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Tampa Bay Lightning brings back Michel Ouellet, makes Brett Connolly signing official

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed right wing Michel Ouellet to a one-year, two-way deal and made the signing of 2010 first-round pick Brett Connolly official.

Ouellet, 29, had 17 goals and 36 points in what was a disappointing 2007-08 season for Tampa Bay. Connolly actually signed last month, but he paperwork wasn't filed until today.

Here is the announcement about Ouellet:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent right wing Michel Ouellet (wuh-LEHT) to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The forward also played for the Lightning during the 2007-08 season.

Ouellet, 6-foot, 203 pounds, has spent the previous two seasons in Europe. Last year he played in 39 games for the Hamburg Freezers of the German Elite League, notching 11 goals and 28 points. He ranked fourth on the team in points and was also tied for third for assists and fourth for goals. In 2009-10, Ouellet skated for Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss Elite League, recording a goal and five points in 11 games.

A native of Rimouski, Quebec, Ouellet has played in 190 career NHL games with the Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks. During that time he has amassed 52 goals, 27 power-play goals and 116 points. Ouellet played in 64 games with Tampa Bay during the 2007-08 season, registering 17 goals and 36 points, both the second-highest totals of his career. That season he led the Bolts in plus/minus rating with a plus-11 and was fourth in goals. Ouellet has played in five Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Pittsburgh in 2007, notching two assists.

Originally drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round, 124th overall, at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet has played in 228 career AHL games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Manitoba Moose, amassing 84 goals and 184 points during his AHL career. In 2003-04, his first in the league, Ouellet finished first among rookies with 30 goals and fifth among first-year players with 49 points to lead his team in both categories. He has also played in 33 career Calder Cup Playoff games, recording four goals and 17 points.

Ouellet played four junior seasons for the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 224 career games with the Oceanic, Ouellet tallied 125 goals and 299 points.

Here is the announcement about Connolly:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed right wing Brett Connolly to a standard three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Connolly, 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, spent last season with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League, recording 46 goals, 27 assists and 73 points in 59 games played. He set WHL career-highs for goals and points while also ranking third among all WHL goal-scorers. His 15 power-play goals ranked 12th.

A native of Campbell River, British Colombia, Connolly has spent each of the past four seasons with Prince George of the WHL. Throughout his career he has amassed 86 goals and 152 points in 144 WHL games. He has also appeared in five career postseason games, registering two points.

Prior to being selected by the Lightning with the sixth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, Connolly was ranked third among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting. In 2008-09, Connolly led the Cougars with 30 goals, 30 assists and 60 points in 65 games. He also tied for the team lead in playoff points that season, recording two assists. Also in 2008-09, Connolly became the first 16-year-old Western Hockey League rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Patrick Marleau accomplished the feat in 1995-96. He finished with a team-high 60 points and beat out Evgeny Grachev and Dmitry Kulikov to be named the Canadian Hockey League and WHL Rookie of the Year.

In addition to his success in the North American ranks, Connolly has also excelled on the international stage. He most recently represented Team Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Championships held in Buffalo, New York, where he recorded three assists in seven games in helping his team to a silver medal. In addition, Connolly appeared in the 2010 Under-18 World Championships for the second consecutive year after also being selected in 2009. During the 2009 tournament, Connolly was the youngest player on Team Canada, recording six points in six games. During that same year, at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge, he led Team Pacific with eight points in six games en route to winning a silver medal.

Tampa Bay Lightning brings back Michel Ouellet, makes Brett Connolly signing official 07/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 1:47pm]
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