Lightning buy out Malone, Callahan signing imminent (Updated)


The Tampa Bay Lightning have used a compliance buyout to get rid of the final season of Ryan Malone’s seven-year, $31.5 million contract, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The 34-year-old forward is coming off of a rough campaign where he suffered a fractured ankle in November and finished with just five goals and 15 points in 57 games. He’s also facing charges of DUI and cocaine possession, for which he’s pleaded not guilty.

The Lightning’s decision to buy him out might go beyond what Malone did in 2013-14 though. The team is reportedly on the verge of signing forward Ryan Callahan to a five or six year contract that’s projected to come with a cap hit in excess of $5.5 million, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Getting Malone’s $4.5 million cap hit off the books would go a long way towards minimizing the short-term impact of that signing.

Assuming the report is true, Malone’s tenure with the Lightning lasted six seasons. Pittsburgh dealt him and Gary Roberts to Tampa Bay back in the summer of 2008 in exchange for a third-round pick (which became Ben Hanowski). Malone has 179 goals and 370 points in 641 career games.

Update: The Lightning have made Malone’s buyout official.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.