TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning had their only arbitration award of the off-season handed down earlier Monday when center Ryan Craig was awarded a one-year, $850,000 deal.
"We appreciate the fact that the Arbitrator weighed all the evidence presented and awarded what we believe is a very reasonable contract for this player,” Feaster said. “We had consistently discussed a negotiated arrangement with Ryan that always had us starting at the $750,000 mark and we believe the award in this case is consistent with our thinking. The good news is that Ryan will now be under contract for the 2007-08 season and the amount of the award will not force our hand in terms of having to move the player."
Craig, whose decision was handed down Monday afternoon, was seeking a one-year $1.2 million contract entering the hearing. The Lightning were asking the arbitrator to award Craig $650,000 for one year. The 25-year-old native of Abbotsford, British Columbia tied for the second most goals by a rookie in franchise history with 15 in 2005-06. He has played in 120 NHL games and recorded 29 goals, 55 points, 10 power-play goals and two game-winning goals. He has also skated in 11 playoff games during the previous two seasons.
The Lightning now have all their restricted free agents under contract for the 2007-08 season. Craig was the only Lightning player to file for arbitration this summer. The hearing took place in Toronto on Friday, August 3 and lasted for three-and-a-half hours.