Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning gets rights to Malone, Roberts from Penguins

Oren Koules vowed the Lightning would be "shockingly aggressive" during free agency, and the owner is acting like he means it.

Continuing a quest to fill the gaps on its forward lines, Tampa Bay on Saturday traded for the negotiating rights to left wings Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, both of whom can become unrestricted free agents Tuesday.

The Penguins got the 2009 fourth-round draft choice the Lightning acquired from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal.

If Tampa Bay signs Malone, 28, one of the prime pieces of merchandise in the potential free-agent market, the compensation becomes a third-round pick.

"He's prototypical of what all of us have been looking for in a hockey player," Koules said. "He's absolutely what we want."

Undoubtedly to play on a line with center and No. 1 draft pick Steve Stamkos.

Roberts, 42, who has 434 goals in a 20-year career that includes a Stanley Cup title with the 1988-89 Flames, would be a third-line grinder and an instant leader.

"We've been talking so much about changing the culture of our dressing room to make sure it's 20 guys going in the same direction," Koules said. "There's nobody who epitomizes team and ruggedness and willingness to win a hockey game than Gary Roberts. We want that voice and leadership in our room."

The Lightning has two days to sign the players before they hit the open market and can sign with any team. Considering how late it is in the game, Tampa Bay must believe something will get done. If so, especially with Malone, it will drastically change how it operates during free agency.

"We're still going to be active," Koules said. "But we can be a little choosier."

That is because Malone, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound buzz saw, will fill one of two up-for-grabs spots on Stamkos' line.

The Pittsburgh native had career highs of 27 goals, 24 assists and 51 points last season. He had 11 power-play goals and six winners. He plays in front of the net and with an edge that produced 103 penalty minutes. And he missed only a few minutes of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final after a shot broke his nose.

A problem could be his salary. With free-agent depth so shallow at forward, there is potential to overpay. Speculation is Malone might want $5-million.

Asked if he was worried about overpaying, Koules said, "No."

Roberts was believed headed to the Maple Leafs or Senators after saying he wanted to play closer to his North York, Ontario, home. But he waived a no-trade clause, so there must be interest.

He had three goals in 38 games last season, shortened by a broken left leg and ankle sprain.

Agent Rich Curran said his client so enjoyed playing with Pittsburgh's youngsters, such as Jordan Staal, he relishes the chance to play with Stamkos.

"Rob gets excited about stuff like that," Curran said. "He sees this as a great opportunity to work with and play alongside and help what is likely one of the next great young players."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning gets rights to Malone, Roberts from Penguins 06/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2008 4:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.