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Lightning sign Stralman, Brian Boyle and Nabokov

Update 6:00 p.m. The Lightning found its backup goalie, signing veteran Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year, $1.55 million deal.

Nabokov, 38, was 15-14 with a 2.74 goals against average in 40 games for the Islanders last season, his 13th in the NHL. With Nabokov in net, it gives prospects Vasilevskiy and Gudlevskis an opportunity to play more in AHL this season.

Update 5:45 p.m  The Lightning has signed center Brian Boyle to a three-year, $6 million deal.

Like defenseman Anton Stralman, whom the Lightning signed to a five-year, $22.5 million deal today, Boyle was a key contributor to the Rangers last season.

Update: The top defenseman on the market, Matt Niskanen, signed with the Capitals.

Update 2:34 p.m. After a few quiet hours in free agency, the Lightning snagged one of the top defenseman on the market, signing Anton Stralman to a five-year, $22.5 million deal.

Stralman, 27, has played the last three seasons for the Rangers, tallying one goal and 12 assists in 81 games last season. His stock rose after a strong showing in New York's run to the Stanley Cup finals.

Stralman, at 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, would provide the right-shooting defenseman Tampa Bay has lacked, bolstering a top-four group that already added Jason Garrison from Vancouver Friday.

Stralman could form a strout No. 1 defensive pairing with fellow Swede Victor Hedman. He has just 18 goals in seven NHL seasons (with the Leafs, Blue Jackets and Rangers), but is strong in his own zone and has a solid shot.

"I am very excited we were able to add Anton to the team today," Hedman said. "He is a great guy, a strong acquisition for our blueline, and I think we saw how good he can be in the playoffs this year. I really look forward to having a chance to play with him in the fall."

The Lightning entered free agency looking for another defenseman, but watched former Tampa Bay standout Dan Boyle sign with the Rangers (two-years, $9 million). It was also reportedly in talks with Penguins D Matt Niskanen, who has yet to be signed. But Stralman, who is still in his prime, will make the same annually ($4.5 million) as the much-older Boyle.

The Lightning is still in the market for a back-up goalie, and many options have signed elsewhere, including Anders Lindback with the Stars (one year, $925,000), Chad Johnson (Islanders), and Justin Peters (Caps). 

Tampa Bay did sign forwards Mike Blunden and Mike Angelidis to one-year, two way deals, providing some depth at AHL Syracuse. Blunden has played in 102 NHL games with Columbus, Chicago and, most recently, Montreal. The Lightning re-signed Angelidis, 29, skated in 75 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 12 goals and 33 points to go along with 161 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the Crunch for penalty minutes and fifth for points. Angelidis has been captain of the Crunch since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

The Lightning entered today with $13 million in cap space, partly due to three Sunday trades that cleared $5.6 million. So Tampa Bay is likely not done yet.

Update 2:25 p.m. Veteran forward Jarome Iginla cashed in with the Avalanche, signing a three-year, $16 million deal. The Lightning were one of the finalists.

Update 2:15 p.m. Sounds like the Red Wings have been told they are out of the Matt Niskanen sweepstakes. Lightning may be still in the mix.

Update 1:31 p.m.  While the Lightning has been quiet so far in free agency, some of its top targets are still availlable.

There's defensemen like Matt Niskanen and Anton Stralman, along with veteran forward Jarome Iginla and backup goalie Martin Brodeur.

So far, it's been a lot of watching potential options signing elsewhere, with D Dan Boyle going to the Rangers (two-years, $9 million), Ehrhoff going to the Penguins (one-year, $4 million), back-up goalies Chad Johnson (Islanders) and Justin Peters (Caps). Toughman Shawn Thornton signed with the Panthers.

Former Tampa Bay forward Dominic Moore has re-signed with the Rangers on a two-year, $3 million deal. Lightning free agent defenseman Keith Aulie has signed a one-year $800,000 deal with Edmonton, who gave former Lightning forward Benoit Pouliot a five-year, $20 million deal earlier in the day.

Tampa Bay free agent defenseman Mike Kostka signed with the Rangers.

Update 1:05 p.m.  Former Lightning back-up goalie Anders Lindback has agreed to a one year, $925,000 deal with the Stars. Tampa Bay did not give Lindback a qualifying offer, but had considered bringing him back.

With Lindback, Justin Peters and Chad Johnson off the free agent market, Tampa Bay will have to look elsewhere for a backup. Martin Brodeur and Hiller are among other options.

The Lightning has two strong young prospects in Gudlevskis and Vasilevskiy, but GM Steve Yzerman wants them to play, not sit on bench behind Ben Bishop.

Update 12:43 p.m. Former Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle won't be having a reunion, as he's signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Rangers, the Times confirms.

With Boyle and Ehrhoff off the list of defenseman, Lightning could be making a push for Niskanen or Stralman.

Update 12:35 p.m. Paul Stastny, the top center remaining on the market, goes to the Blues on a four-year deal.

Update 12:31 p.m. Another back-up goalie option, Justin Peters, signed a two-year deal with the Capitals, per the Washington Post.

Update 12:20 p.m. Goalie Chad Johnson, a back-up goalie target of the Lightning, has signed with the Islanders, according to Newsday. Other back-up options are Martin Brodeur, Tomas Vokoun, Al Montoya, etc.

Update 12:15 p.m. Former Lightning forward Benoit Pouliot gets a five-year deal with the Oilers, who also sign defenseman Mark Payne to four year deal.

Update 12:05 p.m Scratch one potential defenseman off the Lightning's wish-list, as Ehrhoff signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Penguins, per TSN.

Update 11:37 p.m. While the Lightning is in the market for another forward, and have shown interest in Jarome Iginla, it has not reached out to Brian Gionta or Thomas Vanek.

Dan Boyle will wait to see what offers he gets at noon. Backup goalie option Chad Johnson is trying to narrow his options down, with the Lightning showing interest.

Update 10:45 a.m. Dan Boyle, one of the top defensemen available in free agency, will wait until the offers roll in at noon to decide his destination. Tampa Bay has shown interest, along with reportedly the Red Wings, Rangers and Leafs. He's looking for a two-year deal.

*The Lightning has had brief discussions with former Tampa Bay forward Dominic Moore, though it's uncertain what level of interest the team has in bringing him back.

Developing: The NHL free agency period is about two hours away from starting, at noon eastern, and the Lightning are expected to be plenty busy.

With about $13 million in cap space, Tampa Bay has the funds to be in the market for one of the top defensemen available, whether that's Penguins Matt Niskanen, Rangers' Anton Stralman, Sabres buyout Christian Ehrhoff and former Tampa Bay star Dan Boyle.

Niskanen may end up too expensive, with Stralman or Ehrhoff also having several suitors.

The Lightning are one of the finalists for Boyle, who is also reportedly considering the Rangers, Red Wings and Maple Leafs. He is looking for a two-year deal. With a right-handed shot, Boyle could be a boost on the power play, and in the transition game, even if he's not a top-four pairing D.

On the forward front, Tampa Bay could look for a veteran to add, and it has shown interest in Bruins' Jarome Iginla, who is testing free agency. Iginla, 37, racked up 30 goals and 31 assists last season. He'd have to probably come on a short deal that's incentive-laden. Other veteran options include former Tampa Bay grinder Dominic Moore.

The main need for the Lightning is back-up goalie, and it's still considering bringing Anders Lindback back. Lindback has continued talks with Tampa Bay, as well as other teams, and could sign as early as today. Tampa Bay has also checked in with Bruins G Chad Johnson, one of the top available backups. Martin Brodeur would be an intriguing option, though it's uncertain how much interest there is on both sides.

Will keep updating this blog post as the morning/afternoon goes on. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith, and feel free to send questions.



[Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 6:35pm]


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