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Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer

Joe Smith

Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the Times in 2006 after spending two years with the Modesto Bee in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the Michigan Daily. He freelanced for the Associated Press and Detroit Free Press before securing internships at Crain's Detroit Business and the Raleigh News & Observer. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke.

Phone: (813) 310 9024

Email: joesmith@tampabay.com

Blogs:

Lightning Strikes

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  1. Lightning signs free agent winger Erik Condra from Senators

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Ten years ago, Erik Condra was an usher in Lightning coach Jon Cooper's wedding.

    For the next three seasons, Condra, 28, is expected to be a versatile, bottom-six winger and key penalty killer for Cooper, his former coach for Texarkana (NAHL). Tampa Bay signed Condra to a three-year, $3.75 million deal on Wednesday's first day of free agency.

    "I was more than excited," said Condra, a right-shot who leaves the Senators after five seasons. "It's always nice to go to a top-end team that's competing for the Cup."...

    For the next three seasons, Erik Condra, 28, is expected to be a versatile, bottom-six winger and key penalty killer for the Lightning. [Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP]
  2. Bokondji Imama aims to show Lightning more than fighting skill

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Sixth-round pick RW Bokondji Imama loves to fight.

    Just ask fellow Lightning prospect LW Adam Erne, who knows from experience.

    "He tried to jump me," Erne said, smiling. "He does that to everybody."

    Imama, 18, and Erne, 20, have played against each other often in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. During one game, Erne, with Quebec, mixed it up with Imama, who played for Baie-Comeau and Saint John....

    Bokondji Imama reacts after being selected 180th overall by the the Lightning during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center last month in Sunrise. [Getty Images]
  3. Erik Condra signs three-year deal with Lightning

    Blog

    The Lightning won't get an extension done with captain Steven Stamkos today, as that will likely take some time.

    But Tampa Bay did made an addition during the opening day of free agency, signing wing Erik Condra to a three-year deal, which carries a $1.25 million average. With GM Steve Yzerman saying they don't plan to bring back veteran Brenden Morrow, the Lightning wanted to add one more forward, and Condra came well-recommended by their scouts....

    Erik Condra (22) has played the last five seasons with the Senators, racking up nine goals and 14 assists in 68 games. He's also good on the penalty kill.
  4. Quiet Lightning free agency, Stamkos talks expected

    Blog

    Update 12:21 p.m.  Though the Lightning was expecting to be quiet, it wasn't going to do nothing. And Tampa Bay has apparently expressed interest in Ottawa RW Erik Condra (per SportsNet), who played for coach Jon Cooper in Texarkana, and Russian RR Viktor Tikhonov (per Ryan Kennedy).

    Tampa Bay isn't expected to bring back UFA Brenden Morrow, but if the Lightning signs either one of those two, it would have to make room on its forward roster to do so....

    Steven Stamkos likely will warrant a new deal in the eight-year, $84 million range that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got from the Blackhawks last summer.
  5. NHL free agency might be quiet for Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — On the first day of free agency last summer, Steve Yzerman was a busy man.

    The Lightning general manager signed three players, shelling out a combined $30 million to defenseman Anton Stralman, center Brian Boyle and backup goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

    But as free agency opens at noon today, Yzerman likely will be doing more window shopping than actual buying.

    With the Lightning's roster pretty much set, and only about $1 million in cap space, Yzerman admits he's not in position to do anything of significance. He could unload a contract to give him more room, but he said he isn't pursuing it....

    Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has taken care of a large portion of his offseason to-do list, including signing restricted free agent defenseman Andrej Sustr to a two-year, $2.9 million deal Tuesday. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  6. Lightning signs Andrej Sustr to two year deal

    Blog

    The Lightning has signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a two-year, $2.9 million deal.

    It comes as little surprise as Sustr, 24, a restricted free agent, was a mainstay on the Lightning blueline last season, racking up 13 assists in 72 games. Sustr was in the third pairing, for the most part, with veteran Matt Carle.

    A 6-foot-7, 220-pound defenseman, Sustr still has some room to improve, coming off just his second NHL season....

    Andrej Sustr, 24, a restricted free agent, was a mainstay on the Lightning blueline last season, racking up 13 assists in 72 games.
  7. Dave Andreychuk misses out on 2015 Hall of Fame class

    Lightning Strikes

    For former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk, the wait continues.

    Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon.

    The five-player class included four male players, with Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley. Women's star Angela Ruggiero also made it, with Peter Karmanos in as a builder.

    While Lidstrom, Fedorov and Pronger appeared to be locks, you could make an argument Andreychuk should have made it in over Housley. Andreychuk has 640 career goals, 14th all time, the only 600-goal scorer in league history not in the Hall of Fame. Andreychuk also has the NHL record for power play goals. Andreychuk captained the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004, remaking his game late in his 23-year career....

  8. Lightning cuts Mark Barberio loose

    Lightning Strikes

    In some ways, Lightning D Mark Barberio saw the writing on the wall.

    Barberio, 25, was essentially the eighth defenseman down the stretch, appearing in just one game in the two-month Stanley Cup playoff run, especially with rookie Nikita Nesterov emerging. So when Barberio was not given a qualifying offer Monday, "it wasn't a complete shock."

    Barberio, the Lightning's sixth-round pick in 2008, will be an unrestricted free agent Wednesday....

    Mark Barberio, 25, was essentially the team's eighth defenseman down the stretch, appearing in just one game in the two-month Stanley Cup playoff run. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  9. Andreychuk not in 2015 Hall of Fame class

    Blog

    For former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk, the wait continues. 

    Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon. 

    The five-player class included four male players, with Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley. Women's star Angela Ruggiero also made it, with Peter Karmanos in as a builder. 

    While Lidstrom, Fedorov and Pronger appeared to be locks, you could make an argument Andreychuk should have made it in over Housley. Andreychuk has 640 career goals, 14th all time, the only 600-goal scorer in league history not in the Hall of Fame. Andreychuk also has NHL record for power play goals. Andreychuk captained the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004, remaking his game late in his 23-year career. ...

    Dave Andreychuk did not make the 2015 Hall of Fame class, which was announced Monday afternoon.
  10. Barberio not issued qualifying offer by Lightning

    Blog

    In some ways, Lightning defenseman Mark Barberio saw the writing on the wall.

    Barberio, 25, essentially the team's seventh defenseman the past two seasons, played in just one game during the two-month Stanley Cup playoff run, with rookie Nikita Nesterov emerging. So when Barberio, 24, was not given a qualifying offer Monday, "it wasn't a complete shock."

    Barberio, the Lightning's sixth round pick in 2008, will be an unrestricted free agent Wednesday....

    Defenseman Mark Barberio was not given a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
  11. Dave Andreychuk could get call from NHL Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    The Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will announce the 2015 inductees at 4 p.m. today.

    And it certainly seems as if it could be time for former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk to get his much-awaited call.

    The committee can add up to four male members. There are a few no-doubt locks like Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger as well as likely Sergei Fedorov. But one could make a strong case for Andreychuk as the fourth....

    Dave Andreychuk is the only 600-goal scorer not inducted.
  12. Lightning make qualifying offers to three, sign Marchessault

    Blog

    The Lightning continues to chip away at its offseason checklist, making qualifying offers to defensemen Andrej Sustr and Luke Witkowski, along with center Vladislav Namestnikov.

    Tampa Bay also signed forward Jonathan Marchessault to a one-year, two-way deal and forward Brian Hart to a three-year, two-way entry level contract.

    In making a qualifying offers to Sustr, 24, Witkowski and Namestnikov, team retains their rights, with both sides planning to continue to talk. Tampa Bay has until Monday's deadline to extend offers to its other RFAs, including defenseman Mark Barberio, who could end up the odd man out....

  13. Lightning 2014 top pick Anthony DeAngelo maturing on, off ice

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman are fantastic at fueling the rush. The smooth-skating Swedes often stole the show during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    But when it comes to playmaking, puck-moving defensemen in the Lightning organization, 2014 first-round pick Anthony DeAngelo has few peers.

    "Hedman and Stralman are special players, the way they skate and move the puck and defend so well," said Stacy Roest, Tampa Bay's director of player development. "But Tony, moving the puck, he's right up there. He needs more experience, you can't rush it. But it's just a matter of time."...

    Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo had 25 goals and 64 assists in 55 games last season between Sarnia and Sault Ste. Marie.
  14. Will Dave Andreychuk finally get the call into Hall of Fame?

    Blog

    The Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will announce the 2015 inductees Monday at 4 p.m.

    And it certainly seems like it could be time for former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk to get his much-awaited call.

    The committee can add up to four male members. There are a few no-doubt locks like Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger, as well as likely Sergei Fedorov. But you could make a strong case for Andreychuk as a possible fourth Andreychuk is the only 600-goal scorer (640) not already in the Hall of Fame, has the most power play goals in NHL history (274). Andreychuk also captained the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, remaking his game at the latter stages of his career....

  15. Lightning takes OHL center Mitchell Stephens with top pick

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Mitchell Stephens' nickname is "Chubby," and it has nothing to do with his 5-foot-11, 188-pound frame.

    Stephens, 18, selected in the second round (33rd overall) by the Lightning in Saturday's NHL draft, was 5 years old at his local rink in Peterborough, Ontario, when his foot hurt.

    "Just suck it up," his father, Lee, told him.

    But when Stephens continued to complain, they took off his skate and found a cap from Chubby's soda inside....

    SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 27:  Mitchell Stephens poses after being selected 33rd overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) 560358021