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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay signs Ilya Usau to entry-level contract

An under-the-radar move that may pay off in the future for the Bolts

Prince Albert Raiders v Everett Silvertips Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

Prior to the Nick Paul trade, the Tampa Bay Lightning added another piece to their prospect cupboard. Early on Sunday, the team announced that they had signed 20-year-old Ilya Usau to a three-year contract that is believed to begin next season. The former Prince Albert Raider has been playing for Dinamo Minsk in the KHL and recorded 9 goals and 17 assists in 40 games.

He also competed for Belarus in the most recent Winter Olympics but didn’t record a point in three games. He was passed over in both the 2019 and 2020 NHL drafts before he went overseas to play. While he was born in Belarus he spent much of his youth playing in the United States and holds dual citizenship.

There isn’t much on him out there, but he seems to possess a fairly nice shot based on the highlights:

His skating doesn’t seem to be elite (not unusual for young players) but he does seem to have decent hockey IQ and knows how to put himself in a good spot to score. Since he is just 20-years-old, he’ll have time to develop in the system, most likely starting with the Syracuse Crunch next season.

It’s another off-the-radar signing for the Lightning that makes up for some of the draft picks that they don’t have this season (no picks in the second or third round this season, no first-round picks in 2023 or 2024). Much like signing Simon Ryfors last off-season, there isn’t much risk other than salary and he did have some success in one of the top professional leagues in the world as a 20-year-old.

Lightning / NHL News:

Lightning trade Mathieu Joseph [Raw Charge]

Julien BriseBois continues to rework the bottom-six as he exchanges Joseph for center Nick Paul. Could the acquisition of Paul and Brandon Hagel have to same payoff as the Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman deals a couple of seasons ago?

The Nick Paul Trade Grade [ESPN+]

Greg Wyshynski gives the Lightning an A+ for the deal while mentioning Paul’s prowess on the penalty kill. You can never have too many competent penalty killers on a roster.

NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Brackets are set [NCAA]

Lightning prospects to keep an eye on in the tournament:

Cole Guttman - University of Denver

McKade Webster - University of Denver

Nicklaus Perbix - St. Cloud State

Sammy Walker - University of Minnesota

Dylan Duke - University of Michigan

Ohio State wins the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championship [The Ice Garden]

For the first time in school history, THE Ohio State has captured the national championship as they defeated the University of Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2. With under seven minutes to go, Kenzie Hauswirth scored to put Ohio State up.

Mark Giordano has been traded to Toronto [Davy Jones Locker]

The Seattle Kraken traded the only captain in their history to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two second-round picks and a third-round pick. Colin Blackwell is also on his way to Toronto. Giordano was one of the bigger trade pieces the league’s newest franchise had to offer and he will help shore up the Leafs defense. Does that pave the way for Yanni Gourde to be the new captain in Seattle?

Travis Dermott traded to Vancouver [Nucks Misconduct]

Toronto needed to clear some cap space for Giordano so they sent Travis Dermott to Vancouver for a third round pick. The 25-year-old has had some good moments for the Leafs, but also has a tendency to have his mistakes magnified by the fans and media. He should see an expanded role in Vancouver.

Travis Harmonic traded to Ottawa [Silver Seven Sens]

Earlier in the day, the Vancouver Canucks sent another defender named Travis to the Ottawa Senators for a third-round pick. Harmonic fills the role of defenseman, but he hasn’t been great over the last few years. At least his salary will help keep them above the cap floor next season. The third-round pick was originally owned by Vancouver.

Robert Hagg traded to Florida [Litter Box Cats]

With Aaron Ekblad heading to LTIR the Florida Panthers added Robert Hagg to the blueline. The former Buffalo Sabre won’t fill Ekblad’s skates but he should help them make it to the finish line and playoffs where Ekblad may be back. In exchange the Sabres picked up a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.

Troy Stretch traded to Kings for draft pick [Winging it in Motown]

Steve Yzerman made his first move of the deadline as he sent the 27-year-old defenseman to the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh-round pick. It’s a depth move for the Kings who are dealing with injuries to Drew Doughty and Matt Roy.

Arizona trades Scott Wedgewood to Dallas [Twitter]

According to Kevin Weekes, former Crunch goaltender Scott Wedgewood is on his way to the Dallas Stars. The Arizona Coyotes will receive a conditional 4th-round pick in 2023. Injuries have plagued the Dallas Stars goaltenders all season long with Braden Holtby’s lingering injury forcing Jake Oettinger to play way more than they would like.

Wild trade Jack McBain to Coyotes [Hockey Wilderness]

The 22-year-old Boston College product wasn’t planning on signing with the team that drafted him in 2018, so the Minnesota Wild traded his rights to the Arizona Coyotes. The Wild did a good job of getting a 2nd-round pick back for a prospect that they would have lost for nothing. He is expected to sign a contract with the Coyotes.

The 2022 PHF playoff bracket is set [The Ice Garden]

The competition for the Isobel Cup is set to get underway later this week in Wesley Chapel. Here are the seedings for the tournament. More information on the tournament will be coming this week.

Congratulations to Taylor Raddysh as he scored his first goal for Chicago. Given a fresh start in The Windy City he may turn into the goalscorer he was projected to be in Tampa.