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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed left wing Dmitry Afanasenkov to his one-year, $738,045 qualifying offer today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.

Afanasenkov, 26, played in 68 games with the Lightning in 2005-06 and scored a career-high nine goals with six assists. He also added a power play goal. He played in five postseason games during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs and recorded one assist. The Arkhangelsk, Russia native has improved his goal total in each of the previous three seasons.

"This is an incredibly important year for Affy," Feaster said. "He needs to demonstrate that he has the ability to play consistently in a top-two line situation, play on the PP and be productive. With the departure of Fredrik Modin it is quite possible that Affy will be given an opportunity to show he can play and finish on the Richards-St. Louis line.

"However, in a salary cap world he is running out of time to demonstrate that he can produce and do it consistently. This is the third or fourth consecutive year in which Affy has signed and returned his QO. We would like to negotiate a longer term deal with him at some point, but he has to go out and prove it to us first. The time is now and we are hoping for a big year from him."

Afanasenkov, 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, has played in 153 career regular season games, all with the Lightning. He has scored six goals and recorded 33 points in four seasons with Tampa Bay. He has also appeared in 28 career playoff games, including winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, and has scored one goal while recording four points.

Afanasenkov had his breakout season in 2003-04 when he played in 71 games. In his first full season with Tampa Bay, he scored six goals and handed out 10 assists. Also that season, he appeared in his first World Championship with Russia and scored a goal while also dishing out an assist in two games.

Afanasenkov was selected by the Lightning in the third round, 72nd overall, at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
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