Lightning sign Keith Aulie to a one-year contract


On most teams, Keith Aulie would tower over every other defenseman at 6-foot-6. In Tampa Bay, he’s one of several big blueliners.*

The Lightning kept it that way on Wednesday, signing the 24-year-old to a one-year, one-way contract.

Financial details were not disclosed, but NBC Sports Talk 1040’s Mike Corcoran reports that it’s worth $975K.

He was drafted in the fourth round (116th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2007. He was part of the trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs and was then traded from Toronto to Tampa Bay in 2011-12.

Aulie generated career-highs in games played (45), goals (two), assists (five), points (seven), plus/minus (+1) and penalty minutes (60) this season.

* Five of the seven defensemen listed are 6-foot-3 or taller, including Victor Hedman (who’s also 6-foot-6). No one’s under 6 feet tall.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”