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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. Tampa puts in bid to host 2018 WJC

    Blog

    Tampa has put in an official bid to host the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships. 

    The WJC is a prestigious and popular tournament featuring the top junior players in the world, many of whom make the NHL. About 350,000 attended this year's tournament in Montreal and Toronto. 

    Tampa, which will host its second Frozen Four (NCAA Championship) in April at Amalie Arena, likely will have some strong competition. While it is unclear what other cities put in their bids by the end of June deadline, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Arizona were among the teams that had reportedly shown interest. ...

    Connor McDavid of Canada looks to shoot the puck near Brandon Carlo of the U.S. during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship game at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
  2. Talks not begun on Stamkos contract extension

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning and captain Steven Stamkos haven't begun negotiations for a contract extension, agent Don Meehan said Wednesday.

    But that shouldn't be a cause for concern. It's mostly a reflection of how Tampa Bay's season didn't end until mid June with a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.

    "For the moment, simply an issue of timing," Meehan said.

    Stamkos has one year remaining on his current deal, with a $7.5 million salary cap hit next season. General manager Steve Yzerman said re-signing Stamkos was his "No. 1 priority" this offseason. Stamkos could sign an extension starting July 1....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) after berating New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) to score during first period action of game three of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amalie Arena in Tampa Wednesday evening (5/20/15).
  3. Stamkos contract negotiations haven't started yet

    Blog

    The Lightning and captain Steven Stamkos haven't begun negotiations for a contract extension, agent Don Meehan said Wednesday. 

    But that shouldn't be a cause for concern, mostly a reflection of how Tampa Bay's season didn't end until mid-June. 

    "For the moment, simply an issue of timing," Meehan told the Times. 

    Stamkos has one year remaining on his current deal, with a $7.5 million cap hit next season. General manager Steve Yzerman said re-signing Stamkos was his "No. 1 priority" this offseason. Stamkos is expected to warrant a deal in the range of the eight-year, $84 million extensions Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signed last summer. The fact the Blues inked star Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million deal this week likely means Stamkos' price isn't coming down. ...

  4. Lightning sees bright futures for Adam Wilcox, Matthew Peca

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Goalie Adam Wilcox said he always knew in his heart he would stay with the Lightning organization.

    Forward Matthew Peca wasn't exactly sure what would happen, but at the end of the day, he wanted to remain with Tampa Bay.

    Both former college standouts and Lightning late-round draft picks in 2011 had a chance to become unrestricted free agents this year, but they elected to sign two-year, two-way deals with the Tampa Bay on April 1. The transactions might have seemed like small footnotes as the Lightning prepared for a playoff run. But to the team's management, they were a coup....

    Goalie Adam Wilcox, pictured, and forward Matthew Peca have been two of the best players on the ice during this week's development camp at the Ice Sports Forum, with each expected to make significant contributions this fall in Syracuse. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  5. 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]
  6. 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]
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 forward Slater Koekkoek, left, battles Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf.
  10. 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.
  11. 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....

  12. 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]
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.