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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. NHL free agency period 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 will likely 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 a position to do anything of significance. He could unload a contract to give him more room, but 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]
  2. 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.
  3. 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....

  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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....

  9. 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."...

    Anthony DeAngelo won OHL defenseman of the year.
  10. 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....

  11. 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
  12. Draft over, Lightning focuses on new deal for Stamkos

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman left the BB&T Center on Saturday afternoon "happy and optimistic" with his nine-player draft class.

    Yzerman also appears content with his roster, as he's not "pursuing" any salary-cutting trades (such as dealing D Matt Carle) heading into Wednesday's opening of free agency.

    That means, with around $3 million left in the salary cap, it could be a quiet week....

    Steven Stamkos and his agent plan to meet today in Toronto.
  13. Lightning NHL Draft Live Blog: Stephens selected in 2nd round

    Blog

    The Lightning kicked off its draft Saturday morning, selecting center Mitchell Stephens from Saginaw (OHL).

    Stephens, a 6-foot- 187-pound right shot, is known for his two-way style and compete level, as well as a strong hockey sense. He believes he'll fit right in with the "high energy" players in the Tampa Bay system.

    "It's amazing feeling, I'm a little tight for words," Stephens said....

  14. Lightning trades out of first round in NHL draft

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Director of amateur scouting Al Murray joked he'll have to give the Lightning back a check for lack of work Friday night, as the team traded its only first-round pick.

    But Murray & Co. will certainly earn their keep today, as Tampa Bay has 10 selections from rounds two through seven, a great opportunity to replenish the prospect pool.

    The Lightning had the 28th overall selection Friday, but with a cluster of players that the team liked still available, general manager Steve Yzerman figured he could snag one of them by moving down five spots, shipping his pick to the Islanders for the No. 33 (second round) and No. 72 (third)....

    Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager, Steve Yzerman watches from high above the ice as the Lightning take on the Florida Panthers during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday evening (03/24/15). PHOTO TO PUBLISH with a story on Yzerman by Joe Smith on Sunday 4/12/15.  (NOTE: Yzerman was watching from a box next to the broadcast boxes and press box above the 300 level seating at the arena. He was photographed from the catwalk  at the start of the game).
  15. Lightning's Tyler Johnson won't need wrist surgery

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Lightning C Tyler Johnson will not need surgery this offseason to repair his broken right wrist, general manager Steve Yzerman said Friday.

    It's a good sign for Johnson, 24, who suffered the injury in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final landing on the wrist after a hit from Chicago D Brent Seabrook.

    Johnson, severely limited in the final, said at the end of the season he didn't think the wrist would require surgery, but had a physical to make sure. It doesn't appear that the injury will impact the start of next season for Johnson, who led the NHL with 13 postseason goals after racking up 29 in the regular season....

    Lightning center Tyler Johnson, front, celebrates during the Stanley Cup final, when he sustained a broken right wrist in Game 1.