Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Seeking veteran winner, Lightning land forward Recchi
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Recchi signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, part of a massive roster overhaul for a team with new owners and a new coach after finishing with the worst record in the NHL.
Recchi, a a seven-time All-Star who has played 19 NHL seasons, had 14 goals and 48 points in 72 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers in 2007-08.
"Mark Recchi is a guy who we will be counting on both on and off the ice," Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. "He is able to play in a top-six forward role, but can also be productive on the third and fourth lines. Adding him to the roster significantly increases our depth."
The Lightning have been busy under their new owners, Oren Koules and Len Barrie, who promised to be "shockingly aggressive" in free agency when they took over the team in June.
Tampa Bay finished the season 31-42-9 for 71 points, tied with Los Angeles for the fewest in the league.
The first move Koules and Barrie made was to hire Barry Melrose as coach.
Recchi will join All-Star Vincent Lecavalier and former NHL MVP and scoring champion Martin St. Louis, along with the No. 1 pick in June's draft, Steve Stamkos.
The Lightning signed Radim Vrbata to a $9 million, three-year deal on July 1. Among the team's other signings: goalie Olaf Kolzig; right wing Adam Hall; and center Wyatt Smith.
The 40-year-old Recchi has played on Stanley Cup championship teams with Pittsburgh (1991) and Carolina (2006) and has 522 goals and 1,381 points in 1,410 career games.
The Lightning also announced the signing of forward Brandon Bochenski, and the re-signing of forward Evgeny Artyukhin, who played for Tampa Bay in 2005-06 before spending the past two seasons in the Russian Super League.