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June 29, 2009

Lightning Make Qualifying Offers to Six 2008-09 Admirals

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, made qualifying offers to nine restricted free agents today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Six members of the 2008-09 Admirals squad were among those receiving offers: C Blair Jones, D Matt Lashoff, D Mike Lundin, G Karri Ramo, D Matt Smaby and LW Radek Smolenak. Also receiving offers were RW Martins Karums, D Lukas Krajicek and RW Lauri Tukonen.

An NHL club can retain the rights to a restricted free agent by tendering him a qualifying offer. The restricted free agent does not have to sign the offer. However, unlike an unrestricted free agent who is free to sign with any NHL club, a restricted free agent may only receive offer sheets from other NHL clubs. The qualifying team may then elect to either match the offer sheet and retain the services of the player or accept draft pick compensation for the loss of the restricted free agent. More often than not, the restricted free agent elects to either sign the qualifying offer or enter negotiations on a contract with the qualifying team.

Jones, a 6-2 native of Central Butte, Saskatchewan, played in 80 games with Norfolk last season, registering 20 goals and 54 points. He was second on the team in assists and points. Jones’ 20 goals were a professional career high. He has played in 24 career NHL games, recording a goal and three points. Jones has skated in 200 career AHL contests between the Admirals and Springfield Falcons, scoring 39 goals and 78 assists.

Lashoff, a 6-2 native of East Greenbush, New York, played in 12 games with the Lightning last season after being acquired from the Boston Bruins with Karsums in exchange for Mark Recchi and a second-round choice in 2010. He set NHL career highs in games played with 28, assists with eight and points with eight with Tampa Bay and Boston combined. Lashoff averaged 23:46 in ice time with the Lightning after being acquired, a significant increase after averaging 13:06 with the Bruins. He has played in 58 career NHL games, recording a goal and 15 points. Lashoff also appeared in two games with the Admirals and has appeared in 166 career AHL games between Norfolk and the Providence Bruins, scoring 26 goals and 69 assists.

Lundin, a 6-2 native of Burnsville, Minnesota, played in 25 games with the Lightning last season, recording two assists. He also played in his first 51 career AHL games with the Admirals, registering four goals and 29 points. A participant in the 2008 NHL Young Stars Game, Lundin has skated in 106 NHL games, tallying eight points.

Smaby, a 6-foot-5 native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, played in a career-high 43 games with the Lightning last season, averaging 19:05 in ice time per contest, also a career best. He ranked fourth on the team in hits with 122 and blocked shots with 68. He also appeared in 25 games with the Admirals, scoring two goals and four assists. Smaby has played in 57 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, recording four assists and 35 shots on goal. He has appeared in 149 career American Hockey League games between the Admirals and Springfield Falcons, scoring five goals and 23 assists.

Ramo and Smolenak’s rights were retained despite their having signed European contracts.

Karsums, a 5-10 native of Riga, Latvia, played in 18 games with Tampa Bay after being acquired from the Bruins in the same trade as Matt Lashoff. He tallied a goal and five points with the Lightning, averaging 11:40 in ice time. Karsums finished the 2008-09 season strong with a goal and three points in the final five games. He has played in 24 career NHL games, all last season, with a goal and six points. He has also appeared in 176 career AHL games – all with the Providence Bruins – and has recorded 50 goals and 89 assists.

Krajicek, a 6-2 native of Prostejov, Czech Republic, played in 71 games with the Lightning last season, recording two goals and 19 points. He led all Tampa Bay defensemen in assists and points. Krajicek was second on the team in blocked shots with 90 and second among defensemen with 22 takeaways. He established career highs for assists, points and average ice time with 19:37. Krajicek has played in 278 career NHL games, registering 10 goals and 69 points. He has also appeared in 135 career AHL games – all with the San Antonio Rampage – recording seven goals and 35 assists.

Tukonen, a 6-2 native of Hyvinkaa, Finland, was acquired by Tampa Bay from Dallas on November 30, 2008 in exchange for former Admirals defenseman Andrew Hutchinson. He played in the Finnish Elite League last season with Llves Tampere and Lukko Rauma, totaling eight goals and 21 points in 35 games. Tukonen has played in five career NHL games, all with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He has also appeared in 185 career AHL games – all with the Manchester Monarchs – recording 36 goals and 67 assists.

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