In his first player moves as GM, Stve Yezerman has extended qualifying offers to 10 Lightnign restricted free agents:
- Steve Downie
- Blair Jones
- Martins Karsums
- Mike Lundin
- Vladmir Mihalik
- Teddy Purcell
- Paul Ranger
- Juraj Simek
- Paul Szczechura
- Nate Thompson
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.