Lightning ink Miettinen after unimpressive Russian league stint

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(Now there’s a compelling headline.)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have inked former Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars forward Antti Miettinen to a two-year, one-way contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed and he’ll be subjected to waivers, but for the time being let’s consider him a member of the Bolts.

The signing comes two weeks after Miettinen and Russian club AK Bars Kazan “mutually agreed to terminate their contract.” Miettinen was a key offseason acquisition for AK Bars but struggled to find his game, recording 2G-6A-8PTS in 20 games played.

Fun Fact: During the 2004-05 lockout, AK Bars signed 11 NHLers, including Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier and Dany Heatley. During the 2010-11 NHL playoffs, I was in San Jose watching the Sharks-Canucks series and saw this on the street:

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That is a replica Dany Heatley AK Bars Kazan jersey. I would venture to say it’s the only one currently residing in North America.

Anyway, back to Miettinen. As mentioned earlier, he’ll now be subjected to waivers — meaning Tampa must wait and see if he becomes the 2011 version of Marek Svatos.

Svatos, you’ll recall, was signed by St. Louis last season after being released Omsk Avangard of the KHL…only to be plucked off waivers by Nashville. (The Preds then waived Svatos after nine games, at which point Ottawa picked him up. It wasn’t a banner campaign for ol’ Marek. In a related story, he’s now unemployed.)