Vrbata heads trio of Lightning signings
The Tampa Bay Lightning kept up their weeklong pursuit of new players Tuesday, signing promising young forward Radim Vrbata to a three-year, $9-million US deal.
The Lightning also added veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig, 38, and grinder Adam Hall.
Vrbata scored 27 goals and 29 assists, both career highs, in 76 games for the Phoenix Coyotes last season. He tallied seven power-play goals, three short-handed markers and five game winners.
Vrbata, 27, joins his fifth NHL team after stops that also included Colorado, Carolina and Chicago. The Czech native has scored 102 goals and 124 assists in 422 career regular-season games over six seasons.
Kolzig, the longtime Washington Capitals goalie, signed a one-year deal.
He was supplanted as the starter when Washington acquired netminder Cristobal Huet from Montreal at the trade deadline in February.
Kolzig played his first game with Washington in 1989, the year he was drafted in the first round by the club. He has a 2.70 career goals-against average in 701 games, with 35 shutouts.
Kolzig won just seven of his first 21 games last season. He turned things around, going 11-6-1 in his last 18 games before the Huet trade. He finished the season with a 2.91 average and .892 save percentage in 54 games, with a 25-21-6 record.
"Olaf is a real stabilizer in the locker room and on the ice," Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said in statement. "With Karri Ramo, Olaf Kolzig and Mike Smith we have a great deal of depth at the goaltending position and we like all the options that allows us moving forward."
Hall, who turns 28 in August, signed for three years. Hall has scored 51 goals and 108 points in 352 career games with Nashville, the New York Rangers, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.
The Kalamazoo, Mich., native had three goals and an assist in 17 postseason games with Stanley Cup runner-up Pittsburgh.
New Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie promised last week after taking over the club to be "staggeringly active" in the free-agent market after the team's last-place finish and have made good on the vow.
The club has signed free agents Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, Hall's teammates in Pittsburgh, and obtained the rights to Brian Rolston of the Minnesota Wild, although they were unable to reach a deal with Rolston by July 1.
In addition, the team selected Steven Stamkos first overall in the NHL draft two weeks ago, reacquired and re-signed Vaclav Prospal and are expected to officially announce a long-term deal with star Vincent Lecavalier.