The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed center Nick Tarnasky and right wing Kyle Wanvig, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced. Tarnasky signed a three-year deal, while Wanvig signed a one-year, two-way contract.
Tarnasky, a 6-foot-2, 233-pound native of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, played his first full season with the Lightning in 2006-07. He appeared in 77 games and scored five goals (one game-winner) while recording nine points. He registered the first multi-point game of his career with a goal and an assist on March 10 at Calgary and scored on his first career shootout attempt to win the game March 1 at Washington. He made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals and played in six games.
Wanvig, acquired February 1 in a trade with Atlanta, appeared in four games with the Lightning last season. A 6-2, 210-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, Wanvig skated in 23 games with Springfield of the AHL after being acquired, recording 11 goals and seven assists. He started the season with Chicago of the AHL, tallying 10 goals and 21 points in 26 games.
“Nick Tarnasky has all the makings of a true dominant power forward in the NHL,” Feaster said. “He has size, strength, solid skating ability, willingness to commit himself to the defensive side of the game and an under-developed ability to finish that even he is just starting to harness and explore. We believe that as he continues to become more comfortable and confident in his role he will continue to be a solid checker as well as a consistent goal scorer who stands up for himself and his teammates. We are very pleased to have him under contract for the next three seasons and we look forward to bigger and better things from him beginning this season.
“Kyle Wanvig is a pure goal scorer, as he consistently has demonstrated at the AHL level and, as we believe, he has the ability to demonstrate at the NHL level,” Feaster continued. “It is difficult for a player to break in with our club when he hasn't had a training camp with us, and clearly that impacted Kyle following the trade last season. With the chance to get to know our organization and our system, as well as the opportunity to get himself in the best physical shape of his career this summer, we expect Kyle to come to camp looking to earn a spot on our roster.”
In two seasons with the Lightning Tarnasky has played in 89 career games. He played 12 games and recorded his first career point, an assist, in 2005-06. Before joining Tampa Bay he played 148 games with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. He scored 21 goals and had 40 points in his first two AHL seasons.
Tarnasky exploded offensively in 2003-04 while in his second season with Lethbridge of the WHL, setting career highs in goals, assists, and points. His 26 goals that season surpassed his previous best of nine and his 49 points passed his previous best of 29. Tarnasky led the Hurricanes in goals and was tied for the team in lead in points. Tarnasky played four seasons in the WHL, one and a half with Lethbridge, one with Vancouver, another with Prince Albert, and half a season with Kelowna. Tarnaksy was selected by the Lightning in the ninth round, 287th overall, at the 2003 Entry Draft.
Wanvig, 26, has played in 68 career NHL games with the Lightning and the Minnesota Wild, scoring five goals with nine assists, including one power-play goal. His best season came in 2005-06 when he appeared in 51 games with the Wild and scored four goals with 12 points. Entering the 2006-07 season he had played in 239 career AHL games and scored 57 goals with 113 points, all with the Houston Aeros. He also appeared in 37 playoff games with the Aeros and scored seven goals and recorded 15 points including four game-winning goals. He also played on Houston with Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist when the netminder was named Calder Cup MVP and won the AHL Championship.
Wanvig spent his junior career with Edmonton, Kootenay and Red Deer of the Western Hockey League, appearing in 266 games and scoring 107 goals while registering 205 points. He was also named the 2001 Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy recipient as the most valuable player of the Memorial Cup. He was selected by the Boston Bruins in the third round, 89th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and was re-drafted by Minnesota in the second round, 36th overall, at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.