The Lightning organization has nabbed itself a boost to both their AHL locker room leadership/scoring and potential call-up depth with the re-signing of forward Mike Blunden. From the Bolts' official release:
TAMPA BAY -The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed right wing Mike Blunden to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Blunden, 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, played in two games with the Lightning last season, recording two penalty minutes. He played in 33 games with Tampa Bay's top minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, in 2014-15, recording 13 goals and 22 points. Despite a limited number of games he ranked tied for sixth on the Crunch for goals.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Blunden has appeared in 104 NHL games with the Lightning, the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. He has recorded four goals and eight points during his NHL career, which also includes one playoff game with the Canadiens in 2013. Blunden has played in 412 career AHL games with Syracuse, the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Rockford IceHogs and the Norfolk Admirals, posting 96 goals and 209 points. He has also skated in 13 career Calder Cup Playoff games with the IceHogs and Admirals.
Blunden was drafted by Chicago in the second round, 43rd overall, at the 2005 NHL Draft.
Losing Blunden to injury, which happened during the first week of February, was one of the larger events that fed into the way the Crunch's season ended. Syracuse lost their final 10 games of the regular AHL season before getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Despite his md-season injury, Blunden still managed to end the year ranked 10th in overall scoring on the Crunch with 22 points. The loss of his presence was palpable in the Crunch's confidence level and on the score sheet.
Blunden needed knee surgery after his injury, which happening during a game versus the Hersey Bears, but was projected to make a full recovery. Obviously Tampa saw enough during his shortened season to re-invest in the veteran forward. This is a big boost for the Crunch and is also a nice insurance signing for the Bolts.
This will be Blunden's fourth season with the Crunch overall. He also spent part of two seasons playing for Syracuse during their Columbus Blue Jacket affiliation in addition to last season under the Tampa affiliation.