Lightning issues qualifying offers to Barberio, Brown and Sexton

Jared Wickerham

Defenseman Mark Barberio and forwards J.T. Brown and Dan Sexton get qualifying offers. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson, forwards Alex Hutchings and Benoit Pouliot, and goaltender Pat Nagle do not.

It was announced Monday morning that the Lightning has issued qualifying offers to Mark Barberio, JT Brown and Dan Sexton. Without those offers, all three would have become UFAs starting July 5th. All three players spent extensive time with the Syracuse Crunch last season.

Barberio was an integral part of Syracuse's leadership system and totaled 42 regular season points. He also racked up 15 during the Calder Cup playoffs. Brown accumulated 10 goals and 18 assists in a season abbreviated by injury. Brown missed a good portion of the year after breaking his collarbone, so he only played in 51 regular season games. During the Crunch's 18-game Calder Cup run, he netted 18 points. Sexton, who was acquired by organization in exchange for Kyle Wilson during the latter part of the season, used his speed and crafty hands to total 12 points in 16 regular season games with the Crunch. He was also good for 12 points during the playoffs.

Two players who also spent time down in Syracuse last season but who did not receive qualifying offers were left wing Alex Hutchings and defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. Both will not be within the Lighting organization next season. Hutchings was unremarkable during his time spent with Syracuse, scoring 3 goals in 24 games. Mikkelson started the year in Tampa, but could not crack the lineup and was re-assigned to Syracuse mid-season. His season with the Crunch was marked more by an unfortunate accident--breaking his foot by stepping in a hole while the Crunch was visiting Norfolk--than anything he really did on the ice.

NHL Left wing Benoit Pouliot, who played 34 games with Tampa during last season's abbreviated stretch, was also not qualified. Pouliot had a difficult time getting ice time this past season, but yet still managed 20 points. The prevailing theory from those here at Raw Charge is that Pouliot, despite having better possession numbers than most of the team, just had a difficult time fitting into Tampa's system regardless of who was the coach this year.

It was also just announced that goaltender Pat Nagle, a player Crunch fans only saw start one game, which we lost, and who backed up Ceddy the entire playoffs without playing a minute, was also not qualified. With Tampa drafting a goaltender yesterday, and with the numbers of goalies in Tampa's system, this also makes sense.

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