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June 17, 2010

Lightning Issue Qualifying Offers to Six 2009-10 Admirals

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning have issued qualifying offers to ten players, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced yesterday. Included in that group were 2009-10 Norfolk Admirals Blair Jones, Martins Karsums, Mike Lundin, Vladimir Mihalik, Juraj Simek and Paul Szczechura. There were also three players who did not receive qualifying offers – including 2009-10 Norfolk Admirals Chris Lawrence and Radek Smolenak – making them unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Players receiving offers are as follows:

Pos. Player
RW Steve Downie
C Blair Jones
RW Martins Karsums
D Mike Lundin
D Vladimir Mihalik
RW Teddy Purcell
D Paul Ranger
LW Juraj Simek
C Paul Szczechura
C Nate Thompson

The deadline for NHL clubs to issue offers is Monday, June 28. By issuing qualifying offers to the aforementioned players, the Lightning are given the right of the first refusal or draft choice compensation should the player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club.

Players not receiving qualifying offers were RW Chris Lawrence, LW Radek Smolenak and RW Lauri Tukonen.

Jones, 23, is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound center from Central Butte, Saskatchewan. He registered nine goals and 21 assists in 63 games with Norfolk in 2009-10 while also appearing in 14 games with Tampa Bay. Last season was Jones’ third with Norfolk. His AHL Admirals all-time ranks include eighth in games played (218), ninth in points (126) and fourth in assists (83). The Lightning drafted Jones in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Karsums, 24, is a 5-foot-9, 200-pound right wing from Riga, Latvia. He registered four goals and 12 assists in 36 games with the Admirals in 2009-10. He also appeared in 12 games for Riga (KHL), scoring four goals and four assists, and represented Latvia at the 2010 Winter Olympics, posting two assists in four contests. The Lightning acquired Karsums along with defenseman Matt Lashoff from the Boston Bruins on March 4, 2009, in exchange for forward Mark Recchi and a 2010 second-round draft pick.

Lundin, 25, is a 6-foot-2, 188-pound defenseman from Burnsville, Minnesota. He appeared in 27 games with the Admirals, posting two goals and 14 assists before finishing the season with Tampa Bay. In 49 games with the Lightning, he posted career highs with three goals, ten assists and 13 points while ranking second on the Lighting in average ice time per game (21:56) and fourth in blocked shots (86). Lundin has appeared in 78 career games with Norfolk, posting six goals and 39 assists. The Lightning drafted him in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Mihalik, 23, is a 6-foot-7, 222-pound defenseman from Presov, Slovakia. In 75 games with Norfolk, he registered two goals and 16 assists while also appearing in four games for Tampa Bay. The 2009-10 season was the third in Norfolk for Mihalik, who ranks ninth in games played (204) in AHL Admirals history. He also ranks eighth in points by a defenseman in AHL Admirals history with 49 points on five goals and 44 assists. The Lightning drafted Mihalik in the first round (30th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Simek, 22, is a 6-foot-1, 189-pound left wing from Presov, Slovakia. The third-year pro registered AHL career highs in goals, assists and points with Norfolk in 2009-10, posting 21 goals and 15 assists for 36 points in 75 games. He tied for second in goals, tied for fifth in points and tied for first in power play goals (7) with Norfolk in 2009-10. Over two seasons with the Admirals, Simek has registered 30 goals and 28 assists in 138 games. The Lightning acquired Simek along with defenseman Lukas Krajicek on October 6, 2008, from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Shane O’Brien and Michel Ouellet.

Szczechura, 24, is a 5-foot-11, 190-pound center from Brantford, Ontario. He set NHL career highs for games played and goals with the Lightning last season, posting five goals and two assists in 52 games. He also appeared in 35 games with the Admirals, recording eight goals and 21 assists. Szczechura has appeared in 92 career games with Norfolk, scoring 35 goals and 49 assists for 84 points. He ranks sixteenth overall in AHL Admirals all-time scoring and is fourth among centers. Szczechura’s Admirals career plus/minus rating of +20 ranks tied for fourth in AHL Admirals history. The Lightning signed Szczechura on April 24, 2008, after he had finished the 2007-08 season on an AHL contract with Norfolk.

Lawrence, 23, is a 6-foot-4, 217-pound right wing from Toronto, Ontario. He posted seven assists in 72 games with the Admirals last season. In 173 career games over three seasons with Norfolk, Lawrence posted ten goals and 21 assists. The Lightning drafted Lawrence in the third round (89th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Smolenak, 23, is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic. He appeared in 39 games for Norfolk last season, posting seven goals and 14 assists before being reassigned by Tampa Bay to the Abbotsford Heat (AHL), where he scored two goals and four assists in 21 games. He also appeared in one game for the Chicago Blackhawks at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. Smolenak appeared in 166 career games with Norfolk over three seasons and registered 46 goals and 50 assists for 96 points. He ranks tenth in goals and fourteenth in points in AHL Admirals history. The Lightning drafted Smolenak in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

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