Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning notes: Defenseman prospect added
OTTAWA - For the second consecutive year the Lightning landed a highly sought after college free agent.
Tampa Bay agreed to terms Thursday with 6-foot-8 defenseman Andrej Sustr from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Sustr, 22, just completed his junior year at college where he was named first-team all Western Collegiate Hockey Association after setting career highs with nine goals, 16 assists and 25 points. The contract is expected to be finalized and official by the weekend.
Sustr, who attended prospect camp with the Lightning during the summer, had interest from many teams around the league, including the Senators, Rangers and Panthers. But after fielding offers and narrowing down the choices earlier this week, Sustr opted to sign with Tampa Bay and is expected to join the team next week in Tampa ahead of Tuesday’s game against Buffalo.
“We watched him a lot last year . . . he came to our camp last year and we were really impressed with him as a young man,” Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said. “Obviously being six-foot-eight, he’s a good skater, has good skills and he’s a right-hand shot. It’s another need for us in that right-handed shot on defense department and we just fell in watching him closely this year. He has developed as a player, improved as a player throughout the year as well.
“We feel it’s a good fit for us and we are excited to have him join our organization.’’ Yzerman said there is no guarantee that Sustr will appear in any games with the Lightning this season, but the intention is to get him some NHL action, although he is eligible to play with Syracuse in the American Hockey League at any point the rest of this season. Last year the Lightning were able to sign forward J.T. Brown from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who had interest from several NHL teams before agreeing to a two-year deal with Tampa Bay. Brown appeared in the final five games of the season, registering an assist. Brown has been slowed by injuries this season, including a broken collarbone suffered in December, playing with Syracuse but has registered nine goals and 14 assists in 38 games.
Lupul suspended for hit on Hedman Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul was handed a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman 45 seconds into the third period of Wednesday’s game. Hedman, who was able to return to the game after going through the required concussion protocol, was reported by the team to be showing no effects from the hit.
Lupul, who will forfeit $45,945.94 due to the suspension, was penalized on the play, but the league determined that Lupul violated Rule 48 which states: “A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted.’’
In a video release of the suspension, NHL Hockey Operations Manager Rob Blake said after Hedman makes a pass at center ice, Lupul, “approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman's head by elevating and making the head the principal point of contact. This is a violation of the legal check to the head.’’