New Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman continues to remake the Lightning roster. After re-signing Marty St. Louis and signing goalie Dan Ellis and defenseman Pavel Kubina last week, Stevie Y stayed busy this week.
Bolts re-sign defenseman Mike Lundin and forward Teddy Purcell
Lundin has appeared in 155 games in three seasons with Tampa Bay. Last season he totaled three goals and ten assists and was a minus-four. Mike has proven that he belongs in the NHL. He was one of the few Lightning defenseman that was dependable.
Purcell was acquired by the Bolts from the Kings last season. In 19 games he recorded three goals and six assists. In 110 career games over his three seasons, he has 11 goals and 23 assists.
This is a solid signing by GM Steve Yzerman. Purcell has great hands and is a good skater. The knock on him has been that he won’t get involved along the boards and shies away from contact. He proved otherwise last season in his short stint with the Bolts. This is a player that can dominate offensively. Keep a close eye on him.
Lightning sign veteran defenseman Brett Clark
Clark spent the previous six seasons with Colorado and last season he had three goals and 20 points with a plus-six over 64 games.
“In Brett Clark, we are adding an experienced, intelligent defenseman who plays the game efficiently,” said GM Steve Yzerman said. “He’ll not only help steady and stabilize our defense, we expect him to help mentor our younger defensemen as they grow and develop. We are pleased he elected to join the Lightning today.”
Clark seems to be a bit of an enigma. He’s known as a shot blocker and good passer, but turns the puck over way too much. Many Avalanche bloggers and fans were happy to see Clark go.
In adding Clark, the Lightning are preparing for the departure of defenseman Paul Ranger .
Coach Guy Boucher was quoted as saying. “The goaltending is set, the defense is set, we are still looking to fill 2-3 forward spots.”
Nate Thompson files for salary arbitration
Center Nate Thompson, was the only Lightning player to file for arbitration. Nate and the Lightning will negotiate until the yet to be scheduled hearing. In 32 games with the Bolts last season, he had one goal and three assists. He is a great face-off man and a solid defensive forward.
I have been a Thompson supporter since he came to the Lightning last year, but this is shocking to me. What has he done to deserve more than $550,000?
Lightning Prospects Camp begins on Saturday.
Lightning coach Guy Boucher said of the camp, “Every year guys have a shot, sometimes it’s the people that we think, sometimes there are surprises, sometimes there are people that are more ready then others, and it really depends on how they conduct themselves this week, but its mostly what they do come camp time. This week is not a training camp. A lot of people want it to be, but its not. Its a development camp, so we put the emphasis on development, on them feeling good being there, learning skills and what they need to do on and off ice. Basically learning what they need to do to become a pro.”
I attended the camp every day last year and it was a great place to be on a hot summer day in Tampa. With free admission and unprecedented access to the Bolts “Young Guns, it is hard to beat. Get all the details here.
GM Steve Yzerman still has work to do.
The Lightning currently has only five forwards (St. Louis, Lecavalier, Stamkos, Malone and Purcell) signed to go with eight defensemen (Ohlund, Hedman, Clark, Walker, Kubina, Smaby, Lashoff and Lundin) and the two goalies (Smith and Ellis).
Yzerman has stated that, for now the Lightning will roster eight defensemen.
“It doesn’t mean we will and I’m not saying for certain, but for the time being having eight defensemen isn’t too many,” Yzerman said. ” It’s better if we had the flexibility of one or two on two-way (contracts), but this give me a chance to assess and see where they are.”
While it seems that Yzerman wants defenseman Paul Ranger in the fold, he is proceeding like the team will go forward without him. Yzerman said he has had contact with Ranger’s agent, but that, “the player’s future has not been nailed down.” Coach Boucher talked about the Ranger situation in Tampa’s Creative Loafing: “We feel that he is a guy that is definitely a solid defenseman who can help our squad. It always depends on where he is in his life right now. We will find out in the coming months how he feels and if he is ready to come back. We are not here to push people. I think the worst thing you can do in circumstances like that is make speculations on how he feels and what he wants. So we are patient in this case.”
Certainly forwards Nate Thompson and Steve Downie will be a part of this team, but the fate of the rest of the free agent Lightning forwards is not known. Adam Hall, Paul Szczechura, James Wright, Blair Jones, Carter Ashton, Niklas Persson, Johan Harju and Dana Tyrell are in the mix.
About the Author: WB Philp is a published hockey writer who has a built in disdain for Barry Melrose. He covered the Detroit sports teams for many years until he came to his senses and moved to the Sunshine State. He is a true puckhead on a mission from God (Gordie Howe) to make hockey relevant in the south. He lives in Hockey Bay USA and covers the Lightning full time. Did I mention he hates Barry Melrose?