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Tampa Bay Lightning, Benoit Pouliot committed to making deal; preseason schedule released

There is no guarantee the Lightning will sign Benoit Pouliot before Sunday, the start of free agency, his agent and general manager Steve Yzerman said. If a deal is not done, the left wing will become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team.

But agent Kent Hughes said his client is committed to Tampa Bay, which acquired Pouliot on Saturday from the Bruins for minor-leaguer Michel Ouellet and a fifth-round draft choice.

"We've had productive enough conversations that at this point I'm confident it gets done," Hughes said Thursday. "I'm not particularly worried in terms of a time line, whether it gets done pre July 1 or at some point later on. We've made enough strides, and we've communicated this is where we want him to be."

Pouliot, 25, who made $1.1 million last season, would have been a restricted free agent had the Lightning given him a qualifying offer. But it feared Pouliot, through arbitration, would have been awarded more money than it wanted to pay.

Not making a qualifying offer prevented Pouliot from using his arbitration rights. It did, however, create the chance the Lightning might lose control of a player who scored 16 goals last season for Boston, was plus-18 and who will get a chance to earn a top-six role.

Not to worry, Yzerman said: "I'm confident we'll have a deal done. He'll be signed and play for us next year."

Lightning's LEE SIGNS: Defenseman Brian Lee signed a two-year, $2.3 million deal that will pay $1 million next season and $1.3 million in 2013-14. Lee, 25, had eight assists in 20 games for the Lightning after he was acquired in February from the Senators for defenseman Matt Gilroy.

Salary cap: The cap for next season will be $70.2 million and the floor $54.2 million, the league and players association said, though that could change under the new collective bargaining agreement. The current deal expires Sept. 15. The league and union are scheduled to begin negotiations on a new deal today. The union has 31 players from 19 teams on its negotiating committee; the Lightning is not represented.

Kings: Goalie Jonathan Quick, the playoff MVP for the Stanley Cup winners, agreed to a 10-year contract extension valued between $55 million and $60 million, according to media reports. The deal begins after next season and runs through 2022-23, when Quick will be 37.

Bruins: Goalie Tuukka Rask, who could be a restricted free agent Sunday, agreed on a one-year deal worth a reported, $3.5 million. With Tim Thomas' status in flux — he has said he would take off next season; reports also have circulated he will waive his no-trade clause — Rask likely will be the starter.

canucks: Backup goalie Cory Schneider agreed "in principle" to a new contract, general manager Mike Gillis said. The deal is for three years and $12 million, according to media reports. Schneider, 26, was set to become a restricted free agent on Sunday. Rumors have been strong this month that Vancouver is trying to trade its No. 1 goalie, Roberto Luongo.


Preseason schedule

Tampa Bay's seven-game preseason schedule, released Thursday, includes two games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum — Sept. 26 against the Blues and Oct. 4 against the Panthers — and games in Orlando against the Hurricanes and in Estero against the Panthers.

• Sept. 26 vs. Blues, 7:30

• Sept. 27 vs. Hurricanes at Amway Center, Orlando, 7

• Sept. 28 at St. Louis, 8

• Sept. 30 at Carolina, 2

• Oct. 2 vs. Panthers, Germain Arena, Estero, 7

• Oct. 4 vs. Panthers, 7:30

• Oct. 6 at Florida, 7:30

Tampa Bay Lightning, Benoit Pouliot committed to making deal; preseason schedule released 06/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 12:03am]
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