Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning works on re-signing restricted free agents

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

And the team was scheduled to meet with defenseman Mark Barberio's camp Thursday night in Philadelphia, so a deal could be done soon.

Panik, 23, had three goals and 10 assists 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 Panik and Connolly, who have 30 days to accept the offer or work out other terms.

Johannson added 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 include defensemen Andrej Sustr and Keith Aulie.

"We're slowly chipping away," GM Steve Yzerman said. "We're optimistic we'll get them done."

TOP OF CLASS: D Matt Niskanen told the Penguins he intends to test free agency starting Tuesday.

Let the bidding begin with the Lightning likely one of the many suitors. One of Tampa Bay's biggest needs is finding another top-four defenseman, specifically on the right side, and Niskanen, 27, fits that bill.

Niskanen, who shoots right, set career bests in games (81), goals (10) and points (46) last season. He made $2.5 million, will likely be looking for a long-term deal and, with many teams interested, could be expensive.

Other free agent defensemen include Dan Boyle, 37, who would be interested in returning to Tampa, where he played from 2002-08 and still owns property.

"At this point, Dan is going to be open to all options," agent George Bazos said. "I know he loves it down there. Winning the Cup (in 2004) and everything down there could be one of the highlights of his career."

The Rangers' Anton Stralman, 27, and Niskanen's teammate, Brooks Orpik, 33, among other defensemen, also should be available.

STAMKOS UPDATE: C Steven Stamkos said he planned to start his offseason workouts earlier than usual in an effort to strengthen his surgically repaired right leg. And the Lightning has received some positive reports on how its captain is progressing.

"As of last week, he was going at it really hard," Yzerman said. "He's going with no restrictions and very little, if any, discomfort.

"I can't give you whether he's 95 or 100 (percent). All I know is he's pushing hard."

BACKING UP: The Lightning is monitoring the free agent market for a veteran backup goalie with Yzerman saying he has a "short list." Yzerman insists while he didn't make a qualifying offer to Anders Lindback, he hasn't ruled out bringing him back.

"We want to see what the other options are," Yzerman said. "And our best option might be Anders."

LISTEN IN: The Lightning will do a draft show at 7 tonight on 970-AM with Rick Peckham, Bobby "The Chief" Taylor, Jassen Cullimore and Dave Mishkin.

Comments
Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Reports and rumors involving the Lightning leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26:Feb. 17A smaller move could pay big dividendsIf you look at the history of recent Stanley Cup champions, their pivotal moves were subtle, not splashy, the Time...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Devils’ Wood gets 2 games for boarding Namestnikov

Devils’ Wood gets 2 games for boarding Namestnikov

Devils forward Miles Wood was suspended two games without pay for his boarding penalty Saturday night against Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov during the second period of the Devils 4-3 victory.The hit knocked Namestnikov into the boards ...
Published: 02/18/18
Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

TAMPA — When it comes to the trade deadline, everyone wants the big names. They dream of blockbusters.Lightning fans would love Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson or Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Maybe even Rangers wing Rick Nash.But if you ...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

TAMPA — Lightning D Jake Dotchin was scratched Saturday against the Devils, making it the fifth time in six games that he did not play."Obviously the playing time is down a bit," Dotchin said after the morning skate. "I just got to keep working...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — It was a game for Cold War nostalgia and present-day geopolitical angst, for feisty, post-whistle scraps in the corners and for cheap jokes on Twitter. It was a game drenched in history at the start and simmering with ill fee...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Emphasis on ‘D’ continues as Lightning face Devils

Emphasis on ‘D’ continues as Lightning face Devils

The emphasis was on defense during Friday's practice and today's morning skate as the Lightning look to reduce not only the number of shots on goal allowed but also scoring chances. It allowed 39 in Thursday's win against the Red Wings and 33 in Thu...
Published: 02/17/18
Lightning falls to Devils

Lightning falls to Devils

TAMPA — The Lightning took enough shots to win Saturday’s game against the Devils. It scored enough goals to win, too. Problem was, the Lightning made enough mistakes to lose."There were a lot of positives," captain Steven Stamkos said, "but they sco...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk were dominating the NHL before Ryan Donato, Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway started playing organized hockey. "I think I dreamed about playing against those guys one day," Donato, 21, said. Dre...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18
Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans will have a chance to interact with Lightning players, coaches, staff and alumni and challenge them to games at the Bolts Family Carnival Feb. 18 from 1-4 p.m. at Amalie Arena.Games include derby race, wacky water race, high strik...
Published: 02/16/18