The Lightning on Friday filled two key positions with one swoop, hiring Julien BriseBois as an assistant general manager and as GM of its AHL affiliate in Norfolk, Va.
BriseBois was the Canadiens vice president of hockey operations and their capologist. A lawyer, he helped negotiate contracts, has an extensive knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement and spent the past three seasons as general manager of AHL Hamilton.
"His education, his experience are all the things I was looking for in an assistant," said Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, who called BriseBois "one of the best young minds in the game."
BriseBois said he left Montreal after nine years to help further his career by "gaining different experiences, working with new people, extending my network around the NHL and seeing how things are done in another organization."
He said it was a "happy coincidence" that he rejoins Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who last season coached the Bulldogs.
BriseBois, 33, is the AHL's youngest GM. Boucher, 38, is the NHL's youngest coach.
BriseBois' duties will be the same as with Montreal, he said, but he knows his priority is helping fix a Norfolk team that has missed the playoffs three straight seasons.
"I need to dig in to that situation," said BriseBois, 137-78-25 at Hamilton. "I know it's been a rough couple of years for our partners and fans there, and we want to turn that situation around."
BriseBois, who will report to Yzerman, said it is too early to say whether Jim Johnson will return as Norfolk's coach but added, "My mandate is to put together a strong development program for our prospects and put together a winning and entertaining team for the fans in Norfolk."
TWO PLAYERS SIGN: Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Nate Thompson by signing him to a one-year, $625,000 deal. The center had a goal and four points in 32 games after being claimed off waivers in January from the Islanders.
Paul Szczechura signed a one-year, two-way deal that will pay $550,000 if he is in the NHL and $105,000 if he is in the minors. The center had five goals, seven points in 52 games for the Lightning and eight goals, 29 points in 35 games for Norfolk.
LAWSUIT, PART II: The Lightning on Thursday sued Brian Rogers, the team's former vice president of business operations. The suit, filed in Hillsborough Civil Court, claims "breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing."
The suit is in response to Rogers' lawsuit against Tampa Bay, filed last month after he was fired, in which he asks for $350,000 to satisfy the remainder of his contract.
Rogers, on the job for two years, was hired by former co-owner Len Barrie.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com.