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Rafalski signing with ECHL Florida interesting, if nothing else

9

January

Interesting development on Thursday as ECHL Florida signed 40-year-old defenseman Brian Rafalski.

Why is this interesting? Because the Lightning shares the Estero-based franchise with the Hurricanes, and because Rafalski played for the Red Wings from 2007-11, a time when Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was a Detroit executive. Everblades coach Greg Poss told the News-Press in Fort Myers that Rafalksi got the bug when he played in the Winter Classic. Yzerman played in that game, too.

That's a lot of what-ifs, and Yzerman on Thursday through a team spokesman said he knew nothing about Rafalski and had nothing to say.

Rafalski also lives in the Fort Myers area, has been a youth coach for the Everblades and apparently has served as the team's chaplain.

But the Lightning certainly could use some blue line depth, and with Rafalski down the road in Estero, it's not a stretch to believe Yzerman will at least keep an eye on him.

"He played in the Winter Classic and got the bug," Poss told the News-Press. "He wants to play in the NHL again."

"I'm just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey," Rafalski said in a statement released by the Everblades.

Rafalski, who retired after the Wings' 2011 Stanley Cup playoff run has 79 goals and 515 points in 833 career games for the Devils and Detroit. A three-time Stanley Cup champ (twice with New Jersey, once with the Red Wings), Rafalski also played for the United States in three Olympics.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 9, 2014 9:25pm]

    

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