Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning


Bolts sign Blunden to one-year, two-way deal


The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to do some lower-level housecleaning, as they signed forward Mike Blunden to a one-year, two-way contract on Monday.

There’s no word on the exact money involved at either the AHL or NHL level.

That’s especially relevant with Blunden, 28, as he’s likely to face an uphill battle to log many games with the Bolts. He managed to play in two games for Tampa Bay in 2014-15, and he’s seen 104 NHL games scattered throughout his career since first appearing with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006-07.

(The Blackhawks selected him in the second round – 43rd overall – in 2005.)

The one thing that stands out about Blunden is his size, as he’s listed at 6-foot-4, 216 lbs. With eight points in those 104 NHL regular season contests, his ceiling doesn’t seem too high, but it rarely hurts to add a big body as insurance in case injuries pile up.

The Lightning also locked down Jonathan Marchessault and Brian Hart on Sunday, so the Bolts are crossing off names from their to-do list lately.

They’ve also handed out qualifying offers:

Lightning sign forwards Marchessault, Hart

Jonathan Marchessault

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have signed forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Brian Hart.

Marchessault, 24, has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract. He spent the bulk of the 2014-15 campaign in the AHL where he scored 24 goals and 67 points in 68 contests. However, he was also used twice during Tampa Bay’s playoff run and averaged 11:27 minutes per game during that stretch. Prior to that, he scored his first career NHL goal on April 11 against Boston.

Hart is turning pro now that he’s armed with a three-year, entry-level contract. The 21-year-old spent the last three campaigns with Harvard, scoring 18 goals and 50 points in 98 career NCAA games.

Tampa Bay originally selected him with the 53rd overall 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

The Lightning have no shortage of restricted free agents that still need to be addressed, including Vladislav Namestnikov, Mark Barberio, and Andrej Sustr.

Linden defends Lack trade, thinks Canucks will have ‘real good goaltending next year’


SUNRISE — For a team that wants its “young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment,” the Vancouver Canucks are taking a bit of a gamble when it comes to their goaltending.

After trading Eddie Lack to Carolina, the Canucks intend to go with a tandem of Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom. The former is a 34-year-old who had a modest .911 save percentage last season; the latter is a 25-year-old who’s been great in the AHL but owns an .896 save percentage in 50 NHL appearances.

But team president Trevor Linden is confident that Markstrom, an AHL all-star this past season, is ready to take the next step.

“I think if you look at the history of, whether it be Corey Crawford or Ben Bishop, or these types of players and how they perform at the American Hockey League level, and look at stats and numbers, you can put Jacob in that category,” said Linden. “He’s had an excellent year. He needs to continue to develop at the National Hockey League level, and we’re going to give him that opportunity.”

Linden acknowledged that the decision to trade Lack, a fan favorite who also had a .921 save percentage last season, was going to be an “unpopular” one.

“People may say that a third-round pick — albeit 66th, which is a high third — wasn’t enough, but that’s what the market was. That’s what teams, 29 of them, were willing to do,” said Linden.

“We feel we’re going to have real good goaltending next year, with Ryan and Jacob. [Markstrom’s] a player that’s young and needs some time, and we’re going to give him that.”

The Canucks made another trade today, sending Harvard defenseman Patrick McNally (drafted 115th overall in 2011) to the Sharks for a 2015 seventh-round pick.

With the 66th pick they got for Lack, they drafted 17-year-old Acadie-Bathurst defenseman Guillaume Brisebois.

Report: O’Reilly asked Avs for eight-year, $64 million

Ryan O'Reilly

The Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O’Reilly have always had difficulty seeing eye-to-eye when it came to his monetary worth. It took O’Reilly signing an offer sheet, which Colorado matched, to end his hold out in the lockout shortened 2013 campaign. When it was time to renegotiate in the summer of 2014, the two sides only narrowly avoided arbitration by inking a two-year, $12 million deal.

With O’Reilly now just one season away from becoming an unrestricted free agent though, he reportedly demanded a massive eight-year, $64 million payday, according to the Denver Post. Instead, Colorado dealt him to Buffalo last night along with Jamie McGinn in exchange for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and the 31st overall selection.

If those numbers are accurate, then that’s identical to Phil Kessel’s contract, which the Maple Leafs forward is only one season into. Kessel has recorded at least 30 goals on five separate occasions and has reached the 80-point mark twice. O’Reilly, while admittedly more notable for his two-way game, has only reached the 20-goal or 60-point milestones on one occasion and that was back in 2013-14. He took a hit last season, finishing with 17 goals and 55 points in 82 contests.

On top of that, now that Kessel is on the open market, his contract might be a detriment to the point where Toronto is reportedly willing to take a contract back to sweeten the pot.

We’ll have to wait and see how O’Reilly’s negotiations with Buffalo goes. In the short-term, the Sabres wouldn’t have a problem inking him to that kind of a deal, but the term might hurt them later as their young up-and-coming stars develop and eventually start demanding big raises. To give one example, if Jack Eichel has the kind of career Buffalo’s hoping for, then his first deal following his entry-level contract could be huge, as was the case for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos before him.

That all being said, it’s possible that what O’Reilly wanted out of Colorado isn’t the same as what he wants from Buffalo. It could be that his history of having to battle the team for every new contract influenced what it would take for the Avalanche to keep him long-term. Either way, Buffalo is going into this with eyes wide open.

“You know going in when you make a trade like this that negotiations are going to be starting a high number,” Sabres GM Tim Murray told the Buffalo News. “We’re fully prepared for that.”

Caps select Samsonov — a first-round goalie pick!

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

SUNRISE — There wasn’t one last year, or the year before.

But this year, we got one — with the 22nd pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Washington broke the mold and selected Russian netminder Ilya Samsonov from KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Samsonov, 18, was one of the Russian league’s top junior-age goalies this season, and appeared in one game for the senior Metallurg squad. At 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, his size and athletic ability put him out in front among draft-eligible goalies this season.

As mentioned above, we haven’t had a goalie go in the first round for quite a while. Calgary took Mason McDonald 34th overall in 2014 and, the year prior, Montreal took Zachary Fucale with the 36th pick. The last goalies to go in Round 1 were both in 2012, when Andrei Vasilevskiy went No. 19 to Tampa Bay and Malcolm Subban went at 24 to Boston.

It’ll be interesting to hear why Caps GM Brian MacLellan opted to go this route. His starter, Braden Holtby, is still just 25 years old and the new backup, Philipp Grubauer, doesn’t turn 24 until the fall. That said, it’s been an awfully long time since the team drafted a goalie — three years ago, the Caps took Sergei Kostenko in the seventh round.