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NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract

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Simon Ryfors had two goals and an assist in the Lightning’s 5-2 win over Nashville in the opening game of the NHL Prospect Showcase Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena. Photo: Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times.

TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Simon Ryfors to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.

Ryfors, 24, played in 72 games during the regular season for the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, posting 11 goals and 35 points, ranking tied for seventh on the Crunch for scoring. He also skated in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch and notched a goal, assist and a plus-four rating.

The Stockholm, Sweden native originally signed with the Lightning organization on May 12, 2021. Prior to that, he skated seven seasons with Rogle BK of the SHL, tallying 41 goals and 93 points to go along with 165 penalty minutes in 250 games. He set career bests in the SHL in 2020-21 for goals (25), assists (20) and points (45).

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Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions

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Photo: NHL.

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Sergachev, 24, has skated in 362 career regular season games, 358 of them with the Lightning, notching 36 goals and 174 points. He ranks fifth all-time in Tampa Bay franchise history among defensemen for goals and scoring and fourth for assists (138). The former ninth overall pick (of Montreal) in the 2016 NHL Draft has also played in 92 postseason games and posted eight goals and 30 points. He ranks second in Lightning history among defensemen for playoff games, goals, assists (22) and scoring. Sergachev’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $8.5 million.

Cirelli, 24, has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, recording 66 goals and 159 points. During the 2021-22 season, Cirelli posted 17-26—43 points in 76 games played, one point shy of his career high 16-28—44 pts. from the 2019-20 season. He led Tampa Bay forwards for blocked shots (67), ranked sixth in the NHL for penalties drawn (42) and finished fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 2021-22. In postseason play, Cirelli has notched 14 goals and 34 points in 92 games, ranking 11th all-time in Lightning playoff history for scoring. Cirelli’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $6.25 million.

Cernak, 25, has skated in 226 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, posting 16 goals, 59 points and a plus-51 rating. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Kosice, Slovakia native notched a goal and 13 points and led the Lightning for hits (165) in 55 games. Cernak has played in 73 career postseason games, recording two goals and 19 points. He netted the Stanley Cup-opening goal in Game 1 of the 2021 Cup Final versus Montreal, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to net his first career playoff goal in a Stanley Cup Final. A second round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Cernak was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2017. Cernak’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $5.2 million.

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Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago

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Forward Brandon Hagel. Photo: NHL.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Tampa Bay Lightning // The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Brandon Hagel, Chicago’s fourth-round selection in 2022 and fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, Tampa’s first-round selection in 2023 and first-round selection in 2024, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Both first-round picks the Lightning are sending to Chicago are top 10 protected.

Hagel, 23, has played in 55 games so far this season for Chicago, recording 21 goals and 37 points. Hagel ranks second on the Blackhawks for goals and game-winning goals (3) and fourth for scoring and power-play goals (4). In 108 games with Chicago over three seasons, Hagel has posted 30 goals and 61 points. He made his NHL debut March 11, 2020 versus San Jose, the only game he played during the 2019-20 season. Hagel is under contract through the 2023-2024 season with a salary cap number of $1,500,000.

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AP Sources: NHL to Withdraw from Olympics After COVID Surge

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Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) reaches for the puck as New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20) and Penguins right wing Kasperi Kapanen (42) look on during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec.19, 2021, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEW YORK (AP) – The NHL is not sending players to the Beijing Olympics over concerns that the pandemic will disrupt the league’s ability to complete a full season.

Two people with direct knowledge of discussions told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the league informed the NHL Players’ Association it was exercising its right to withdraw from the Beijing Games because there was a material disruption to the season.

The people spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because an announcement had yet to be made. An announcement was expected Wednesday.

The decision is an abrupt turnaround from September, when the NHL, union, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation struck a deal to put the best players in the world back on sports’ biggest stage after they skipped the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. The fast-spreading omicron coronavirus variant forced the scrapping of those plans.

A week ago, the NHL attempted to halt the spread of the omicron variant by reintroducing more restrictive COVID-19 protocols, which included daily testing and limiting player gatherings, especially on the road.

Then a sudden rash of postponements brought the total to 50 this season, a daunting number to reschedule and complete an 82-game season while taking an Olympic break for more than two weeks in February. The NHL’s bottom line is at stake, with the league and players drawing no direct money from competing at the Winter Games.

The decision comes long before the league faced a Jan. 10 deadline to pull out without financial penalty. As a result, the men’s Olympic hockey tournament will go on without NHL players for the second consecutive time.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, the likely U.S. Olympic starter, expressed displeasure Tuesday with the decision not to go and called the rash of postponements overkill.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby already was bracing for the possibility of the NHL not participating and, at the age of 34, ending what could be his final chance to represent Canada at the Olympics one more time.

“These are opportunities and experiences of a lifetime that you don’t get very many of as an athlete, and you might only get one,” said Crosby, who won Olympic gold with Canada in 2010 and 2014. “It just might happen to fall in your window and if it doesn’t happen to work out, it’s unfortunate.”

While the NHL and NHLPA agreed on Olympic participation last year as part of a collective bargaining agreement extension, the deal to go to Beijing was contingent on pandemic conditions not worsening.

Unless the Beijing Games are postponed a year like Tokyo’s, a generation of stars including American Auston Matthews, Canadians Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon, German Leon Draisaitl and Swede Victor Hedman will need to wait until 2026 to play in the Olympic men’s hockey tournament for the first time.

“It’s a thing you’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Hedman said. “For us to not be able to go, it’s going to hurt for a while.”

The NHL was full go on the Olympics until the delta and omicron coronavirus variants began spreading around North America earlier this month. Before Calgary’s outbreak in the first half of December, only five games needed to be rescheduled and one was already made up.

The NHL did not participate in the Olympics until 1998, which started a string of five in a row through Sochi in 2014. The season was not stopped in 2018, leaving mostly professionals playing in Europe and some college players to make up the national rosters in South Korea, where the IOC was reluctant to pay for insurance and expenses.

Russia, which won gold at the Pyeongchang Games, immediately becomes the favorite without NHL players leading the Americans thanks to an influx of homegrown talent playing in the Kontintental Hockey League.

Several NHL players already had expressed hesitations about participating, including Vegas goalie Robin Lehner, who pulled his name out of consideration to represent Sweden. Lehner cited mental health reasons in noting the potentially lengthy quarantines for athletes who test positive during the competition.

“I’m very disappointed and it was a tough decision for me as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Reality is that what have been said about how it’s going to be is not ideal for my mental health,” Lehner wrote in a text.

McDavid referred to the potential five-week quarantine requirement as “unsettling.”

“I’m still a guy that’s wanting to go play in the Olympics,” McDavid said. “But we also want to make sure it’s safe for everybody. For all the athletes, not just for hockey players.”

Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan will be missing his first opportunity to serve as coach of the U.S. national team. He had been holding out hope for NHL participation earlier Tuesday.

“We’re all human beings right. Emotions are a part of it. My hope is that we all have a chance to participate,” said Sullivan, who served as an assistant coach on Peter Laviolette’s staff at the 2006 Olympics. “It’s an unbelievable honor to represent your nation in the Olympics, it’s the honor of a lifetime quite honestly. And so I know I don’t feel differently than a lot of people that pull their nation’s sweaters over their heads.”

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