Stephane Veilleux said he will be happy to play as a checking forward next season. But it is the opportunity to expand his game and make a greater offensive contribution that convinced him to sign a one-year deal with the Lightning.
Veilleux said he turned down a two-year deal from the Sharks.
"It comes down to where you want to be a little more involved than just a checking role," he said Thursday at the Ice Sports Forum. "I'm 27 years old. I feel strong physically. Now, I'm ready to take the next step."
The first step for the right wing was six seasons playing for the Wild and coach Jacques Lemaire. To say the creator of the neutral-zone trap is defensive-minded is an understatement, and Veilleux said the tutorial was invaluable: "He got me a lot of experience and made me a really reliable player who can play against top lines and 15 minutes a game."
It is exactly the role Veilleux said the Sharks wanted him to play. The Lightning believes Veilleux could play as a top-six forward, and that means skating with Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Alex Tanguay and Steven Stamkos.
Tampa Bay doesn't expect Veilleux, with 43 goals and 90 points in 361 NHL games, to put up top-six numbers. It does expect him, with his speed and quality play against the wall, to complement the offensive sensibilities of his linemates. "If it's there for me," Veilleux said, "I'm going to have to earn it. It's not going to just come, but I feel real positive about the situation."
WELCOME, ADAM OATES: The center, one of the game's greatest passers, will serve as a power-play coach during training camp "as a favor to me," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said.
The position is unpaid, Tocchet said, and added that officially adding Oates to the staff could come later. Tocchet and Oates were teammates with the Flyers, Capitals and Bruins, and Tocchet said Oates, sixth all time with 1,079 assists, was "one of the best in the business" on the power play.
"I love his philosophy on the power play, and he has a great mind," Tocchet said. "He said he'd love to come to camp for a couple of weeks and relay some points."
CHANCE TO SHINE: All Brett McLean wanted was an opportunity, and the Lightning was happy to provide a training-camp tryout the center hopes will lead to a one-way contract.
"I think we're all on the same page as far as what I would like to have happen at the end of this tryout," McLean, 31, said.
McLean had seven goals, 19 points and 29 penalty minutes in 80 games last season for the Panthers. He had 14 and 15 goals the previous two seasons for Florida and the Avalanche, respectively.
Those numbers scream third line, just the area Tampa Bay wants to reinforce.
"There are absolutely no guarantees," McLean said.
ROOKIE CAMP: The four-day event at the Ice Sports Forum wraps up today with a 10:45 a.m. scrimmage. It is free and open to the public.
ODDS AND ENDS: Fifty-two players will be in training camp, which begins Saturday. ... Stamkos said he spent the summer working out with former teammate Gary Roberts at Roberts' home gym in Uxbridge, Ontario. How tough a trainer is the well-known fitness buff? "Has to be a 9 or a 91/2," Stamkos said. For more on Stamkos' training, go to tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.... The Lightning's Sept. 24 preseason game in Winnipeg against the Oilers will be televised by the NHL Network.
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Around the league
COYOTES: The bankruptcy judge handling the auction of the team raised the "more than theoretical" possibility of rejecting both bids to buy it. Judge Redfield T. Baum made the comment as the two-day auction began. Blackberry billionaire Jim Balsillie has made a bid contingent on moving the team to Ontario. The other bid is by the NHL, which says it will resell the team outside of the bankruptcy process.
OLYMPICS: Capitals star Alex Ovechkin says he wants a meeting of players to talk about participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The NHL is not committed to having players take part past next year. Ovechkin wasn't backing off comments he made the previous day that he planned to play in the 2014 Games whether the league sanctions his participation or not. Some owners reportedly are not in favor of having the league shut down during the Olympics.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.
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Lightning training camp
When: Saturday through Sept. 18
Where: Ice Sports Forum, Brandon; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa
Watch: Workouts are free and open to the public.
Parking: Free at the Ice Sports Forum; free in the VIP West lot at the Times Forum.
Autographs: Players sometimes sign when coming off the ice.
Fan parties: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at the Ice Sports Forum (entertainment, fan land, games); 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Times Forum (free lunch).
(SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
Saturday (Ice Sports Forum): on-ice testing, 10 a.m.
Sunday: (Ice Sports Forum): practice, 10 a.m.
Monday (Ice Sports Forum): scrimmages at 10 and 11:15 a.m.
Tuesday (Times Forum): practice, 9:45 a.m.
Wednesday: game at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday (Times Forum): practice, 10 a.m.
Sept. 18 (Times Forum): pregame skate, 10:30 a.m.; game vs. Thrashers, 7:30 p.m.