2010 NHL Free Agency: Lightning bring back Pavel Kubina with two-year deal

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kubina.jpgThis is just the beginning of Steve Yzerman’s time as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but so far, it seems like he’s introducing all kinds of new things to the franchise (like, say, “competence”). There are certainly some winds of change blowing through Tampa, but if Bolts fans were hoping for a little bit of familiarity, look no further than the team’s reported signing of Pavel Kubina.

Dave Pagnotta reports that the team handed the big defenseman a two-year deal, although financial terms have not yet been disclosed. (Update: Pierre LeBrun reports that the deal is for $7.7 million over two years. That’s a bit of a bargain, I’d say.)

Kubina spent the first eight years of his career with the Lightning (ranging from 1997-98 to 2005-06). He was a big part – literally and figuratively, since he’s listed at 6-4, 250 lbs. – of the team’s Stanley Cup run during the 03-04 season. After 05-06, the Toronto Maple Leafs snatched him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Kubina spent last season with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Aside from an injury-shortened 06-07 season, Kubina steadily produced between 35 and 40 points since that Cup-winning season in 03-04. Overall, he hit the 40-point mark twice and the 30-point mark five times in his solid 12-year career.

The Lightning now have Kubina, Mattias Ohlund and sophomore Victor Hedman as their top three defensemen to go along with the three Matts (Walker, Lashoff and Smaby). CapGeek’s breakdown of the roster is almost mind blowing, as the team seemingly only has four big ticket forwards under contract (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone). Naturally, there are always minor league players, but that’s still a surprising vision.

So, obviously, Yzerman has plenty of work to do in re-making the Lightning roster. That being said, he’s looking like a Doogie Howser-lever fast learner so far.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?