In his first player moves as GM, Stve Yezerman has extended qualifying offers to 10 Lightnign restricted free agents:
This leaves out Radek Smolenak, Chris Lawrence and, Lauri Tukkonen... Two of the three forwards played mostly in the AHL. Tukkonen returned to his native Finland to play. So there really are no surprises in this group...
Maybe the surprise is who was granted a qualifying offer though: MIA Defenseman Paul Ranger. Ranger, often played up as a panacea for the Lightning's defense ("A puck moving defenseman!"), Ranger has only played 50 NHL games the last two seasons. Injuries to his shoulders have led to two seasons being shortened for him ( 2007-08, 2008-09)... And then there is the MIA enigma of the 2009-10 campaign.
Two games in, and he disappears. No explication has come out, nor any indication he will return to the NHL in the future. But hey, the Bolts retain his rights... Unless he's stated he won't play hockey again.
Regardless on Ranger, now the hard part is going to be signing these guys.
The official press release from the team is below the jump.
LIGHTNING ISSUE QUALIFYING OFFERS TO 10 PLAYERS
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have issued qualifying offers to 10 players, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. There were three players who did not receive qualifying offers, making them unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Players receiving offers are as follows:
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.