Bygone Bolts: Where former Lightning players signed in free agency

Anders Lindback

Anders Lindback taking a break during 2013-14 training camp

Former Lightning players did pretty well for themselves today, too, in addition to the ones who became new Bolts.

Here’s a rundown of how former Tampa Bay Lightning players fared. (Updated July 4)

Anders Lindback wasted no time in finding himself a home, taking over Tim Thomas’s back-up role away to backstop Finland’s Kari Lehtonen. The Stars pulled off a big trade getting Jason Spezza on the team and then signed Ales Hemsky, who played with the Senators. Patrick Eaves signed with the team from Nashville, who  had played with Spezza. Sergei Gonchar, a former Senator, also completes the Ottawa friendship. Hemsky also knows former Oiler Shawn Horcoff, who joined the team with Tyler Seguin last year.

His first interview as a Star wasn’t all that exciting, telling the Dallas Morning News he’s happy his goalie coach knows him and can speak Swedish. Seriously. That was it.

Jussi Jokinen turned in his stellar postseason with the Penguins into a return to the Sunshine State with a four year, $16 million deal with the Florida Panthers

Radim Vrbata, who spent 18 games with the Bolts in 2008-09, heads to the Vancouver Canucks, according to Fox Sports Arizona reporter Craig Morgan.

Benoit Pouliot was also quick to cash in from his amazing playoff run with the New York Rangers, opting to go with the Edmonton Oilers, who also are making aggressive moves to turn things around.  He’s in Edmonton for five years at $20 million.

Keith Aulie also heads to Edmonton for another crack at being a regular in the NHL for one year at $800,000. About last year, Aulie said to the Oilers:

“I’ve had some opportunity in the last couple of years but just this last year it was a little bit tough. I ran into a couple of injuries last year and tried to work through that but to get an opportunity in Edmonton will be great. I’m just focusing on coming in and doing what I can do.”

Corey Conacher, once a promising prospect, has bounced around of late. After spending time with Ottawa and Buffalo, he signed a small one-year deal with the New York Islanders, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday:

Brad Richards, who was bought out by the Rangers, goes to Chicago for a one-year, $2 million deal for a run for the Stanley Cup with Patrick Kane and company. Yes, Tampa could have signed him for that if not more, but Tampa is not a two-time recent Stanley Cup champion who consistently go deep in the playoffs.

P.C. “Nacho” Labrie adds some toughness to the Chicago Blackhawks for a one-year deal that will likely have him with the Rockford IceHogs most of the year. The Blackhawks didn’t even have him on the homepage. The IceHogs had him buried in a story about three players being signed.

Dan Boyle reunited with Marty St. Louis on Broadway so Marty won’t be as lonely with Richie gone. Boyle, as I wrote earlier, conveniently switches 22 with Brian Boyle, who is now in Tampa wearing Dan Boyle’s old 22.

Dominic Moore stays put in New York for two more years to keep this Lightning thing going in Manhattan.

Crunch’s Cedrick Desjardins also heads to the New York Rangers farm team to help with the Hartford WolfPack.

Mike Kostka does the same heading to New York/Hartford.

Bruno Gervais, who played 50 games for the Bolts in 2011-12, joined the Colorado Avalanche from Philadelphia. He found himself in a good spot if he can get ice time with all the moves the Avs made. But he’s likely destined for the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland.

Blair Jones, a 2005 Lightning draft pick, signed with the Flyers after playing with the Flames, according to CSN Philly. He’s getting a two-way deal.

Nick Tarnasky, he of the 2005-2008 seasons, signs with the Rangers, likely destined for Hartford.

Steve Downie, heads to Pittsburgh to protect Sidney Crosby and subsequently get suspended and demoted in a one-year, $1 million deal.

Short-lived Bolt Andrej Meszaros left Boston for the Buffalo Sabres for a one-year, $4.1 million deal. GM Tim Murray must be saying “fuck it” to trying to land the 2015 top overall pick after the GMs want to change the formula. The Sabres loaded up keeping Matt Moulson, attracting Brian Gionta and bringing back Cody McCormick plus traded for Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges.

Michal Neuvirth, who joined the Sabres in a trade last year, will provide superb goaltending for the Sabres as long as he can stay healthy. This doesn’t feel like the Sabres who loaded up on the overpriced and underperforming wagon that included Ville Leino.

Mike McKenna, journeyman goaltender who played 15 games for the Bolts in 2008-09, is now with the Arizona Coyotes battling out with what seems 10,000 other goalies signed by the Coyotes for the back-up role behind Mike Smith. McKenna also wants you to design his new Bauer pads, so there’s that.

Finally, not a signing, but a pending trade: The Florida Panthers could still pull for a trade with the Flyers to land Vincent Lecavalier, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald from a post Monday, saying that if that trade would happen, it’s likely to be Wednesday. However, Flyers GM Ron Hextall is open to anything, reported Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Sam Carchidi:

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