Lightning still interested in Swiss star Reto Suri (updated)
Swiss star Reto Suri still is on the Lightning's radar.
Assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said he and Tampa Bay development coach Stacy Roest, Suri's teammate in Switzerland from 2010-12, earlier this month scouted the talented wing, who plays for Zug in the Swiss-A league.
The Lightning tried to sign Suri last year, but the deal was rejected by the Swiss federation because it does not have a transfer agreement with the NHL. Suri's contract with Zug runs through 2014-15.
"We're not able to negotiate or talk to him about a contract at this time," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "His agent is working with the club to see what they can do."
The assumption is Suri is trying to buy out his contract or establish some sort of out option. His agent declined comment. But the web site swisshockeynews.ch reported such a clause has been worked out.
The web site reported Suri will be free to sign with an NHL team this summer with the caveat that if he returns to Switzerland before 2017, he must fulfill the final year of his deal. There was no immediate confirmation from the Lightning about such an arrangement, which the web site said still must be approved by the Swiss federation.
Suri, 24, has 12 goals and a career-bests of 23 assists and 35 points in 43 games this season for Zug. In an interview with the Swiss web site RTS.ch -- you can read that interview here -- Suri, who will play for Switzerland at next month's Sochi Olympics, said he expects to eventually sign with Tampa Bay.
But Yzerman said the Lightning cannot do anything until Suri, 6 feet, 185 pounds, is free of his Zug obligations. If an accommodation is not reached, Tampa Bay will have to wait for Suri to become a free agent.
"Whatever he's able to work out with his Swiss club, it's out of our hands," Yzerman said. "There's nothing we can do at this time."