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Jason Ward re-signs; Artyukhin rejects

Posted May 9, 2007 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated May 9, 2007 at 09:13 PM

When Jason Ward brought his aggressive forechecking style to Tampa Bay, his game seemed a perfect match for the Lightning’s up-tempo approach.

On Wednesday, both parties to a step to assure the pairing stayed together for at least two more years after Ward signed a two-year deal worth $1.35 million, a salary cap of $675,000. Ward was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“When we had our exit meetings Jason expressed that he was comfortable here and that this was a perfect fit for him, like he had found a home,’’ Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. “So [assistant general manager] Claude [Loiselle] started working with [Ward’s agent] Pat Morris right away and when you have to parties motivated to work together, things can happen fast.’’

Ward was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 27 in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in next month’s draft and scored four goals and eight points in 17 games with Tampa Bay, often playing more than 20 minutes a game playing on the second line.

While Ward has been known more as a third-line checker throughout his career – which also includes stops in Montreal and New York Rangers – he showed the ability to move up to a scoring line when called upon.

“We didn’t pull any punches with him when we spoke at the end of the season, we see Jason as a third-line player, but he is versatile enough that he can move up if need be,’’ Feaster said.

With Ward under contract, Tampa Bay has 10 players signed for next season. One player who likely won’t be joining the team is Evgeny Artyukhin, who turned down that team’s one-year, one-way deal for $475,000 and is believed to have signed a contract with a team in his native Russia. While Feaster didn’t say the door was closed on Artyukin, “we are not going to offer him another deal.’’

Reader Comments

Por (Mike Moulton) on May 10, 2007 (Suggest removal)

In the few games i got to see Jason Ward he really impressed me as a hard worker and forechecker.  I thinks it is great that he will be back.  I like Artyukin but I Nick Tarnasky went a long way to make me forget about him.

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Por (nick johnson) on May 10, 2007 (Suggest removal)

Why doesn’t feaster just give arty like 650,000. The fans like him and that is a lot less than what a free agent is going to cost.  Hopefully they get him back because he is a mkonster hitting people and he is really fast.
Any word on Holmqvist’s contract talks?

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Por (Jen Hooker) on May 10, 2007 (Suggest removal)

As far as I’m concerned, Artyukhin can rot in Russia. He scored an “amazing” 4 goals for the Lightning. WHO CARES!!! So what that he was a big guy. He doesn’t deserve more than what they offered. Everyone knows that it’s a mistake to reject an offer and play overseas. You never get a good deal when you come crawling back.

Good Riddance.

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Por (Katya Webb) on May 12, 2007 (Suggest removal)

I am sure it was not the money factor that kept Evgeny back in Russia….....

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Por (Tim Acosta) on May 13, 2007 (Suggest removal)

The Bolts don’t need any more third and fourth line players like Artyukhin. They shouldn’t waiste another penny on these over paid bench riders. The Bolts need to concentrate on aquiring potent scoring depth and good goal-tending.

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Por (Mike Burch) on May 13, 2007 (Suggest removal)

That’s good news that Ward will be back! It’s the one deal that JF made last year that I thought was a really good value.  I still think that we gave up too much (a 1st Rounder) for O’Brien, but there’s no denying his talent.

Too bad about Evgeny.  He would have been a nice addition to the 4th line.  He’s certainly not worth more than the 475K that Feaster offered though.  If that’s not good enough for him, then I guess we really should consider trading his rights.  Maybe Jay can swing a deal to move up from the 46th pick and still snag a decent player in this year’s draft.

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Por (Gary Meleski) on May 15, 2007 (Suggest removal)

Jason Ward is a hard working player. Thank goodness the Bolts’ got him signed. He always gave his best every game I watched.

“Art WHO kin” ?

Nuff said.

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Por (chris timm) on May 31, 2007 (Suggest removal)

If the great Jay Fester didnt spend so much on the greatness that is Marc Denis, they would have money to offer a young talent like Arty. And still have Freddie Modine, boy could we use him.  How quick we forget cheering Arty when he would staple the other team into the boards.  Every game more and more Arty jerseys would be in the crowd and now we want him to rot in Russia, hm.  It is a shame to lose a talent like that and end up bringing back someone like Eric Perrin and Norm Milley.  I will be looking for those Arty Jerseys at yard sales around town.

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