen.

Of those remaining, defenseman Andrej Sustr is likely a lock to get a qualifying offer, a young developing right-handed shot. So are Dmitry Korobov and Cody Kunyk, with Philippe Paradis expected to be back. Less likely is defenseman Keith Aulie, whose playing time dwindled last season.

Should know more late this afternoon, will keep you posted.

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Wrapping up wild night of Lightning trades to clear cap space

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman had hinted his offseason shopping was close to done if he wasn’t able to move a salary from his glut of forwards.

But Yzerman pulled it off in a stunning Sunday night flurry, finalizing three trades in two hours to deal veteran forwards Nate Thompson, Teddy Purcell and B.J. Crombeen, giving Tampa Bay an opportunity to be a bigger player when free agency opens Tuesday.

With the moves, and the likely decision to put defenseman Mattias Ohlund on long-term injured reserve, the Lightning will have about $11 million in cap space, potentially targeting an elite free-agent defenseman and backup goalie.

“Just because we have cap space now and cash available, we’re not going to act out of desperation,” Yzerman said. “But certainly we’re going to inquire and see if there’s anything that makes us better.”

First, the Lightning traded Purcell to the Oilers for center Sam Gagner, who was quickly flipped, along with Crombeen, to Arizona for a sixth-round draft pick in 2015. The Lightning had to retain one-third of Gagner’s remaining salary ($1.6 million). …

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Breaking down Lightning draft

Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray said the team didn't enter this year's draft with the plan to address any defensive deficiencies in its prospect pool.

It just worked out that way that Tampa Bay selected three more defensemen in Saturday's second round, adding to first-round pick D Anthony DeAngelo.

"Just like last year where it was forward after forward, this year defensemen after defensemen that we liked fell to us," Murray said. "We took in every case a guy we felt was the best NHL prospect and it certainly helped balance out the reserve list."

The Lightning grabbed two defensemen in the second round, D Dominik Masin from Slavia Praha (Czech Republic) at No. 35 and D Johnathan MacLeod from the U.S. National Team Development Program at No. 57. The two don't have the flash or offensive skills as DeAngelo, more defensive-minded, positionally-strong defensemen who can are smart and hard to play against, Murray said. Both Mashin and McLeod, a Boston University commitment, were captains of their Under-17 teams.  …

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Lightning big dealers on day two of NHL Draft

The Lightning made a couple draft-day deals Saturday to move up and get prospects it wanted.

In the third round, Tampa Bay moved up one pick, swapping No. 80 for No. 79 with Minnesota, while giving the Wild the seventh-round pick in 2015 it received in Friday's Jason Garrison trade with Vancouver.

With that pick, the Lightning selected C Brayden Point, a dynamic-scoring center from Calgary. Point wasn't expecting Tampa Bay would take him, having met GM Steve Yzerman for the first time Saturday.

"It's awesome," Point said. "I'm really happy."

Though just 5-foot-10, 180-pounds, Point is a creative playmaker, racking up 91 points (36 goals, 55 assists) in just 72 games for the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). In 2010-11 with the Calgary Bisons Bantam team, he had 102 points in just 33 games.

Then, with no fourth round pick, the Lightning moved into the round by getting the Rangers 119th overall, trading away its two fifth-rounders (140th, 142nd). Tampa Bay got D Ben Thomas, 18, an aggressive, right-shooting defenseman with quality puck-moving skills and a strong shot. Has decent size at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, aggressive on both ends of the ice.



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Lightning keep adding defensemen, pick Jonathan MacLeod

Jonathan MacLeod grew up idolizing Dion Phaneuf, the hard-nosed Maple Leafs captain.

"He's such a physical presence, such a leader," MacLeod said. "I really tried to emulate his game as much as I could."

MacLeod, 18, hopes to bring that style to Tampa Bay, having been selected in the second round (57th overall).

"My heart was racing," MacLeod said. "Tampa is a great organization. I couldn't be happier."

MacLeod, a 6-foot-1, 180 pounder from the USA Development Program in Ann Arbor, is a positionally-strong, defensive-minded defenseman that brings toughness. He will attend Boston University in the fall.

"My style of game is very physical, I love that style of game," MacLeod said. "I think that's something that helped get me where I am. I like to play a solid, shutdown style of game."

MacLeod was a captain for the US Under-18 team in Ann Arbor and likes to bring leadership. The Dracut, Mass. native thinks that he'll develop his game even more at his hometown Boston University, and show a more offensive element. …

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Lightning select D Dominik Masin in second round

The Lightning continued to add defensemen to its pool of prospects Saturday, selecting Dominik Masin from Slavia Praha (Czech Republic) in the second round (35th overall).

Masin is a 6-2, 189 pounds more of a defensive-minded defenseman than first round pick Anthony DeAngelo. Has projectable frame, strong positionally in his own end, and is a good skater, though not power play quarterback.

"I'm a competitive guy, so want to bring some energy," Masin said through an interpreter. "I'm more defensive-minded player, but I want to improve my offense to help up front as well."

Masin also brings leadership, having been captain for the Czech Under-19 team in the 2013 World Junior A Challenge. He was an even plus/minus with no points and four penalty minutes in four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and had 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes in four games at the WJAC. Masin was ranked 18th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting's mid-term rankings prior to the 2014 NHL Draft.






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Lightning select D Anthony DeAngelo at No. 19 overall

The Lightning selected defenseman Anthony DeAngelo with the 19th overall pick at Friday's NHL Draft.

DeAngelo is an exciting, puck-moving defenseman from South Philly. He racked up 71 points in 51 games for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, his third season in that Canadian junior league. But DeAngelo comes with a bit of a character risk, having been suspended for eight games last season after an incident that violated the league's harrassment, abuse and diversity policy - a slur, to a teammate. And it was the second time DeAngelo reportedly had such an incident.

“Anthony made a mistake and he got caught up in the moment,” said Sarnia Coach Trevor Letowski told in February. “It’s something I’m sure he wishes he could take back, but it’s one of these unique moments. The league ruled on it and we fully support it.”

It was the first of two first-round picks by the Lightning, who also pick at No. 28.



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Lightning re-sign Barberio to a one-year deal

The Lightning continued to chip away at its remaining restricted free agents, signing D Mark Barberio Friday to a one-year, one-way contract.

Barberio, 24, was a plus-10 with 10 points in 49 games as a rookie last season.

“I thought he made a lot of improvement,” associate coach Rick Bowness said. “For a young defenseman playing defense in our league, it’s not easy. And for a rookie defenseman, there was a lot of improvement from where he was in camp to where he finished at the end of the year. He knows he can play in the league now, so his confidence should be a little bit higher.”

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Lightning acquire D Jason Garrison from Canucks

Jason Garrison, right, battles for the puck with the Lightning's Steven Stamkos during a 2011 game in Sunrise.

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Jason Garrison, right, battles for the puck with the Lightning's Steven Stamkos during a 2011 game in Sunrise.

Update The Lightning have acquired defenseman Jason Garrison from the Canucks, along with the rights to forward Jeff Costello and a seventh-round pick, in exhange for a second-round pick in this draft.

In doing so, Tampa Bay landed the top-four quality defenseman it wanted, and didn't have to give up either one of its first round picks in tonight's draft. Garrison, 29, has an attractive front-loaded contract through 2017-18, with a $4.6 million annual cap hit. He had to waive his no-trade clause to come to Tampa Bay.

Garrison said he was initially shocked when his hometown Canucks approached him about trading him two weeks ago, but calls it an "easy decision" to accept the move to Tampa Bay.

"I like it a lot," Garrison said. "They have a very good group of young guys, young talent. When we played them twice this past year when I was with Vancouver, it was unbelievable the talent and the skill level on the team. They play a very quick pace and transition game. I think it's going to be a lot of fun fitting in and working in." …

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Lightning make qualifying offers to Panik and Connolly

The Lightning continues to make progress on their group of restricted free agents, having made qualifying offers to wings Richard Panik and Brett Connolly.

And the team is scheduled to meet with defenseman Mark Barberio's camp later tonight in Philadelphia, so that deal could be done soon.

Panik, 23, had three goals and 10 assists for Tampa Bay last season. Connolly, 22, the sixth overall pick in 2010, has played in 84 NHL games.

Agent Gerry Johannson is confident they'll get a deal done with both players, which have 30 days to accept the deal or work out other terms. Johannson adds there's no rush, but it won't take the full month.

"Both players like Tampa and Tampa likes both players," Johannson said. "So that's a good starting point."

Other restricted free agents for Tampa Bay are defenseman Andrej Sustr and Keith Aulie.

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Boyle would be interested in Tampa; is feeling mutual?

Dan Boyle had 12 goals and 24 assists (and a minus-8) in 75 games last season for San Jose.

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Dan Boyle had 12 goals and 24 assists (and a minus-8) in 75 games last season for San Jose.

Veteran Dan Boyle is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agent defensemen come July 1.

The former Lightning standout has received inquiries already from more than a half dozen teams, though Tampa Bay isn't one of them. At least, not yet.

And if the Lightning does call, Boyle, 37 would be interested, according to agent George Bazos.

"At this point Dan is going to be open to all options," Bazos told the Times. "All I can say I know he loves it down there. Winning the Cup and everything down there could be one of the highlights of his career."

Boyle, who played for Tampa Bay from 2002-2008, still owns property in the area. Whether he ends up moving back here remains to be seen. The Lightning has been trying to find a puck-moving defenseman like Boyle since he was traded to San Jose in 2008. Obviously Boyle is not the same player he was 10 years ago, but he had 12 goals and 24 assists (and a minus-8) in 75 games last season for San Jose. …

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Lightning sign Callahan to a six-year deal

Ryan Callahan enjoyed his experience in Tampa, from the city to the organization and coaching staff.


Ryan Callahan enjoyed his experience in Tampa, from the city to the organization and coaching staff.

It didn’t take long for veteran wing Ryan Callahan to feel at home with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Callahan, 29, loved the way he was treated since coming over in March from the Rangers in the blockbuster Marty St. Louis trade, and was excited about the “bright future” of the organization.
So even though Callahan would likely have many suitors when he became an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, he never let them have a chance, signing a six-year, $34.8 million deal Wednesday with Tampa Bay.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Callahan said. “You don’t get a chance very often to become a free agent, but at the same time, I knew that the Lightning is where I wanted to be and a place I could see having success in. As enticing as free agency can sound, I know me and my family loved it there and I like the direction the team is going and how good the organization is. To get it done and now to be here for the next six years, it’s a new chapter, it’s exciting.” …

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